Monday, December 7, 2009
I had started this review a host of times trying to draw a correlation between the spoiled bonkers nature of Americans to one of my favorite moments of the 80's: Frank Sinatra threatening to "kick her ass" after Sinead O'Connor refused to let the Star Spangled Banner be played before one of her concerts. It's not a worthwhile comparison, and who cares about politics anymore, anyway?
My first encounter with Sinead was probably like most folks: the transfixing video for her cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U". It remains a visually arresting video, though the song was always kind of a plodder. I prefered the follow-up, "The Emperor's New Clothes", though neither struck me enough to buy any of her albums until I found her first 2 records at Half Price Books for 50 cents each. Pretty good bargain.
Her debut, "The Lion & the Cobra", is flat out excellent, with only a couple of missteps. There's a ton of variety in the songs, & Sinead has a powerful voice (though she suffers from the vocal affliction of randomly going to falsetto in the middle of a phrase - occasionally irritating, but not enough to sink the songs.) Side one starts with the eerie gothic "Jackie" before switching into the pure pop of "Mandinka", which is fantastically catchy (guitars on this song are by Marco Pirroni, Adam Ant's co-conspirator). Sinead then shifts gears into the funk of "Jerusalem", affecting a rap of sorts (as Marco is not on this one, it is sadly not an Ant Rap) then sinks into the pleading "Just Like U Said It Would Be". Unfortunately, the side ends with the Celtic nonsense of "Never Get Old" (with guest rambling from Enya). Side Two is almost as good, with the emotionally bare "Troy" contrasting with the danceable rhythms of "I Want Your (Hands On Me)" & the moody "Drink Before the War". "Just Call Me Joe", though, once again ends the side on a down note: just call me bored.
Verdict: Though she still doesn't do much for me, I appreciate the hell out of this record.
Video: awesome live version of "Troy" - why didn't you just leave the lights on?? that said, THIS really caused quite the ruckus back in the day. NBC still won't let it be played.