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Sign O' the Times

by Prince

Released March 30, 1987 via Paisley Park Records / Warner Bros. Records

Reviewed March 24, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (50%), I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (50%), Sign O’ the Times (44%)

Sign O’ the Times is Prince’s magnum opus, encompassing everything that made him such an important figure for music. It is a kaleidoscopic array lyrically, instrumentally, and performance-wise, with everything from funk and soul to pop and rock making an appearance. Every detail is meticulously crafted and precisely adorned from the purple one, and it’s very evident with how fresh Sign O’ the Times still sounds to this day. – Jared (10/10)

After the cultural behemoth that was Purple Rain, Prince and The Revolution immediately began working on something similarly ambitious, underscoring more personal projects like Around the World in a Day and Parade. Conceptual triple LPs and the like were ultimately whittled down, The Revolution departed, and yet Sign o’ the Times remains an epic journey navigating pastures of fine, sensual soul, funky pop rock and contemporary R&B. It continues many of the hallmarks of Prince’s legacy, interacting with androgyny & the music video medium, while teetering between experimentation and convention with wonky saxophones, pitch-shifting vocals, state-of-the-art synthesizers, and buttery guitars. There’s a great emotive range, from the explicit sass of ‘It’ to the lax ‘Starfish & Coffee’. This and its general timbral range affords Sign’s overall length, which isn’t as unorthodox thirty-five years later. Thankfully, the music itself is still rich with dense grooves and passionate performances. Save the overly-horny ethos of some moments (I’m looking at you, ‘Hot Thing’), Sign o’ the Times has refused to age poorly, which is just one example of Prince’s complex, historic, purple reign over pop music. – Cam (9.5/10)

Ben (Synth): 10/10 | Jared: 10/10 | Cam: 9.5/10 | DeVán: 9.5/10 | Pax: 9.5/10

Alan: 9.2/10 | Daniel: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8.5/10 | Hadley: 7.5/10


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