Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Sign O’ the Times



Prince embraces his contradictions on one of the most comprehensive albums in pop.

Sign O’ the Times isn’t just the most comprehensive album in Prince’s catalog, it’s one of the most comprehensive albums in pop. Everything he explored in his first 10 years as an artist is here: R&B, soul, rock and gospel, Beatles-like vignettes (“Starfish and Coffee,” “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”), and carnal funk (“U Got the Look”)—all without backing band The Revolution. He’s as contemporary and politically charged as rap (“Sign O’ the Times”) and as classic as a doo-wop ballad (“Adore”), and in both discovers the minimal but highly expressive sound that makes Prince Prince.

Celebratory, intimate, playful, serious—as sacred as “The Cross” and profane as “Hot Thing”—he doesn’t try and resolve his contradictions, he embodies them. And in doing so, he makes a space for the full breadth of his personality. Black men weren’t allowed to be so sensitive and weird, and, for that matter, neither were white men. Sign O’ the Times is, in essence, his magnum opus—the sound of a superstar at the peak of his powers.