Sign 'O' the Times

Sign 'O' the Times

by PrincePrince


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Fearless, eclectic, and defiantly messy, Prince's Sign 'O' the Times falls into the tradition of tremendous, chaotic double albums like The Beatles, Exile on Main St., and London Calling -- albums that are fantastic because of their overreach, their great sprawl. Prince shows nearly all of his cards here, from bare-bones electro-funk and smooth soul to pseudo-psychedelic pop and crunching hard rock, touching on gospel, blues, and folk along the way. This was the first album Prince recorded without the Revolution since 1982's 1999 (the band does appear on the in-concert rave-up, "It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night"), and he sounds liberated, diving into territory merely suggested on Around the World in a Day and Parade. While the music overflows with generous spirit, these are among the most cryptic, insular songs he's ever written. Many songs are left over from the aborted triple album Crystal Ball and the abandoned Camille project, a Prince alter ego personified by scarily sped-up tapes on "If I Was Your Girlfriend," the most disarming and bleak psycho-sexual song Prince ever wrote, as well as the equally chilling "Strange Relationship." These fraying relationships echo in the social chaos Prince writes about throughout the album. Apocalyptic imagery of drugs, bombs, empty sex, abandoned babies and mothers, and AIDS pop up again and again, yet he balances the despair with hope, whether it's God, love, or just having a good time. In its own roundabout way, Sign 'O' the Times is the sound of the late '80s -- it's the sound of the good times collapsing and how all that doubt and fear can be ignored if you just dance those problems away.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/1990
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
UPC: 0075992557726
catalogNumber: 25577
Rank: 9226


Disc 1

  1. Sign 'O' the Times
  2. Play in the Sunshine
  3. Housequake
  4. Ballad of Dorothy Parker
  5. It
  6. Starfish and Coffee
  7. Slow Love
  8. Hot Thing
  9. Forever in My Life

Disc 2

  1. U Got the Look
  2. If I Was Your Girlfriend
  3. Strange Relationship
  4. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man
  5. The Cross
  6. It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night
  7. Adore

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Prince   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Drums,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Multi Instruments
Sheena Easton   Vocals,Background Vocals
Susanna Hoffs   Background Vocals
Eric Leeds   Saxophone
Atlanta Bliss   Trumpet
Jerome Benton   Background Vocals
Lisa Coleman   Flute,Sitar,Background Vocals
Sheila E.   Percussion,Drums
Wendy Melvoin   Guitar,Background Vocals
Mico Weaver   Guitar
Susannah   Background Vocals
Gilbert D.   Voices
Todd H.   Voices
Brad M.   Voices
Gregg Brooks   Background Vocals
Camille   Vocals
Mike S   Voices
Jill Jones   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Penguin   Contributor
Prince   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer
Eric Leeds   Composer
Matt Fink   Composer
Clare Fischer   String Arrangements
Susannah Melvoin   Composer
Susan Rogers   Engineer
Carol Davis   Composer
Coke Johnson   Engineer
Mike Scheidt   Contributor
Laura LiPuma   Art Direction
Prince & the Revolution   Contributor

Customer Reviews

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Sign 'O' the Times 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
HCaulfield11 More than 1 year ago
If quality were based on popularity, then "Purple Rain" would be Prince's best work. Admittedly, his 1984 record catapulted him into the realm of stardom that he deserved, something that pprevious brilliance on "Dirty Mind", "Controversy", and even "1999" could not seem to accomplish.

However, Prince's 1987 opus "Sign 'O' The Times" stands as the pinnacle of his entire career, now in it's 31st year, and counting.

The title track revisits a world-conscious Prince, introduced in songs like "America" (1985) and "Ronnie, Talk to Russia" (1981). However, where those songs characterized an angry, almost punk Prince, the song "Sign O The Times" casts His Royal Badness in more human, vulnerable light, almost obscured by the driving funk. Listen to the admission of fear, of confusion, of worry, of exhaustion when he admits his cousin is "doing horse".

The duration of the record is impossibly ecclectic. Dance-funk, almost hip-hop on the hilarious and hot "Housequake", the trippy, sexy "Ballad of Dorothy Parker" are a couple of high points on the first disc, but the real gem is "Starfish and Coffee". Under 3 minutes, but completely unforgettable, it's still a fan favorite at live shows, and proof that even Prince, in all of his silent, weirdo genius, can write a simple song about a cool little girl he used to know.

"Sign O The Times" is also the record on which we are introduced to one of his many alter-egos, Camille. She takes the reins on brilliant tracks like "If I Was Your Girlfriend" (which walks the line between loving and stalking) and the Sheena Easton duet "U Got the Look".

Ok, as a huge fan of Prince, I find this album to be flawless. Every one of the 16 tracks is brilliantly done. However, from the most loyal of fans to the most casual of listeners, no one can deny the power of "Adore". The final track of the album, "Adore" is, without too much exaggeration, one of the most beautiful love-making ballads ever. Not just by Prince, but EVER. It moves fast enough to be interesting, but slow enough to be sexy, and Prince sings as beautifully as he ever has, in his other worldly falsetto.

If you love Prince, you have "Sign O The Times". If you're just getting into him, get into this first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you don't already know, Sign O' the Times is the one Prince album that you should have if you were stranded on a desert island. This is Prince at his best, performing most of the tracks by himself and showcasing his superior talents as a musician/songwriter at every level. From the soul-stirring gospel of "The Cross" to the definitive love song "Adore," this album hits on all cylinders and provides tunes to set the mood for almost any occasion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must have for anyone interested in Prince's work. It would be safe to say that every generation has the double-album opus from The Beatles to The Clash and this is definitely in that category. In fact, I think it's the last double-album to capture the feel of what it's like to listen to a double-album. Sprawling, psychedelic, funky and experimental, it captures every essence that Prince has ever manifested through his illustrious if not notoriously wierd career. This album is sexual, spiritual, androgynous, political and sometimes just downright strange.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My all-time Favorite Prince album. Slow Love, The Ballad of Dorothy Parker?? Great stuff. If I Was Your Girlfriend is the best song on the album, the work of a genius. And Adore... my favorite Prince song ever. Definitly a must-have CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is another of his early grand hits, IT, SLOW LOVE, r the sexual jams. Adore is was and always will b proposal music, this is where Maxwell got some of his vibe from!! ' is 2 weak 2 define, just what u mean 2 me...' that alone is enuf 2 win a lady's heart!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago