Born December 8, 1966, Sinead O’Connor turns 36 today. Happy birthday!
With her debut album in 1987, she made one of the great classic albums in the history of recorded popular music. Every single song on The Lion and the Cobra seems unprecedented. The compositions, the arrangements, the passion and drive all come together to form one whole with a million unique shards of meaning and invention. It’s the expressions of an old soul in a 20 year old body using the most modern stylistic devices. It sounds at once totally grounded in ancient tradition and mythology and style, yet unlike anything that’s ever come before. Truly this is a visionary achievement. This album will go head to head with any record in the rock music tradition.
Since then her albums have not quite hit that high, merely running from good to excellent, including I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which had her big hit single “Nothing Compares to U.” Some of her best work has not been on her albums, but live recordings, duets, soundtracks and charity work. She has made standards and Irish traditional songs, and some less than obvious covers.
Some people mock her. Screw them. They don’t appreciate her controversies, including the famous incident with the pope’s picture on SNL. She has certainly had some dysfunction, some issues. I say that she’s brave and honest, if sometimes self-destructive or misguided.
Whatever else you want to say about her, you must say that she’s one of the most talented women to ever pick up a microphone.
Here are some morsels that a newcomer to Sinead could start with, emphasizing some rarities:
Just Like U Said It Would B
I Want Your Hands On Me
Drink Before the War (especially relevant right now)
Nothing Compares to U
I Am Stretched on Your Grave
Fire on Babylon
Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home
Daddy I’m Fine
I Believe in You
Danny Boy (of course)
Someday My Prince Will Come (yes, the Disney song)
Ode to Billie Joe (absolutely a must hear)