|The Truth is the 21st full-length studio album by Prince, the fifth to be credited to . It was the first to be labeled an 'acoustic' album. The album was only originally available for purchase in CD format with the album Crystal Ball, and so was shipped to customers who had pre-ordered Crystal Ball in January 1998 (14 months after the release of his previous album, Emancipation), with a retail release (again as part of the Crystal Ball package) following the next month.
Sessions and compiling
The album was recorded during a set of sessions, the first of which took place on 1 December 1996 at Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN, USA, when he recorded The Truth and Don’t Play Me back to back. Comeback was the third song recorded also in December 1996, with the rest following throughout the winter.The album was originally planned for release by EMI Records in 1997, following the release of Emancipation, but the release was canceled with the record label’s demise.
In May 1997, Love4oneanother.com announced that the album would receive an independent limited edition cassette release, but this release was canceled also. Following its release as part of the Crystal Ball package, Love4oneanother.com announced in 1998 that The Truth would be re-released as a widespread retail release in 2000. Steve Parke was quoted remembering to have been working on the artwork for this seperate release but it was canceled for unknown reasons.
Although the album is billed as "acoustic", the album contains several electronic instruments, samples, distortions and sound effects. It does largely focus on an acoustic sound, however.
The album produced one limited-release single, The Truth, which preceded the album by almost a full year. did not tour to support the album.
As part of the Crystal Ball package, the album reached number 62 on The Billboard 200, and number 59 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums Chart. The album was not sold separately at that time, however, so could not chart separately.
On 12 June 2021, The Prince Estate re-released the album as an LP (separately and not as part of a set) with Sony’s Legacy Recordings for the Record Store Day. The re-issue reached number 1 on the US Billboard Vinyl Albums chart. On 9 June 2023, the album was re-released by The Prince Estate with Sony’s Legacy Recordings and available for all retailers with no limitation in time.