mtd music: Sinead O'Connor

My next mtd music pick is the lovely and oft-misunderstood and ferociously outspoken, Sinead O’Connor. I couldn’t begin to clear up any of the mystery that gives Sinead O’Connor this rabid sense of victimization and aversion to conformity, but if you listen to her music you may begin to understand. As I think I have done: merely begun to understand.

When Sinead O’Connor arrived on the college radio scene in the late 80’s, nobody, I’m sure, knew what to make of this bald Irish lass with the angelic pipes. Then, with her Prince-penned smash hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, played incessantly in 1990, she was catapulted into stardom. Everyone, in America, I’m sure, was anxious to receive this peculiar looking little elfish import. That was until she decided to deliver numerous impromptu earfuls about her hatred of seemingly everything, including religion and politics. Not to mention her aversion to our National Anthem. I’m not even Catholic, and even I couldn’t help but be a little disturbed when she ripped up the picture of the pope on SNL.

After all this craziness, America, it seemed, couldn’t wait to ship this little Celtic pixie back from whence she came. Me included. Assuredly, America would be a much safer place with Sinead O’Connor not in it.

After a while, however, as I grew up, I decided to face my fears. Even though I hated the overplay of “Nothing Compares 2 U” in 1990, I went ahead and bought a used Sinead O’Connor’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got tape. After all, despite everything else about her, it was still true, that she had a beautiful, sweet sounding voice. I enjoyed the tape, but the songs were somewhat hit and miss; still, overall, a good purchase.

During the rest of the 90’s, I wasn’t really sure what happened to Sinead O’Connor. I believe America was completely finished with her, and that’s why she all but disappeared from the radio waves. However, I did find her on an Irish Compilation called Common Ground: Voices Of Modern Irish Music. On it, she sang “On Raglan Road.” This song alone was enough to convince me how special Sinead O’Connor was. What an amazing song.

Soon after this, I finally saw her again, with the video for her song, “No Man’s Woman”. I loved this song. It could be interpreted several different ways, and even with it’s somewhat anti-man theme, I still dug it. For some reason that sort of thing always has a reverse affect on me.
Eventually, to fill out a BMG membership, 12 CD’s for the price of 1, I selected the album Faith & Courage, the album “No Man’s Woman” is off of. Quickly, after listening through the new CDs, this album stood out, to the point that for a time period, it was my absolute favorite CD in my vast collection. I loved it so much; the only drawback to the album was the fear of over-listening to it and thus ruining it. To avoid this, I had to ration off how often I’d play it, forcibly mixing in other CDs to keep it fresh.

Faith & Courage
(2000) is the reason why Sinead O’Connor makes my list of mtd music. Every song on it is a journey into O’Connor’s evolution as an extremely conscientious artist. The anger is all but gone, as O’Connor seems to have come to grips with her mother as well as her religious difficulties. From the music, I gather O’Connor is a mother herself now, and this has changed her, seemingly opening her up spiritually, and all of this seeps through in the music. Adding to the meditative and sometimes upbeat songs of Faith & Courage is just the right sprinkling of hip-hop beats; Wyclef Jean’s contribution to the album. I find this CD to be a complete and utter masterpiece, an absolute musical treasure. Favorite songs include, “Jealous”, “What Doesn’t Belong To Me”, and “If U Ever”.

Sinead O’Connor has proven to me to not only be an incredibly gifted singer, but also an extremely open and honest, multi-layered songwriter. For those of you still keeping her in purgatory for her initial transgressions, it is time to release her. If you do, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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