Prince
Sign o' the Times


5.0
classic

Review

by GeorgeNelson USER (21 Reviews)
July 25th, 2013 | 7 replies


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist


He’s partying because what else can he do? Prince likes ***ing. Well, he doesn’t like it exactly but he talks about it *** loads, and even when he’s not talking about it I’m thinking about it because he’s the most reckless man, swapping between sexual bombardment and an enduring dissatisfaction as recklessly as I’ve ever known. He’s suffering from the dreadful awareness that he’s not a whole person. It is a beautiful album that changed my mind as concisely and brilliantly as we hope music can.

I hadn’t wanted to hear this because everyone said I should. But I’m a ***ing idiot. Beneath some Sly Stone smatterings and things ‘Sign o’ the Times’ is a brittle album, sweaty and panting for a bit, but a rigid, juddering affair for a whole lot more. It’s an exposé, a harrowing look at Prince’s struggle with sex, love, and everything else because of them. It’s like a frazzled out circuit. He’s anesthetized because so little can compare – “I think about IT baby all the time”, he sings between synth stabs that will kill you. The upbeat things don’t last, just the electro, as bare-boned as ever.

Everyone says it’s an ‘am I gay or am I not?’ thing. What a ***ing injustice. He’s too self-aware for that. This sexuality, this thing, isn’t Prince, it’s something Prince talks about. He knows where he is, he just doesn’t know why he’s there. He knows he’s so androgynous and knows that the enjoyable-cum-chilling slowjam ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’, taken from 1986’s ‘Camille Project’, is so worryingly life-filled and life-less. This is stuff ‘Parade’ didn’t touch. I’d never been into pop culture but ‘Sign o’ the Times’ changed my mind and what the *** makes a great album if not that? Pop music and pop culture, their impermanence and outright naughtiness, haven’t ever been married like this.

Maybe sex is always the motivation. Prince flaunts it rudely for one half of the album and sensitively for the other but while the feeling is base, the album is magnificent (It was planned to be a three-disc LP. That would’ve have been incredible. Or terrible.) Prince is gluttonous and he can’t even get that right. He’s in a crisis, trying to work out what’s so sedating about the romance and sexual drive he so deeply trusts. ***. It’s not a happy album, note the unspecified melancholia over ‘The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”, but it is delicate, as exact as it can be, and that’s how ‘Sign o’ the Times’ does what any great album must. It is feeling above understanding, absolutely there in Sign o’ the Times’ audacious guitar licks and flickering subtly in the fuzz during ‘Starfish and Coffee’, Prince is so overcome by emotions that I can’t and won’t stop investigating. As if I’ll work it all out.

‘Sign o’ the Times’ is a boogie into the abyss. ‘1999’ was his rock-God thing but he’s always been lost. Very nearly he was alone and wearing nothing but a slightly skewed party hat. Cultural and counter-cultural revolution was pretty much done by 1987 and with it that sense of tenacity. It came back, but for a while it was just Prince, possibly gay, either rockin’ or trembling, but always helpless.



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user ratings (212)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
themtunes97 (5)
Sign 'O The Times is an album that will completely leave you blown away, confused, then blown away a...

kygermo (5)
"Man, Im still finding songs on it" -Andre 3000...

Jake Cole (5)
Prince cemented his domination of the 80s by dropping the Revolution and writing the most inspired l...


Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
July 25th 2013


6581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yup, album is definitely one of his finest moments.

Review, not so good.

BallsToTheWall
July 25th 2013


44805 Comments


Great album.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

GeorgeNelson
July 26th 2013


45 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dr. Gonzo - OK, what's wrong with the review?

BallsToTheWall - Yeah, it's incredible. What did you think of the review?

DrGonzo1937
July 27th 2013


6581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

More talk about his sexuality, amoung other things, than the actual album. Plus there is a lot of unnecessary *** (I can only assume it's swearing).

GeorgeNelson
July 27th 2013


45 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Safe assumption! Don't you think the 'actual album' is inseparable from sexuality?

DrGonzo1937
July 27th 2013


6581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, but if I read a review I like to hear more about the tracks. Just my opinion though. haha

GeorgeNelson
July 27th 2013


45 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah fair enough but obviously I spent a load of time on this so wanted to investigate it!



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