Thursday, 28 April 2016

Sign 'O' The Times (1987)

Not ideal sound quality but good enough for the genius to shine through.

For the uninitiated saplings wondering what all the fuss is about, my recommended cuts are first of all Sign O The Times itself and then the run of If I Was Your Girlfriend, Strange Relationship and I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man, which no-one ever talks about but for my money has his best ever guitar work  - yes Purple Rain is a better solo but the strange, winding odyssey he goes on before coming back to the hook at the end is so detailed and sublime, and even more extraordinary when you remember that’s him sat behind the drum kit, that’s him playing bass, that’s him singing backup, that all of this was dreamt up and brought forth in real time by a solitary human being without a computer.

Unlike the other great pop stars of the 80s, Michael Jackson and Madonna, who never played a note on their records - or even Springsteen, who played guitar and wrote the songs but was at the mercy of his band as to how they ended up - every instrument, every note, every harmony, every brush stroke along the way was all played by one man, a painter at his easel, alone in a room with his boundless imagination, 30 years ago. Nothing ever sounded like this before. Or, let's be honest, since.

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