50 great things about Prince's 'Sign O' The Times'

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Well, if Tusk can have such a thread, then I can't see why this masterpiece shouldn't.

1. The beginning of the album - drum machine, then *snare* "AW YEAH!"

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:50 (two years ago) Permalink

2. The backwards snare in 'Starfish and Coffee', which pans from speaker to speaker.

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:51 (two years ago) Permalink

3. The Joni Mitchell namecheck in "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker"

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:54 (two years ago) Permalink

4. what silence looks like

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:58 (two years ago) Permalink

5. the synth cluster in "it"

HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 20:59 (two years ago) Permalink

6. how "i could never take the place of your man" feels like the shortest 6 minutes and 30 seconds in recorded history

HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:00 (two years ago) Permalink

6. Lisa plays the Fairlight sitar

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:01 (two years ago) Permalink

okay fine 7.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:01 (two years ago) Permalink

8. The out of sync backing vocal on "Forever in my Life"

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:02 (two years ago) Permalink

9. "DRUMMER, DRUMMER! DO YOUR THING!"

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:03 (two years ago) Permalink

10. The little "brrrrrimg" before the telephone rings in "Dorothy Parker"

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:04 (two years ago) Permalink

*brrrrrring

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:05 (two years ago) Permalink

11. The vocal harmonies at the end of 'The Cross'

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:05 (two years ago) Permalink

11. The abrupt modulation on "next time I'll do it soooonnneeeerrrr" on "Dorothy Parker"

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:05 (two years ago) Permalink

13. the alarm clock at the beginning of "Starfish and Coffee"

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:06 (two years ago) Permalink

*12

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:06 (two years ago) Permalink

14. "BULLSHIT...I MEAN REALLY!"

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:06 (two years ago) Permalink

15. "pleeeeaaahehehease!"

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:09 (two years ago) Permalink

16. The synth toms in the instrumental break on 'It'

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:11 (two years ago) Permalink

17. thrilling solo during break in "play in the sunshine"

veronica moser, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:12 (two years ago) Permalink

17. Prince's self-harmonies on "Strange Relationship"

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:12 (two years ago) Permalink

19. "Yeah, let me get a fruit cocktail, I ain't 2 hungry"

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:18 (two years ago) Permalink

20. those two huge snare hits at 2:00 in "the cross"

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:23 (two years ago) Permalink

21. "crucial!"

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:24 (two years ago) Permalink

22. "if it's a boy"

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:25 (two years ago) Permalink

23. "When you smiiile, when you smiiile, when you SMIIILE... how your smile's... how your smile's for me"

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:31 (two years ago) Permalink

24. "what's this strange relationship-ship-ship-ship"

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:35 (two years ago) Permalink

25. "Let's get outta here" "Yeah"

piscesx, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:39 (two years ago) Permalink

25. "Silly, no?"

piscesx, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:39 (two years ago) Permalink

oops 26.

27. blast of wedding march organ at start of IIWYG

piscesx, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:40 (two years ago) Permalink

28. The way the acoustic guitar comes in for the last few seconds of 'Forever In My Life', which up to that point is so spare arrangement-wise that you really notice it when it happens.

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:41 (two years ago) Permalink

29. The sound of the electric guitar in "The Cross," which Eric Weisbard once wrote rocks like '80s Lou Reed.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:42 (two years ago) Permalink

30. "Til a gorilla falls off the wall"

piscesx, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:43 (two years ago) Permalink

31. the very idea that you can take a bath with someone else, so long as you leave your pants on, when you're kinda going with someone.

piscesx, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:44 (two years ago) Permalink

32. The spooky detuned DX synths in "If I Was Ur Girlfriend"

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:46 (two years ago) Permalink

33. "Would U let me wash UR hair? Could I make U breakfast sometime? Well, then could we just hang out, I mean, could we GO 2 A MOVIE and CRRYYYHYHYHY 2gether?"

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:50 (two years ago) Permalink

34. The way the bass plays off the lead hook of 'I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man', during the "BABY, DON'T WAAAASTE YOUR TIME" part.

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 21:59 (two years ago) Permalink

35. "Did I say an hour? My face is red. I stand corrected."

woof, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:00 (two years ago) Permalink

36. Sheena Easton being quite good.

piscesx, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:05 (two years ago) Permalink

37. "GROOVE! UH!"

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:08 (two years ago) Permalink

38. Prince playing out his James Brown fantasies on 'It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night'

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:12 (two years ago) Permalink

39. "...well, maybe not the ride"

Master of Treacle, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:13 (two years ago) Permalink

38. Acoustic guitar sting during the fade of Forever in My Life

MatthewK, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:16 (two years ago) Permalink

40. Prince's cousin developing a smack habit mere months after smoking weed for the first time. Well, that escalated quickly!

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:22 (two years ago) Permalink

lol

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:23 (two years ago) Permalink

41. Prince watching the news and reading papers.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:26 (two years ago) Permalink

31 wins this walking away

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:30 (two years ago) Permalink

42. "ONE TWO ONE WOOO!" at the very end of I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:32 (two years ago) Permalink

43. GREEN EGGS AND HAM!

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:33 (two years ago) Permalink

44. The piercing shrieks in 'Hot Thing', which make Prince sound like he's auditioning to be the lead vocalist for a grindcore band.

But... could you imagine a formation in your lemonade? Ho! (Turrican), Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:42 (two years ago) Permalink

76. "Reefer." So quaint.

― dinner boat, Friday, May 20, 2016 10:33 AM (3 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

even more so, who calls it "horse"??

flappy bird, Monday, 23 May 2016 05:13 (two years ago) Permalink

I thought horse is a fairly common slang word for heroin, or at least it was back when Prince wrote the tune?

Tuomas, Monday, 23 May 2016 07:07 (two years ago) Permalink

Both jazz terms, yeah?

Mark G, Monday, 23 May 2016 07:22 (two years ago) Permalink

When I think of the magic of this record it makes me sadder than all others, that this guy is not with us any more.

MatthewK, Monday, 23 May 2016 08:45 (two years ago) Permalink

My guitar teacher thought it would be interesting to help me figure out the chords to "Dorothy Parker," and yeah, it was! We realized one reason Prince played everything himself is that it would take a lot less time to do that than to explain to someone else how to contribute to a totally out there sui generis song like that one. In fact, there are a couple of tracks on "Sign" that similarly transcend genre in really fascinating and less than obvious ways.

Also, I decided the opening drum sequence of the title track makes a really cool ringtone.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 23 May 2016 12:54 (two years ago) Permalink

Which tracks are you thinking of?

vmajestic, Monday, 23 May 2016 14:10 (two years ago) Permalink

Well, Dorothy Parker, for one. It's funky, and jazzy, and just - weird. The bridge-thing where he quotes Joni Mitchell, wtf is that? Or Forever In My Life, what is that? Strange Relationship, that's another one that's funky but not really funk. It's like looser influences like jazz or folk have altered more immutable forms, like funk or dance pop or whatever. I mean, Play In the Sunshine is essentially ... rockabilly? Something like that. But then it's got that crazy fusion-y coda.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 23 May 2016 14:15 (two years ago) Permalink

forever in my life is quite gospelly in its arrangement i think.

StillAdvance, Monday, 23 May 2016 14:18 (two years ago) Permalink

the melody i mean.

StillAdvance, Monday, 23 May 2016 14:19 (two years ago) Permalink

xps what are the chords to Dorothy Parker?

Pentenema Karten, Monday, 23 May 2016 14:51 (two years ago) Permalink

And does it feature the famous Prince "sus 2" chord?

The Wally Funk Bible (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 23 May 2016 14:58 (two years ago) Permalink

Dorothy Parker doesn't have that sus2 chord. That's the weird chord in the third line of the chorus in "Sometimes it Snows in April." It does have plenty of weird quirks and changes.

The main progression in TBDP is a descending progression from Am7 (iv) to Em7(i), making every stop in the descending bassline before a quick trip to the V to build tension before the final line (before "Dorothy was fast," etc). Looks like this:

Am7
Dorothy was a waitress
Ab(flat 5)
On the promenade
Em7/G in bass F#m7
She worked the night shift
Fmaj7 B
Dishwater blonde, tall and fine
Em
She got a lot of tips

The bridge, as it were, changes from E minor to G. The second bridge modulates from A minor to A major on the "should have done it sooooneeeer" part. The ballad of dorothy parker line looks something like this:

A Bm Am Bm B+
This is the ballad of Dorothy Parker

Then it goes back to the main progression. This tab (and the rest of the tabs on this website) seems pretty good: http://princetabs.50webs.com/dorothy.txt

a poon shaped mule (voodoo chili), Monday, 23 May 2016 15:09 (two years ago) Permalink

Sorry, click the link for better spacing, I haven't been able to figure out how to space text on ILX

a poon shaped mule (voodoo chili), Monday, 23 May 2016 15:11 (two years ago) Permalink

xxxps to StillAdvance --- To me, Forever In My Life seems to be a minimalist version of a Sly Stone song. The melody reminds me a lot of Everyday People, weirdly.

a poon shaped mule (voodoo chili), Monday, 23 May 2016 15:16 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm not good enough at this stuff to recognize if it's right or wrong, Only chord in our own little chart not up there is Cmaj7, maybe in the very early intro? Before the singing starts. There's a brief measure or two at maybe the end of the bridge where we just wrote a big "?," because it just goes wacky.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 23 May 2016 15:19 (two years ago) Permalink

xpost It's totally Sly-y, but the muted-ness of the vocals and rhythm are even weirder, kind of like sing in the shower demo-esque.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 23 May 2016 15:20 (two years ago) Permalink

It could be a Cmaj7 with a G in the bass in the verse progression (instead of the Em7 with the G in the bass)

Whatever the chords, what a weird little masterpiece

a poon shaped mule (voodoo chili), Monday, 23 May 2016 15:21 (two years ago) Permalink

Dorothy Parker doesn't have that sus2 chord. That's the weird chord in the third line of the chorus in "Sometimes it Snows in April."
No, that chord on the third line of the chorus is really unusual. I think in that song he actually uses the sus2 as the third chord on the verse and then as the first chord on the chorus. He also uses it in "Purple Rain" and a number of other songs.

The Wally Funk Bible (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 23 May 2016 15:44 (two years ago) Permalink

Anyway, the weird, weirdest? most interesting? most surprising? chord of "Sometimes It Snows," which appears in the third line of the chorus, seems to be a G#7 with an open B and E on the top. Which I guess you could call a G#7#9#5, which is a strong enough chord in itself, but is particularly surprising in the context of the song, since a) the prior two times in the chorus he just played a G#m7 and b) the chord introduces a new note, the B#(=C), which your ear will not be expecting given what the harmony was doing up until then and c) if you voice the chord so that the B and B# (=C) are right next to each other, a half-step away, instead of using a more open voicing, it packs even more of a punch.

The Klosterman Weeknd (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 25 May 2016 10:56 (two years ago) Permalink

Re: "Now he's doing horse" — wow, I've misheard that lyric all these years. Embarrassed to admit I thought it was "now he's doing whores."

dinnerboat, Wednesday, 25 May 2016 17:52 (two years ago) Permalink

Reefer was totally a hooker gateway drug back in the day, don't worry about it :)

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 25 May 2016 20:28 (two years ago) Permalink

78. He rhymes "moon" with "June" in the title track.

in twelve parts (lamonti), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 13:19 (two years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

79. "Her favorite number was 20"

a poon shaped mule (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 5 July 2016 21:27 (one year ago) Permalink

cool but who gets the 7 bucks if you actually pay for those things?

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 5 July 2016 22:24 (one year ago) Permalink

80. The way "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" takes a curve from 80s New Wave pop into an early 70s "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"/Traffic blues rock jam, from which it only returns for a very brief instrumental reprise of the first part of the song, then out.

Hare in the Gated Snare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 6 July 2016 05:23 (one year ago) Permalink

78/79/80 all v great things

albvivertine, Wednesday, 6 July 2016 08:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Those Sign O The Times rehearsals are currently free to download btw

I am using your worlds, Wednesday, 6 July 2016 14:07 (one year ago) Permalink

still looks like they're $7 to me. weird to see bootlegs posted so brazenly on Bandcamp.

sam jax sax jam (Jordan), Wednesday, 6 July 2016 17:12 (one year ago) Permalink

wtf I'm not paying some asshole for these

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 6 July 2016 17:17 (one year ago) Permalink

i've just been streaming, it's free to stream in full

a poon shaped mule (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 6 July 2016 17:37 (one year ago) Permalink

maybe just free in Europe then?

I am using your worlds, Wednesday, 6 July 2016 18:06 (one year ago) Permalink

interesting recreationg of "Dream Factory" the album that was scrapped then combined with the Camille album to become Sign O the Times

http://albumsthatneverwere.blogspot.com/2016/05/prince-and-revolution-dream-factory.html

Steve Gunn Mann-Dude (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 14 July 2016 20:43 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

I haven't seen this since we threw out our VCR (we had a VHS copy) so I'm pretty excited to hear that my Twin Peaks:the Return-motivated Showtime subscription comes w this bonus

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 23 August 2017 19:46 (nine months ago) Permalink

I don't understand why that article calls the SotT movie "rare" and "out of circulation"? It's been reissued on Bluray which is pretty easy to find, or at least it was when I bought it a couple of years ago. Great concert movie anyway, all the little stories that come with each song's performance are neat, and the choreography is gorgeous. And it has that massive Sheila E drum solo, my favourite part!

Tuomas, Wednesday, 23 August 2017 21:26 (nine months ago) Permalink

it is not available in America

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 23 August 2017 21:27 (nine months ago) Permalink

multi-format copies of it on Amazon are currently $175

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 23 August 2017 21:28 (nine months ago) Permalink

Oh, that's weird. Why would they reissue it in Europe but not the US?

Tuomas, Wednesday, 23 August 2017 21:35 (nine months ago) Permalink

some rights dispute, I assume. bigger Euro market, who knows

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 23 August 2017 21:37 (nine months ago) Permalink

Forget it Shakes, it's Paisley Park.

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 23 August 2017 21:59 (nine months ago) Permalink

[snips nostril]

attention vampire (MatthewK), Wednesday, 23 August 2017 22:02 (nine months ago) Permalink

There's a Japanese Blu-Ray you can get for about $50 which is Region A, meaning it will play on standard US players.

Here you go.

grawlix (unperson), Wednesday, 23 August 2017 22:39 (nine months ago) Permalink

80. The way "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" takes a curve from 80s New Wave pop into an early 70s "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"/Traffic blues rock jam, from which it only returns for a very brief instrumental reprise of the first part of the song, then out.

― Hare in the Gated Snare (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, July 6, 2016 1:23 AM (one year ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes, with a screaaaaaaaaam.

That's my favorite song on this. It has a good message too -- don't lead on single mothers looking for companionship when you're out at the bar on a lonely friday night.

Treeship, Thursday, 24 August 2017 01:12 (nine months ago) Permalink

Region 2 DVD available for as little as £3.36 - multi-region DVD players are CHEAP

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prince-Sign-O-Times-DVD/dp/B0009PZ89E/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1503572329&sr=1-1&keywords=sign+o+the+times

Gulley Jimson (Ward Fowler), Thursday, 24 August 2017 11:01 (nine months ago) Permalink

yeah I had that dvd and... gave it away :O

quite a few dvd players can be made multi region using a universal remote (or another customizable ir-transmitter, some old phones can be used)

niels, Thursday, 24 August 2017 11:36 (nine months ago) Permalink

Until Youtube just started putting up Prince videos, I had never seen the video for Sign O The Times before, so I didn't realize that Prince was somewhat responsible for the birth of the lyric video.

MarkoP, Thursday, 24 August 2017 14:39 (nine months ago) Permalink

six months pass...

movie news

PSA: Sign O’ The Times is on Amazon Prime.

— Chris McKay (@buddboetticher) March 10, 2018

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Monday, 12 March 2018 18:08 (three months ago) Permalink

If only Stop Making Sense had plasma ball interludes, then it might be as good as Sign O' The Times.

Mungolian Jerryset (bendy), Monday, 12 March 2018 18:16 (three months ago) Permalink

Also, the outfits in the So'TT film have held up better than Purple Rain.

Mungolian Jerryset (bendy), Monday, 12 March 2018 18:18 (three months ago) Permalink


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