Tomorrow, the Sign ‘O’ The Times deluxe reissue will be released. I am very excited to hear the remasters and the many treasures from the vault. All of Prince’s records deserve the upgrade, but this one is particularly special for me.
I was a royal subject for several years before the album came out March 31, 1987. However this was the first Prince album that I owned and heard before my older brother had it. Therefore, even while Parade is my favorite Prince album, I consider this to be *my* Prince album. SOTT was a changing of the guard. The Purple Army was suddenly told to dress in Peach and Black, and OG fans like my brother dropped ranks.
That Monday, I went straight to the wrecka stow after school to buy it. I bought it on cassette and when I got home, I put it on and listened to it in one non-stop sitting. My head practically exploded by track three, “Housequake.” There were so many new ideas, voices and sounds. I had virtually memorized every note of his previous four albums, but nothing prepared me for the star-turn by Camille, beyond one b-side, and the sparseness of it all. That tape spent the next two months in my car and anyone who got a lift was weirded out by “Starfish & Coffee” and “If I Was Your Girlfriend.”
Perhaps it was being 18, singing in my first band, and on the verge of graduating high school that it resonated for me more than his other records. The more mature themes hit harder, my tastes were broadening. Like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?, Sign ‘O’ The Times improves and deepens with age, mine and the calendar. The themes are as timely as ever. It will be a trip to revisit with new sonic sensibilities and with the current state of the world, well... It’s gonna be a beautiful night.