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Prince: Sign ‘O’ the Times mini-LP CD

Prince / Sign ‘O’ the Times / 2009 Japanese mini-LP CD

Remembering Prince again today, by taking another look at this 2009 Japanese mini-LP CD of his 1987 album Sign O’ The Times (cat number WPCR-13538/9). It displays the usual stunning attention to detail that Japanese have become known for, in terms of CD packaging and presentation…

All the elements of the original vinyl are replicated, including the sticker that adorned the front cover. The postcard that you could send off to join the Prince ‘Fan Club’ (cue nostalgia for the simpler times of life pre-internet…) is also included and shrunk down, Mike Teavee-style.

A 28-page booklet provides the lyrics in English and Japanese, or, if you get your magnifying glass out, you can read the original lyrics which appear on one side of both of the supplied inner sleeves (peach-on-black and black-on-peach, respectively).

Despite being a double album, the original vinyl of Sign O’ The Times wasn’t a gatefold, so the card sleeve here doesn’t try to rewrite history and sticks to a nicely reproduced glossy wide-spined sleeve. No trouble getting the two SHM-CDs in and out.

Like all of Prince’s output, Sign O’ The Times has never been reissued as a deluxe edition. The album was on our 2012 reissue ‘wish list’ way back in December 2011, but unfortunately a 25th anniversary reissue never happened. Until then, this edition of the album is by far the best way to own it on CD.

If you scout around, you will find that some of these Prince Japanese mini-LP CDs are still available but they can be pricey, particularly this one and Parade.

Japanese CD of the Day / Prince: Sign 'O' The Times / SHM mini-LP CDprince_heart

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25 responses to Prince: Sign ‘O’ the Times mini-LP CD

  1. Auntie Sabrina says:

    These one. This one surely?

  2. Tom says:

    I paid a lot of money for this one but it’s worth it. Beautiful looking and the sound is good, too.

    Including the sticker was a nice touch.

  3. vikerii says:

    Apparently Prince did not have a will. With 5 living siblings (1 full, 4 half) scattered about, plus catalog rights with WBR, this could get messy in the courts for a while. Hoping they straighten it all out quickly and peacefully, and we can get deluxe reissues someday.

    • Carlton says:

      Hopefully they can come to some sort of agreement where the music is handled by a responsible holding company that maintains the physical masters and curates proper reissue campaigns. I’d hate to see it devolve into family members doing awful cash-grab releases for any offer that comes along. As much as I would love to own everything in the vaults, I’d love to see it released in good quality with some thought given to his ongoing legacy, rather than 30 hits compilations a years with two new tracks on each one and a bunch of poor-bootleg-quality crap.

  4. fredpostman says:

    I was listening to this album last night and forgot how excellent it is;not a duff track insight,and the demo like quality [which seemed stark at the time of release]really works in it’s favor.None of his 80s work sounds overproduced.

    • vikerii says:

      About that demo quality…There’s an interview with Susan Rogers and she talks about Ballad of Dorothy Parker being accidentally recorded at half power. It was a new console, which may explain the overall vibe as well.

  5. 2badmofo says:

    Luckily I bought all SHM CDs much later on and they were very expensive, but not as much as they are now, love Japan releases…always the best…
    PS Paul a few typos “with with” as well as above comment just to let you know. :)

  6. Don says:

    I was actually looking at this set on Discogs last week before Prince passed away! At the time, there were copies in the $50 range. Now they have jumped to well over $100. :( Rest in peace Prince.

    • Barry Grayshon says:

      There is a mint copy of Parade currently on sale on Discogs from Japan with all accessories for $50. Although mentioned in the article that Parade can be quite costly, if you look at what it’s previously sold for on Discogs, it’s actually a lot less than other titles.

      You can still pick up some Prince items at good prices out there, but some items are nigh impossible to find at a reasonable price anymore. Take The Gold Experience CD for example. You will be hard pressed to currently find a copy for under £50, whereas last week you could pick up one for just a few pounds. It’s a sellers market out there for most things at the moment.

  7. Simon F says:

    I never got a postcard with my original vinyl issue which I bought in the week of it’s release. However I did a plastic flower that HMV were giving away to promote the album, and I still have that! Was the postcard exclusive to the US release maybe?

  8. Juan Alvarez says:

    Is there a link for these japanese imports to the american amazon store? I have looked repeatedly for these imports but I can’t really distinguish what is what on the amazon website.

    • Neil says:

      Just type in Prince SHM on amazon and they will all appear though they are expensive as hell. Better trying CDJapan instead.

  9. David says:

    While its a beautiful looking item I may start saving up for the possibility of new material surfacing in the future. I know its still too early (Prince hasn’t even been gone a week!) but there are so many possibilities. As said above lets hope that the family or whoever ends up being at the helm treats the back catalogue aswell as the future catalogue with some sensitivity and respect

  10. Richard says:

    It would be cheaper to source them from Japan and have them sent over to be honest, there are plenty of Japanese stores like Beatnet which will find them for you and send them to you for v decent price, they speak good English too.
    Otherwise type the cat number into Amazon Japan and very often you can find decent priced copies there too. I got them all a while back though and I imagine they will be somewhat pricier.
    I’m kicking myself for dragging my feet over the Bowie ones and they are now way more expensive!

  11. Anthony C says:

    I remember waiting outside a record shop on the day of release! I then went into school, rather late, but I didn’t care! This epic event was more important.

    This is such an awesome album – it’s so hard to know where to begin… however, Prince has also produced many other awesome albums. Someones I wonder if people revere this from a point of nostalgia.

    This is one of those albums that has to be listened to from start to end. The digital revolution allows people to skip too easily. The confinements of an album can give structure and produces a far greater listening experience. I always thought of this album like a concept album – but without being a concept album.

    Most of my all time favourite Prince tracks come from this album; If I Was Your Girlfriend, Adore, U Got The Look and I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man.

    Above all, this album is extremely important for people to understand the importance of editing. Sometimes less is more and without doubt the flow of tracks can change a listeners perception. Around this time Prince was playing around with the configuration of 40+ songs, but it wasn’t until the fourth album configuration the label settled on the final 16.

    Early configurations of Dreams, Dream Factory, Camille and Crystal Ball are great but the final SOTT tracks didn’t sit well. For example, Dreams and Camille are exceptional and should have been released but Crystal Ball doesn’t connect for me. However, with some intelligent song selection, recording of new tracks and brutal editing down, a masterpiece was formed.

    One point of note, many of the final SOTT versions are different to the versions on the early configurations. This is because the early versions heavily involved The Revolution and as such Prince went through a re-recording process with his new band. Yet thankfully, Slow Love still features heavily Wendy And Lisa!

    For me SOTT is the collective experience of the outtakes, the singles, the bsides, the tour, the film…

    Sadly the UK tour was cancelled due to bad weather, but I still have the flyers promoting the UK dates and a massive A0 poster promoting the London dates that never happened. I also still have the life size cardboard cutout of Prince from the SOTT video cover used as a window display item.

    On a slightly different note, to understand the musical flow of this period it is important to appreciate the music that didn’t get released. For example, (in my opinion) there should have been another album after Parade but before SOTT, this would have shown the musical progression, similarly, it is exceptionally important to listen to Camille and the Black album as a bridge between SOTT and Lovesexy. So, from Parade to Lovesexy this would give the listener a true representation of Prince’s musical development.

    Ultimately, this is a great album, a great artist… great memories!

    He is deeply missed already.

    :-(

  12. Darren Batt says:

    The Parade mini-Lp is still available on cd Japan and I just ordered it. With the exchange rate, including shipping, it’s about 19 pounds.

  13. JWL says:

    You’re right, amazingly some albums can still be had directly from CDJapan.

    http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/person/700314999?term.submedia=3&page=1

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks JWL and Darren. I have just ordered “Parade” through CDJapan for £18.71. If you sign up for the first time you get a 300 yen discount offer. Happy boy! They still have a few titles listed so worth a look and the price is really good compared to other sites.

  14. Andrew says:

    What a beautiful looking set. I remember seeing the “Around the World in a Day” Japanese re-issue in all its glory somewhere and it is even more beautiful. Japanese reissues like this are far superior to others. I have the complete Kate Bush Japanese re-issues from roughly ten years ago and they are flawless, especially “Lionheart” with it’s embossed cover and fold out sleeve.

  15. probablyrustin says:

    Would really love a simple mini-LP style box of his key albums like some other recent sets. In advance of any inevitable deluxe offerings. I’m sure there are many out there (myself included) who would jump at the chance to fill in the gaps and have a consistent set.

  16. Friso Pas says:

    I have a nice Japanese vinyl pressing, complete with Obi and sticker, which sounds and looks beautiful. Picked it up for $65 last year from a guy in Taiwan.

  17. Anthony C says:

    Does anyone know if a box is available? I’ve looked but never found anything.

    Other series buy the likes of The Police and It Bites all come with very nice boxes to house the CDs.

    Thank you!

  18. bertielego says:

    From my knowledge, Disk Union didn’t issue any box for this Prince series.

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