Two pages of Sign O’ the Times

I basically crammed two pages with stuff I wrote about my experience with the album. One page for each disc, of course, but I wrote in all the different margins about Disc I. [heh, on a side note, I’m running out of paper in my notebook! So going back to school where I have a new larger notebook waiting for me is actually good timing]

Actually, I think I was getting used to Disc I again that Disc II didn’t come off quite as good. As for the whole division of one album being more serious and one being more fun… Come to think of it, a little both exists in both albums. It all depends on the subject, I suppose. I made a little tally of which tracks were serious, fun or whatever else. I came up even on Disc I. Four tracks under each category and one that has a little of both. Prince is playful in “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” and his voice is fun, but the music came off serious.

Disc I [Sign O’ the Times thru 4ever in my life]

Didn’t hit me as a great whole, but there were several stand-out tracks. Again, it feels like I was onto a storyline, but I lost it by track 4. When I heard Prince sing for the first time, it was like… a huge comfort. “He’s back” sort of thing and it represents my expectations. Some where met, some weren’t.

SOTT was great as always, but hearing Prince’s voice again made it feel like its been a long time. (Parade– what a world, eh?).

“Play in the Sunshine” is Prince’s attitude towards life. He took a moment to acknowledge the world’s follies, but now he’s giong to live life to the fullest and keep an optimistic attitude. At the end, he and Susannah say they’re going somewhere else. I can guess they’re going to find about the Housequake. Not so big lyrically, but there’s someting old-fashioned yet trendy about the instrumetns used. “Dorothy Parker” is the first of its kind and musically, its calming and familiar. Like he used the jazz vibe here in Musicology somewhere. Interesting storyline as well.

“It”… I kinda dozed off on, but its one of those tracks I accept as something Prince wrote to confront some inner demon. Lust was his in this case. I dig that gusty move enough to keep playing the song. It’s got a minimalist beat, but it takes on a vibe that’s unlike any of the other minimalist tracks before it. As expected, “Starfish & Coffee” was a huge hit for me, the ultimate “get happy” track taht always makes me smile. Unique in the respect that there’s nothing else like it… hasn’t done anything like it before or since its creation. Since he worked on it with Susannah, his happiness really shows here.

But it ended up making “Slow love” less diserable since I was still on that high. It’s also the first of its kind and I know it has potential. Almost as if depends on my mood, this album has tracks I’ll love and in return, make the other tracks not as enjoyable. “Hot thing,” musicallly defines Prnice as an artist and completely blows me away. Haven’t quite gotten to the lyrics yet.

In this case, 4ever in my Life didn’t tickle my fancy. I gave it a listen later on and it was still okay. I think the layering of vocals (which I praise otherwise) made it difficult to keep track of where he was going. Distracting, but I guess tonight was one of those nights when I wasn’t in the mood for it.

Along the margin, I wrote “feels like a selection of tracks that are the first and/or only of their kind. Little connection exists between them. Feels like the more serious of the two cuz of the issues addressed, but fun still exists in both.”

I came to a premature conclusion about the album here, but I’ll go onto Disc II before explaining.

Disc II [U got the look thru. Adore]

Started out a little slow. “U got the look” had lost its appeal, but going first after taking a break from Prince [30 minutes for “The Colbert Report] is a tough spot to be in. It took me by surprise, but “If eye was ur g/f” came off the same as I remembered. Once the vocals started, I was all ears. The music is beautiful, yet sad, but the vocals… among the most beautiful he’s ever done. The tone in his voice with every line, I responded to. It’s one of those “It’s so beautiful I could cry” songs. My eyes felt wet, but I think one silent tear got away. I remember all the history behind it and this was one accident I’m glad happened cuz I love those vocals. It seems like Prince/Camille seems sure of him/herself, but there’s a certain sadness about the vocals. Like its something he/she wants so bad, but is quite out of their reach. Sounds a little crazy saying this, but even with the lyrics being a little out there and unusual… I’d let Prince/Camille be my girlfriend anytime.

Again, a really good experience/ride I’m still getting off makes the following tracks seem insignificant in comparison. “Strange relationship” came off a little depressing to me. With Prince’s backing vocals, I can’t really tell its a Camille track. I do dig with he did with the music, with the wooden flute and the sitar, but I plain wasn’t feeling it today. [it’s also one of those tracks I get in my head easily, but can’t get out]

“I can never take the place of ur man” still had the sadness lingering for a few extra seconds. I could swear the melody from the keyboards goes back to “Melt with U”… guilty one please raise ur hand!! [Just kidding…] The bassline early on feels like something from the Dirty Mind album, either “When u were mine” or “Do it all night”. Vocally, it defines Prince as a singer in my view. Catchy, easy singing lyrics and the guitar was the star throughout.

“The Cross” helped evaporate the rest of that sadness and just might be foreshadowing the Lovesexy concept. Probably is Prince’s first big religious track when he goes on the whole spiel about it and he seems to believe this with all his being.

Oddly, I enjoyed “It’s gonna be a beautiful night” quite a bit. I think I just needed to think and time to do it in, clear my head. I tried to feel the energy of the live show and I think I got so lost in the whole thing that I wasn’t playing attention the time. Then “Adore,” which I dismissed early on, came off the best it ever has. I’d recall what it felt like to listen to Prince’s wooing love ballads and this feels like what led to the likes of “when 2 r in love” and “Insatiable”. Sappy, but good lyrics and the vocals had me reminiscing about Prince.

The album as a whole does represent Prince as an artist, but almost in a backwards sort of way. You kinda have to pay attention to the different things I guess. Luckily I’m such a good listener. And that isn’t just sarcasm, that’s the TRUTH. I mean,  how can I support Prince if I don’t listen to what he does with as much detail as he used to put it together in the first place? In some, vocals define Prince, but in others, the music does. Lyrics are something I need to learn before I can come to any conclusion with them.

“Adore” I think has some of the best lyrics overall.

I suppose there is a little bit of seriousness and fun in both discs. In retrospect, I think that Disc II actually has more serious tracks. I still haven’t decided on Track 4.. Otherwise, Girlfriend, Strange Relationship, The Cross and Adore are 5 serious tracks… but I guess its all about the subject matter. Give me a little more time, though. I’ll go through the album quite a few more times before coming to any bigger conclusions.

As for my stirring conclusion this time, since there is a balance between seriousness and fun in both discs… I think the overall album represents Prince as a Gemini. That is something he promotes throughout his work and since he does have the two different persona going on on & off stage, this album represents that like no other knows how. With the mix of both sides in the album, he has the yin/yang aspect going on as well.

Disc I= Disc II    Gemini= yin/yang –> Balance exists

This is what I wrote after going through everything:
“It already feels like I’ve had a lifetime with him [Prince].”


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