33 1/3 is a new series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years. Focusing on one album rather than an artist's entire output, the books dispense with the standard biographical background that fans know already, and cut to the heart of the music on each album. The authors provide fresh, original perspectives - often through their access to and relationships with the key figures involved in the recording of these albums. By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the books in this series demonstrate many different ways of writing about music. (A task which can be, as Elvis Costello famously observed, as tricky as dancing about architecture.) What binds this series together, and what brings it to life, is that all of the authors - musicians, scholars, and writers - are deeply in love with the album they have chosen.
[M]y favorite bit of new Prince product isn t the fine Musicology but Michaelangelo Matos 121-page treatment of Sign as part of Continuum s new 33 1/3 series, in which various writers tackle individual albums in long form Matos identifies the factors that make Sign of particular relevance The Memphis Flyer, 6/12/2004
Extracts from the book featured in One Week To Live, 2007
I consider it among the three of four best records I ve every heard, which is why my favorite bit of new Prince product isn t the fine musicology but Michaelangelo Matos 121-page treatment of Sign as part of Continuum s new 33 1/3 series, in which various writers tackle individual albums in long form. I know [Matos] well enough to know that he holds Sign O the Times in the same esteem as I, but I don t know him well enough to have prepared me for the shock of recognition that came from the first of the four sides his Sign book is divided into. The rest of Matos fine little book steps back for a more critical take on both the album and Prince s career in toto. Matos identifies the factors that make Sign of particular relevance. -The Memphis Flyer, 6/12/04
"Refreshingly, Michaelangelo Matos's gift is to confound his readers, forcing them to rethink '80s pop politics without getting overly political Matos critiques from two standpoints-the 13-year old kid and the 29-year old Rolling Stone contributor and Seattle Weekly editor-with a pure love for Sign and pop music in general. Rather than becoming an energy-draining exegesis, his exploration breathes unexpected life into the record. It's inspired me to drop into Amoeba Music and retaste Sign, too." San Francisco Bay Guardian, 5/19/04
"Both a student and a fan of Prince, Matos integrates the particulars of Prince's rise to fame including the release of the double LP Sign 'O' the Times with an endearing and at times hilarious telling of his own coming of age in the suburbs of Prince's Minneapolis." Mark Baumgarten, Willamette Week, 1/5/05