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Sinéad O'Connor: Faith and Controversy
Sinéad O'Connor: Faith and Controversy
turnover time:2024-06-22 05:29:13

Not long after the release of her powerful 1987 debut, The Lion And The Cobra, trouble began to surround Sinéad O'Connor. Some of that trouble has been of her own creation, some not, but her career has been unduly hamstrung by events that ought to have been irrelevant to her music. After the commercial breakthrough of 1990's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got and a minor but unfairly derided covers album, several much-discussed events assured that her name and the word "controversial" would forever appear beside each other. Though it overstated its motherhood-as-politics metaphor, relied too heavily on ballads, and included an unfortunate rap about the Irish Potato Famine, Universal Mother's eerily quiet reception in 1994 felt like punishment. Years in exile followed, broken up only by the overlooked 1997 EP Gospel Oak. So, will it matter that the new Faith And Courage possesses the focus and conviction that won O'Connor acclaim and success in the first place It should. Whether you hear its first single, "No Man's Woman," as an expression of her recent ordination as a renegade-sect Catholic priest or her even-more-recent emergence as a lesbian, it's difficult to hear it as anything other than an extraordinary song. It also contains much of what makes O'Connor's music so compelling: tight songwriting, music that borrows from traditions both antique and contemporary, and a voice that can switch from fragile to fierce in the span of a graceful note. As goes the single, so goes most of the album, the end result of sessions with producers as diverse as Adrian Sherwood, Dave Stewart, Wyclef Jean, Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs, Ednaswap's Scott Cutler and Anne Preven, and Brian Eno, but clearly the product of O'Connor's unique sensibility. "The woman named Iris gave birth to the goddess" serves as the unpromising opening line of "What Doesn't Belong To Me," but O'Connor invokes faerieland in the name of the immediately relevant, wrapping together the personal, political, and spiritual. The personal provides O'Connor's best material, and Faith's best moments, including such standout tracks as "Jealous" (a gorgeous dissection of a failed affair), the autobiographical "Daddy I'm Fine," the cutting breakup ballad "If U Ever," and the Cutler-penned "The State I'm In." However flawed she may be at managing her public image, O'Connor has finally made the album audiences seemed to demand after I Do Not Want. If they don't find it now, don't blame her.

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