Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It’s been seven hours and 7,304 days

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Sinéad O’Connor’s breakthrough album “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.” This news makes me feel a lot of things, nostalgic and old are the two of them. Crap, my copy of this CD is 20 years old? But what it really makes me feel like is those two lonely tears that fell defiantly down her face in “Nothing Compares U 2.”

Of course a tear can signify many things: joy, loss, grief. For Sinéad what I primarily feel is loss. Because on this is one fucking amazingly talented woman. And she is nowhere to be found on the musical landscape right now. It’s hard to quantify what makes Sinéad so spectacular. Her voice, of course. Her rebellion, naturally. And her honesty, to a fault.

Some of the reason she has disappeared from our collective conscience are of her own doing. She was kooky. She was a priest. She was a lesbian. She was not a lesbian. But others are of our own doing – or undoing, as the case may be.

While others may feel differently, I’ve never harbored any ill will toward her tearing up of the picture of the pope. First, it’s a picture. Second, she had a point. The church was covering up sexual abuse. That she was before her time in sounding the alarm should be commended, not condemned. But I am not here to talk about politics or religion or belief systems. Instead, I want to celebrate raw talent.

Because that is what Sinéad is best at, being raw. She shines when she opens her mouth and lets the truth wail out, be it uncomfortable or tragic, joyous or confessional. While “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got” is her most famous album (and a real beauty that still holds up, two decades later), those of you who stopped paying attention to the striking bald lady with the big beautiful eyes and even bigger voice shortly after it missed her next great album: “Faith & Courage.”

Released 10 years ago, it is a more hushed but no less truthful snapshot of an artist in full. This album is gorgeous. Her voice, the lyrics, the melodies. Gorgeous. And if you think her lesbian conversion was just a publicity stunt, listen to “Emma’s Song.” Something there was real, even if it wasn’t handled well outwardly.

Sinéad spoke with Entertainment Weekly briefly about her 20th anniversary and revealed that she is releasing a new studio album soon. I think I’ll give it a try. Because, above all else, that lady can just flat-out fucking sing. And we should never forget that.

Also, if you’ve never heard Sinéad cover Cole Porter’s “You Do Something to Me,” consider this my St. Patrick’s Day gift to you.


;) babs said...

thank you once again, ms. Snarker!
I have been a fan of Sinead's since day one (THE LION AND THE COBRA - is it really more than 20 years - oh my I'm so old!) and had the pleasure to see her live twice.


;) babs

Anonymous said...

I'm with amazing songstress and her most chilling work (imho) is The Lion and the Cobra. The raw emotion expressed in those songs still leaves chills when I listen to it. I first heard her music on the radio during a trip to Ireland in 1987. I liked it so much, I bought an lp in Dublin and carefully brought it home. I even got a chance to see her perform in Boston, in a small club on Landsdowne St. in '88...really cool crowd with the variety of people - young/old, gay/straight, punk/traditional...she drew them all.

I sincerely hope she reclaims her musical voice...I'll be listening.

Anonymous said...

o, so it's st. patrick's day again,
:) happy patrick's day,

in case of sleepness, i can't concentrate
the song but i do agree she has talent.
just the song is like blame something?

by the way i was thinking about what's that
mean to do something and try to sell it.
i mean you never know who's gonna buy,
but somehow do your best.

think about just a pen, nice pen.
people who made it could be payed lots of
money to educate and do the job to make it works.
but whatever people understand it or not somehow
some people buy or not.

they buy cus it's on sale, they buy cus their friends
buy, they buy cus they lost their pens, so on.

the point is that if i couldn't sell, it means fail.
cus the intention is to sell. what i'm doing is might
not art, but good to know.

thanks for the post!

ps. I think silent=death is very important issue
but in case of more serious issues come
now I can't think of it, just time matter.
but I like to see you, cus it's nice place. you do
very good job!

Lola said...

Love Sinead - always want to take her home and take care of her.

val said...

Sinead's great, I agree.
But Emma's song was written for her daughter.

Anonymous said...

besides that,
I won yesterday something not documented
but I count. It worth. :)

and even called themselves artists don't make
art, too, sometimes. just make cheer you up.

see you.

dc said...

And even before Nothing Compares to U, there was this raw song written when she was 14, Troy.

Feast your eyes on this unbelievably explosive performance;
just at the beginning of her rise to fame. 1988. Still a teen and already a mother to her first child:

amy grace said...

It made me feel old, too. Then my boyfriend reminded me that we were only 11 when that record came out, and that "Nothing Compares" is a Prince cover.

I'm not sure how old I should or shouldn't feel, but I don't like her interpretation of "You Do Something To Me". It's about as exciting as Nicole Kidman's "Diamonds..." Opinions, opinions.

Vikki said...

Nothing Compares 2U will always have a special place in my heart. I remember listening to it the summer I came out to my mother when I was thousands of miles away from my first girlfriend, my first love. It spoke to me then and, like you said, the song stands the test of time.

Six said...

I'm with you completely on Nothing Compares 2U but my favourite Sinead songs will always be No Man's Woman and Something Beautiful. Even if the references to God put you off, you can't deny the sheer talent and craft in those songs.

Snoodit said...

I absolutely adore Sinead and "Faith and Courage" continues to be one of her best efforts.