I’ve had Sign o’ the Times on heavy rotation these past couple of weeks. Only now, I truly feel like I’m breaking in2 my stride.
So I’ll try the best I can to stay on topic rather than going off on some random tangent about my so-called life, lol.
Its strange how you can change so much over a couple years. Probably the strangest thing for me was when I turned 21 during the time I was discovering Prince’s music and absorbing his incredible genius.
You usually have these expectations about what happens when you become a certain age. I was expecting something when I turned 21, a new sense of maturity.
Instead, I was greatly disappointed with my 21st birthday party. And this is sad, but part of it was because I actually considered pulling a “Mary Sharon”, coming down the staircase after taking a shower and showing off my birthday suit.
but I knew I couldn’t because a) it was all family and b) I don’t have the body for it… now that was depressing.
Prince’s music saw me through and even created a couple of funks that it took me a while to get through. Right now, I’m trying to work more towards listening Prince exclusively on my commute and cutting the radio to a minimum.
Maybe that’s why I haven’t had the heart to buy any more music, though my next purchases will be John Mayer and Michael Bublé’s newest albums.
I haven’t really listened all that heavily to Sign o’ the times, I realized. Then I got to thinking:
This album is the combination of three different albums that Prince written and may have tried to get released but Warner Bros pulled the plug on that. I know for sure that happened to Crystal Ball and any concept of a three-disc album. Prince hit it big with Purple Rain, but they probably were skeptical of how well a three-disc album would sell after the disappointment of Parade.
Someone on .org also mentioned that the album is a representation of a bittersweet time in his life and that was probably affecting the way I was looking at it the first couple weeks. That, in addition to whatever funk or depression I was going through because of work.
Rereading some of the things I wrote really helped me come around. Sometimes I’d be amazed at my own brilliance of how I illustrated certain things, but I’d see a couple of things here and there that I’d love to change.
I’m not sure how close I really wrote Joshua Isaiah to Prince. It was a three month project I wrote with little things I knew about him, things I assumed about him based on a couple of opportunities that presented themselves to me all these years. Suggesting to give him a chance, but I was a little skeptical about it.
I didn’t doubt his genius, but maybe because he was outside the norm and I wasn’t ready for it yet.
Barely 21 apparently was a good age for me to finally give into curiosity.
One thing that came to mind recently about Sign o’ the times:
Would I be able to pick which songs were on which of the three albums?
Now with some songs, its pretty easy.
All of the Camille tracks are identifiable with the distorted vocals:
2) If I was ur girlfriend
3) Strange Relationship
I never liked Housequake as much as I do now. I guess I just didn’t get it. The beat didn’t make sense to me, this didn’t make sense, that, you get the idea. The beat was definitely something I was used to. If anything, it felt disjointed. But it really does work.
I’m not just drumming on my steering wheel, but I actually know most of the lyrics now.
What I think made the difference this time was that I was more familiar with The Black Album and LoveSexy. With some songs, you can see just where he’s headed as far as the next direction his music would take.
I dunno. Some things about Housequake makes me think about “Le Grind” and even parts of “united 4 west compton,” but with the band of horns in the background, the feel of Housequake is more free and, I guess the word I’m looking for is breathable.
Then there are some songs like “U got the look,” “I could never take the place of your man” and even “It’s gonna be a beautiful night” sound like a precursor to some of the joyous free-floating vibe in the LoveSexy album.
Which brings me to another realization:
I had dismissed “Its gonna be a beautiful night” for the longest time because of its length and the production of this live track wasn’t done very well. But I dunno, maybe its grown on me too. I really do love its vibe.
A step further…
I remember being in the .org chatroom and I was thinking the lyric “nothing better than sleeping on a rainy day” and I was trying to figure out what song that was from. Someone said “Adore” because of the raining tears of joy.
Now I know for sure it was this song.
My favorite part about is probably the harmonies with Wendy & Lisa and the other girls that happened to be on the stage for that show in Paris.
Today, I listened to The Cross and I’d gotten more in2 the habit of skipping it if there was something else I wanted to listen to more (the radio, the next song, whatever). I like to let loose with the second disc of the album so I’d hate to bring the seriousness back in with this song. But it definitely is to be appreciated every now and then. It starts out so soft, but comes to life little by little.
Bits of pieces of all the songs, you can find throughout his other albums, some released later, but a lot from earlier.
U Got the Look isn’t from the Camille album, I know that. My gut says it was on sign o’ the times, but can’t fully count out Crystal Ball.
Songs like… well, Sign o’ the times, The Ballad of Dorothy Parker, The Cross, IT and Hot Thing sound like Sign o’ the times tracks because they’re more serious, it feels like Prince is on his own for their performances.
Play in the sunshine and Starfish & Coffee definitely had have been written for Crystal Ball because it was a freer, happier vibe, you hear Wendy, Lisa and Susannah in them and the way they feel isn’t as structured as some of the other tracks, there’s a similarity between them and Parade (and The Family album) than some of the other tracks.
Slow Love feels like Crystal Ball, but might not be. 4ever in my life has subject matter that sounds like it was written during Crystal Ball, but probably not.
“I could never take the place of your man” is tricky because I hear Wendy & Lisa backing him and its a little more upbeat and happier, but at the same time, it has the feel as if he were with another band. Maybe I’m thinking too much of the video from the sign o’ the times version of it…
Dude, I totally forgot that a sign o’ the times “movie” was made…
Camille’s album had the following tracks:
If I was your girlfriend
Feel U Up
Rebirth of the Flesh
Rockhard in a Funky Place
Now, I might be missing one, I’m sure there were 8 or 9 tracks.
Crystal Ball has Camille vocals, but rumor has it that Dream Factory gave him the idea to write an album just for that particular alter ego.
By the way, listened to both of those today. Crystal Ball is kiss-ass. I can’t put it any other way. There’s so much to love about it.
Now, the Ballad of Dorothy Parker has a great beat and there’s a sense of maturity that makes Prince appear that he’s beyond his years.
I think I may have mistaken a lyric, thinking he said he was “talking stuff in a violet room”… going with the whole purple motif that he does throughout his music… but it had to be a “violent room”… right?
I just love the lyric at the end where his pants came off but “she didn’t see the movie cuz she hadn’t read the book first. Instead, she pretended she was blind…”
I can so imagine that happening with me in her shoes.
And yes, I remember that Strange Relationship was written for Crystal Ball but Prince converted it to a Camille track with the departure of Wendy & Lisa.
I doubt I’ll ever get enough of that song and I’d love to hear other versions of it. I only have heard the album version and the original with more pronounced sitar and vocals from Wendy & Lisa, minus Camille.
Everything’s connected and its hard to really go into every track, especially at this hour. I should be in bed soon, lol.
So I was listening to Paisley Radio and nearly fell out of my chair laughing because at a comment about not really liking “Adore,” a certain regular said he had to lay down.
As if it wasn’t bad enough I nearly died laughing because he kept complaining he was the oldest one “in the room”… and everyone else kept laughing like crazy about it.
All things considered, if I were in that room, I would have been the youngest, I think… but can’t be sure.
I really haven’t listened to “Adore” that much (so thats why I can’t decide which album it went on, lol).. usually because I don’t have the time to get around to it. Sometimes its hit or miss for me. Once or twice, I’d get teary eyed, but it’d be in the last couple minutes when he drops the sometimes strained/scratchy falsetto for Prince-like sarcasm and coolness.
“you can burn up my clothes, smash up my ride (well maybe not the ride)”… actually the part after that, the lyric “there is no sea, there is no shore, love is too weak to define…” is in there somewhere.
A lot of it doesn’t quite resonate.
This song is another sign of things to come. Where “Slow Love” could be an early incarnation of “Damn U”… you get the likes of “Scandalous” and “Insatiable” coming from “Adore”… I’ll have to listen to Scandalous again really closely just because its another hit or miss… the vocals bother me in places for the same reasons they do in Adore… the falsetto gets scratchy and grainy in places and its kind of a turn-off for me, no offence.
Now if I were to go about putting together the best SoTT playlist, it might look like this, though some tracks might go and some may come:
Sign o’ the times
The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
Starfish & Coffee
4ever in my Life
U got the look
If I was ur girlfriend
It’s gonna be a beautiful night
…and that might actually fit on one disc. But its all up for a debate and not necessarily in that order.
Gotta get some sleep now 😎