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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Album That Confirmed A Genius As A Legend
As 1987 approached, Prince, the singer/songwriter/producer/musician who had hit the big-time with 'Purple Rain' in 1984, was entering a period of unrivalled creativity in the history of music. After disbanding his band The Revolution, he recorded an entire triple album entitled 'Crystal Ball', among other projects, but his record company refused to release it.
So...
Published on 1 Feb. 2000

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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Massively overrated!
I have always been a fan of Prince but had yet to catch up with this album. I decided to take the plunge and boy was it a disappointment - this album is massively overrated! It's not that it's a bad album, it's just that it's no better than any of his others - in fact I definitely prefer most of his other albums to this.

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Published on 4 April 2009 by Kamakiriad


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Album That Confirmed A Genius As A Legend, 1 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
As 1987 approached, Prince, the singer/songwriter/producer/musician who had hit the big-time with 'Purple Rain' in 1984, was entering a period of unrivalled creativity in the history of music. After disbanding his band The Revolution, he recorded an entire triple album entitled 'Crystal Ball', among other projects, but his record company refused to release it.
So he went back into the studio and recorded this, including the title-track which was written and recorded in one day. As a double-album, it may not have met with the commercial success of some of his previous or subsequent albums, but it received the sort of critical praise that is reserved for only the truly great pieces of modern musical work.
He leaps from genre to genre with ease, from the prototype rap of 'Housequake' to the classic ballad 'Slow Love' and the sumptuous, gender-bending 'If I Was You Girlfriend' or the classic rock of 'The Cross' - whatever you want, it's here.
Some of the music may sound a tad dated, but the quality shines through from beginning to end. If you were looking for proof of this man's musical genius, look no further - if God made music, this is what he would make.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still brilliant even now, 31 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
Sign O The Times is undoubtedly Prince's finest ever work. Even now 20 years on it still sounds fresh. This is one of those rare albums that I never got bored of. Tracks like I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man, The Cross, It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night, Forever In My Life etc just haven't dated. The DVD of the concert tour is also worth checking out.
If you are a casual Prince fan or found some of his stuff to be a turn off then this would be a great starting point. The material is much more mature than so many of his other albums. Much of his other work contains a lot of sexual innuendo and over the top unsubtle sexual references. The stuff on Sign O The Times is more political and when he does delve into the sexual side of things it's done on a far more subtle and less "in your face" way. In 1991 Prince tried to recreate Sign O the Times with the album Diamonds and Pearls, and although it's a valiant effort it doesn't touch the brilliance of this 1987 work.
Prince has never been better than he was in '87 and it's our good fortune that he squeezed so many tracks on to this one double album. Rightly regarded as one of THE great albums of all time.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sign O The Times, 13 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
Sign O' The Times is often praised for being Prince's most eclectic album but this is not strictly the case. In fact, if there is one consistent trait in Prince's work it is his eclecticism. What makes Sign O' The Times so great is that unlike much of his output, there is some genuine emotional expression on some of the tracks. Unlike most other song writers, Prince rarely gives anything away or allows himself to appear truly vulnerable. As a result,despite some outstanding musicianship and truly inventive composing, much of his back catalog fails to resonate on a deeper level. Sign O' The Times actually finds Prince writing about his relationships and his own place in the world and is truly richer for it.
When writing songs for this album, Prince was going through both good and bad times with Susannah Melvoin, a woman with whom he appeared to be truly in love. This relationship directly influenced two of the album's strongest, songs; "Forever In My Life" and "If I was Your Girlfriend." "Forever In My Life" finds Prince coming to terms with the idea of settling down and sharing his life with Susannah. "If I was Your Girlfriend" finds Prince admitting to feeling jealous of the close relationship Susannah shared with her sister. Lyrically "Girlfriend" is probably Prince's crowning acheivement.
The title track is a wonderfully simple and understated funk/rock number in which Prince addresses topical issues such as drugs, AIDS and the "Star Wars" program. In "The Cross" he continues to reflect upon the state of the world and shares his beleif that there is light at the end of the tunnel if one can "bear the cross." Other highlights include the dancefloor classic, "Housequake," the bluesy "Strange Relationship" and the poptastic "I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man" - which features one of the man's most outstanding guitar solo's.
It has been said many times that Sign O' The Times would have made a fantastic single album but those that take the time to truly listen will discover a truly fantastic double album. Every track has a unique charm and even the less obvious ones are growers. To take anything away would be a mistake and by today's standards it's really not that long an album (16 tracks in all). My advice is ignore the naysayers, forget the quantity and enjoy the depth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the spirit of Prince perfectly, 1 May 2009
This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
Seminal album from the Minneapolis maestro; the title track's sparse funk and the plaintive soul of 'If I was your girlfriend' form a counterpoint to the more raucous 'U Got the Look' and 'Starfish and Coffee'. This CD sees Prince at the height of his powers and apart from the spirited 'Lovesexy' he would never produce something so consistently different and consistently impressive again. If you only own one Prince/Symbol/Artist Formerly Known as album, make it this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic but don't download from Amazon Store!, 14 July 2010
By 
Banjo "Banjo" (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
Well there's not a lot to be said about this albm that hasn't been said already. Well apart from don't download it from the Amazon Store as they've swapped the album version of I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man for the edited shorter single version! They seem to do this a lot as they've done the same with Purple Rain! Better off buying from one of the sellers or the iTunes store!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic album filled mostly with wonder, 17 April 2015
By 
M. O. HAYNES "couch magpie" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
Sign o’ the Times is a great double dollop of funkiness which kind of peters out by ‘side 4’ but has some awesome tracks prior to the tail off. The title track is one of the best songs ever, by anyone, full stop. Taking the electronic beats to the extreme with a great bass line it counterpoints Prince’s smooth naturalistic vocals. “Play in the Sunshine” provides a bit of fun along with the enormously funky “Housequake” and the kooky “The Balled of Dorothy Parker”. Prince is a great storyteller.

“It” has Prince returning to one of his favourite subjects. “Starfish and Coffee” seems to go with the Dorothy Parker tune and then we’re back to sex again with “Slow Love”. “Hot Thing” is from the same brain space as “Housequake” and keeps the album bouncing from one eclectic vibe to another. “Forever in My Life” for me is the weakest track on the first disc, but it’s short and sweet and does have a good percussion loop.

The second disc starts off very promisingly with the Sheena Easton duet “U Got The Look” and features one of my favourite lyrics – ‘did I say an hour? My face is red, I stand corrected…’ The attitude oozes from both performances and while it’s one of the more accessible of Prince’s tunes it demonstrates his ability to pen a catchy song and pull in choice talent when required.

“If I Was Your Girlfriend” is my favourite track on the second disc if not the whole album. The singing is geeky and soulful, the sentiment is weird and romantic, the music atmospheric and lamenting. Okay, it descends into a Prince ‘perv out’ by the end of the track, but hey no-one’s perfect and it kind of completes this strange track.

The very jolly “Strange Relationship” kind of sums up the kind of co-dependant situations we can sometimes fall into with members of the opposite sex and along with the overly long and ‘Purple-Rainy’ story-song “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man” kind of marks the end of my listening interest in this album. I really don’t rate the last three tracks which feel like they've been tagged on to fill up the second disc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wildly inconsistent, so classic Prince, 24 Feb. 2009
By 
Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
"Classic" is the word most often used to describe this album. Granted, it is one of the five Prince albums you really should own or at least hear, but it is also a massively inconsistent collection of songs.

The album starts phenomenally well, with "Sign O The Times", then the adrenaline rush of the unfairly ignored and maligned "Play In The Sunshine" - listen to this track and remind yourself that every instrument on the track is played by Prince, built layer upon layer in the studio, and you'll understand his genius. The album then takes a funky turn with "Housequake", a fairly anaemic track on record but electrifying when performed live.

The album enters experimental territory for the first time over the next few tracks. "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker" is a glorified demo, a drum beat and an electric piano acting as the background to Prince's simple vocal. It's a hugely effective track. "It" is a cold, stark anthem recorded very late for the album, a sparse programmed drum beat overlain with Prince's screamed verses and multi-tracked choruses with squealing guitars towards the end. This is followed by "Starfish and Coffee", another demo, and one of the most enjoyable on the record, a song you could almost imagine children singing along with.

For me, the album then weakens for a while. "Slow Love" is a bland seduction ballad, followed by "Hot Thing", which is funky but filler. Finally, "Forever In My Life" is a pretty bland acoustic number.

The second half, thankfully, is back to the standard of the first. "U Got The Look", "If I Was Your Girlfriend", "Strange Relationship" and "I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man" are all superb. After this, "The Cross" is a fairly weak song on album but excellent played live, and "It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night" is a frankly dull farewell to his former band, The Revolution. Last, and in my opinion least, "Adore" is a tedious seduction ballad once again.

A double album where the good songs outweigh the bad, and where they are of such high quality that they still make this a five-star purchase. If only it would be released in a remastered form.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ever Double Album of All time. Vintage Classic!, 26 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
Where to start and to sound realistic? This project was the pinnacle of PRINCE's creative period. Out of 16 songs there is only one which I would exclude ( The Cross ), the rest is just pure magic. His undoubted talent and range of all different musical styles is here evident more than ever before and sadly after. Outstanding tracks in no particular order; Sign O the times, Adore, ICNTTPOYM, HouseQuake, If I was your Girlfriend. After the Parade era - Prince dismantled his band The Revolution and gone solo into Paisley Park and created this epic-monster. For all the hardcore Purple fans THIS is THE album that quickly became THE favourite. In the 80' there is nothing as good as this, simply this is a masterpiece. And if you ever apart from Best off's and obvious Purple Rain are thinking buying another Prince album THIS IS THE ONE. Like Jerry ( Mel Gibson ) from Cospiracy Theory movie, was buying all the available 2nd hand copies of "The Catcher in the Rye" I am still buying and than giving away to all my friends cheap 2nd hand copies of this album. At one one moment I had 24 copies of it! That's how good it is! Check out the Live concert movie too, which is a powerful visual-musical experience. If my house is on fire and I have to save and take ONE album from the entire collection THIS is the one! Best-ever Double Album of All time. Period. Andreja.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Wouldn't Change A Thing, 19 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
If I could only have one album for the rest of my life it would be Sign O The Times.

When i first bought and listened to this album in 1987 I wasn't sure, but with every listen I loved it more. I think it's perfect with great pop songs mixed with more experimental and very personal tracks.
The title track plus If I was Your Girfriend are in my opinion his two greatest songs. It might take repeated listening but this has more depth than anything else he has released.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BELIEVE THE HYPE!, 31 July 2007
This review is from: Sign 'o' The Times (Audio CD)
OK, first some background: I first got into pop (in the sense of "popular") music back in 1985 and was turned onto Prince with Raspberry Beret which was in the charts back then.

But my full initiation into the glory that is (was?) Prince came when I got Sign "O" The Times out on loan from Woking library just after it came out back in '87 because I was curious (back then Prince was really exciting and mysterious - a true enigma!)...

Anyways, Sign "O" The Times was the first Prince album I heard and I have to say that back then my mind was totally blown by the sheer eclecticness, the sheer quirkiness, weirdness and general unconventional "otherness" (in a good way) of many of the tracks, the range of emotions covered and the genius (there is no other word!) originality of it all.

And the best thing is that even twenty years later when I dig out Sign "O" The Times, my mind is still blown!

The highlights are too numerous to mention (although "If Eye Was Ur Girlfriend" would be in my all-time top 5 tracks and sends a shiver every time!)...suffice to say that all 17 tracks are jewels (though some such as "It" and "Forever In My Life" will take time to grow on you but they will, believe me!) and if you are reading this review at all meaning that you are curious like I was back in the day, you should hesitate no more and purchase this genius work with 100% confidence and enjoy!

PS. And whilst you're about it, make sure you pick up Lovesexy, Parade: Original Soundtrack - Under the Cherry Moon, Around the World in a Day and Purple Rain because each of these albums showcase very different sides of Prince at his absolute peak and ALL of these albums are "must haves"! In fact it is hard to pick a favourite out of the lot of 'em but I have to say that Sign "O" The Times has to be Prince's crowning artistic achievement and is a genuine high-water mark in popular music!
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