10 great songs by Sinead O’Connor

Sinéad O’Connor began with a daze. “I think I am living proof of how dangerous it is to not express your feelings,” he told Mikal Gilmour. rolling stone in 1990 his second album I don’t want what I don’t have this turned her into an international superstar. The songs he recorded during those years still sound as alive as they did then, perhaps even more so today, as the world mourns his untimely death at the age of 56. Anyone who researches his discography will find exciting performances as well as well-known hits. “For years, I couldn’t express what I felt,” she explained in the same interview. “I think music has helped me in that sense, it’s the most powerful medium that exists because it expresses feelings that you can’t express but that need to be expressed. If you don’t express them, whether it’s anger, love or whatever, you’ll explode.”

“As far as I understand, this song belongs to me,” O’Connor once said. And he was right. Maybe Nothing compares to 2 U this is the only time a performer performed a song better than the prince who wrote it. O’Connor pours out the anguish of a lifetime into one of the greatest ballads ever recorded. His cover is the best rendition of blue-eyed Gaelic soul since Van Morrison, a song powerful enough to create (and perhaps too much) a career. The video was exceptional, with O’Connor mourning his tragic relationship with his mother while the camera took a close-up of his face against a black background.

O’Connor was 15 years old and filled with youthful rage when he wrote this devastating article about a man (apparently the principal of the Catholic school he attended) seeking to suppress his creativity. Fifteen years later, in an interview with rock critic Steve Morse, the singer said she no longer felt represented by the song, which was included on her 1987 debut album. lion and cobra. “Hate Drinks before the warhe said, ‘it makes me shiver’. Fans continued to identify with defiance of the lyrics: “Well, you’re telling us we’re wrong / And you’re telling us not to sing our song,” O’Connor whispers before the song turns into a cathartic tirade. “It’s like reading my diary.”

Shaved head on cover lion and cobra he immediately reported that O’Connor was unique. Mandinka he signaled that he would also rewrite the rules of pop music. Caustic guitars and a title inspired by the West African people of the same name shouldn’t have stood side by side on an ’80s pop record, and at the time, nothing sounded like a banshee-like wail of the chorus. Much more than his image, the metallic tone of his voice in Mandinka marked the arrival of an artist who would become one of the most uncompromising in rock.

Emperor’s new clothes


This is one of the best parts I don’t want what I don’t have, cheerful, even carefree, but the topic is not entirely sunny. It is a detailed and blunt letter, clearly addressed to the ex and the people who continued to condemn O’Connor (“millions of people gave me advice and told me how to be myself”). O’Connor was a young single mother at the time, and the song is about “how pregnancy can change you” before closing with a strong statement of intent: “I’ll live by my own rules / I’ll sleep with a clear conscience.” / I will sleep peacefully.”

O’Connor explained that he wrote the poignant ballad after two black teenagers riding rented mopeds, which police believed were stolen, were chased by law enforcement and killed. The song, as the writer ironically remarked during a performance decades later, “basically makes you want to live in England.” Black boys on mopeds is one of the singer-songwriter’s most profound and insightful statements, and has returned in recent years with covers by Sharon Van Etten, Phoebe Bridgers, and singer-songwriter Shea Rose, as protests from the Black Lives Matter movement have drawn more attention to police killings. about which O’Connor wrote more than 30 years ago.

I sprawled out on your grave


Recitation of a traditional Irish poem about forbidden romance, accompanied by a loop taken from Cheerful drummer, O’Connor uses his uncanny voice to showcase a performance that transcends his early ’90s output, and landing in an almost timeless place. Who else could sing lines like “My apple tree, my light, it’s time we meet” and make them sound powerful? The fact that he sang this 1600s verse with the same intensity and engagement as his other hits speaks volumes. In a later period, this piece was the highlight of his concerts, where he often performed it in a magical a cappella arrangement; in 2012, he dedicated it to Whitney Houston, just a few weeks after the singer’s death.

The last day of our acquaintance


From gentle strums and whispers to an explosion of guitar, percussion and powerful vocals, The last day of our acquaintance perhaps the most emotionally devastating song I don’t want what I don’t have. Released a year before she divorced her first husband, producer John Reynolds (who plays on the song and collaborated with her throughout her career), this is a story about the end of a relationship. The two future exes “will meet later in someone’s office” but, as Sinead sings, “you won’t listen to me.” The honesty, courage and purity of Sinead’s voice turn the pain of what ends into an uplifting hymn about how to break free and move on.

In 1994, everyone seemed to be mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, even heroes like Neil Young (who dedicated an album to him Sleeping with angels) and Patti Smith, who would later do it again. smells like Teen Spirit. O’Connor gave him one of his most poignant tributes by playing All apologies heartbreaking just a few months after her death. The rereading is even more meager than the original, with a very thin voice supporting the emotional weight of the poems. Included in Universal Mother since 1994 has always been in the shadow of another cover, Nothing compares to 2 Ubut after O’Connor’s death it takes on a very strong meaning.

Thanks for listening to me


Inspired, apparently, by her brief relationship with Peter Gabriel, the closing track of one of O’Connor’s finest albums, Universal Mother, possibly the friendliest breakup song ever. Each verse repeats the same lines (“Thank you for meeting me” and “Thank you for being with me”), giving the song an almost anthem-like quality. If we add Sinead’s calm voice and a thoughtful and mature atmosphere, we get a song about parting without hard feelings and with great appreciation for what happened.

Anger, especially when provoked by oppression of any kind, is a constant theme in Sinead O’Connor’s repertoire. In this piece Faith and Courage 2000 gets straight to the point: “I’ve got another job I want to do / I didn’t go that far to be / Someone’s woman.” But, from his beautiful hip-hop beat to the chorus, A woman without a man it is anything but an act of rebellion. The artist transcends his turmoil and finds beauty and liberation again in music.

From the American magazine Rolling Stone.

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