SOTBMusic: Prince's Sign 'O' The Times

Today is the 30th anniversary of one of Prince's most-iconic albums.

Now, I'm not going to get up here and make a big hullabaloo about the CD. I mean, you all know that I'm going to say that it holds up and is still a classic, fuck your feelings, and so on. It's a great album that, while it isn't my favorite Prince album, still features the legend doing legendary things. Therefore, in lieu of that, I want to focus on a few (read: three) songs from the album and what they mean to me. Be warned, however, that I'm going to focus on one more than the others.

First up is the final song on the project, "Adore." 

I first heard this track before I knew what love was, at least the love Prince was singing about in the song. I was young and crushing on a young woman named Savannah Wood. I'm pretty sure I wrote about her when I was doing the SOTBRejected series, in some way. So, here I am, in middle school with True, vibing to Prince singing about adoring a woman while I'm crushing on some kid. We were all kids. None of us knew what love was, really. But, the song and its message stuck with me. I wanted to be in love with someone to the point that I'd adore them until the end of time and really understand what they mean/meant to me.

The next time "Adore" played a major role in my life was in 2011. I was in the middle of losing my sanity and succumbing to the darker sides of bipolar disorder while, once again, crushing on some young woman. Difference was, this time, I was in a relationship with my kids' mother and pretty much emotionally cheating. 

True, once again, pops up and asks me to do a flip of the song for a project he was working on. That project, Soul Revival, was the start of a great artistic working relationship--and revived friendship--with True. So, I'm in the middle of losing my mind and the opening of "Adore" hits. Instantly, I'm taken to a place where I can vent my anguish over the love I was losing and the love I still wanted and sought from others. While the song never saw the light of day the way that other True and Speed collaborations did, it was still a cool moment to dissect Prince's classic track.

Next up, let's talk "Housequake" a bit. 

I'm always in love with this song. Why? Well, while there's not a deep history with it like "Adore," it's just full of greatness. It took that James Brown and Parliament vibe and revamped it for the late-80s. It's a shining example of Prince pulling from different subgenres and creating something that's all his own. It feels like fun and exudes that same energy. It's more of a sign of the times, musically, than the title song.

Speaking of which, let's talk "Sign."

It's a defiant song. It's in your face about the foolishness the late-80s brought to us. Its message is still relevant today. What else do you really want me to say? The production is top-notch and urgent. Prince is Prince is Prince is Prince. And it's like "America" from Around the World in a Day turned up to 11 and left out for the world to see. It's a paramount song for understanding what it was to be Prince. He's tormented by the anguish of his people, and he knows he's got to do something about it or else we're all screwed.

All in all, the project is, as said before, classic. Go stop reading my thoughts and bask in its excellence. Now!

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