Sign ‘O’ the Times — Prince — W.A.C.#3

prince-sign-of-the-times-compressed

Sign ‘O’ The Times

My thoughts

With Prince it’s a bit of a choice as to what his Magnum Opus is… Most would fall on the side of the side of Purple Rain and that’s fair. Still Sign ‘O’ The Times can be regarded as his “Cornetto Opus” – still a work of genius. (I’m here every week folks!)

The album opens with the iconic titular track with its simple repeating bass line and percussive line, its a special simple piece with the signature vocals from the man himself. It’s just about the seizing the moment as the world is going on around us; it’s a great track.

The album is loaded with that sort of Prince style funk, listen to Housequake, he has a really distinctive voice, the “Prince style” is identifiable and that backing, honestly that is core level funk style, the syncopated rhythms and basses – this is where it all comes from!

A lesser known gem is Starfish and Coffee, which has such a lovely simple piano backing with Prince’s vocals layered in with a rich backing, a solid track you should lend your ear to.

Alright let’s chat U Got The Look. It’s a really well known track and probably the biggest from this album; it’s that recognisable guitar in the background and Prince’s amazing vocals. I absolutely love this track, especially at that 2 minute mark, the track sounds like it’s half dissolving and you get:

Well here we are, ladies and gentlemen
The dream we all dream of
Boy versus girl in the world series of love
Slammin’

Ah it’s great..

If I Was Your Girlfriend is really intriguing, groovy backing, it’s the premise of talking to an ex, saying that they could just be friends like two platonic friends of the same sex, but my god is it pushing the boundaries of creepy, on purpose. It’s a sinister tale of obsession or manipulation complete with a subtle “climax”… Am I entertained by that track, or do I feel dirty?

The album closes on Adore, a nice finale, vocals range all the way to Prince’s distinctive falsetto; for a lot of artists, this range becomes quite generic but not so here, it is still identifiable and strong. The finale is well chosen with a bit of everything all mixed in, and Adore just represents a really great end to a great album.

Prince is an all round talented writer  and performer. Like Stevie, you really hit the point where you have to say he is objectively good. He also throws himself completely into the performance and it is so so noticeable. The man embodies funk styled popular music and his work and style will continue to be a point of reference for years, if not forever.

Is this album for you?

It’s a really great album so unless your tastes lie in a specific genre, this is an album that I really have to recommend just putting on and listening to. It’s great for background music and just such a work of genius. Just listen! It’s so worth it.

Scores

  • Writing: 9.5/10
  • Performance: 10/10
  • Style: 9/10
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