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19 of 21 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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Initial post: 5 Apr 2011 19:41:58 BDT
Fabulous album Martin, reminds me of living in Hong Kong as I was there when it came out. Awesome guitar player - strange character ! Saw him live at Main Road, Manchester.
Cheers, Patrick
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