Sinead O'Connor

EMI, 2005

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Sinead O'Connor is one of rock's most essential female singers. Though this fact may not be as widely acknowledged in today's times, O'Connor stunned the rock music scene way back in 1987 with her smashing debut The Lion and the Cobra, and she was the sexiest rocker to come out of the British Isles ever. The no-nonsense aggression -- emanating with full-blown passion -- of her rasping yet beautiful voice made her a phenomenon in rock. To top it off, she was bold, beautiful, and bald: O'Connor had made history in female rock.

After her 1990 super-hit I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, O'Connor's popularity waned as fast as it had risen due to her indulgence in other things, which affected her music, and it has continued that way ever since. The result is that she has been under a shadow of obscurity and has not been getting the kind of recognition she deserves.

Though O'Connor's own music works might have deteriorated over the years, she has been featuring in compositions of other musicians, to the result that she has enough numbers to release an album of her work with these musicians called, appropriately, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Collaborations.

Collaborations is a long-time-coming masterpiece from O'Connor. It is an album of big and small names -- almost all British -- and is loaded with musicians as talented and as eclectic as O'Connor herself.

The stars of the record include Massive Attack, The The, Peter Gabriel, Moby, U2, and The Edge (there is a separate duet with U2's guitar player alone). The lesser known artists/bands, mainly Jah Wobble's Invaders, Conjure One, Aslan, and Damien Dempsey have the best possible platform of introducing themselves to the people who are not aware of them: O'Connor doing their numbers, bringing out the best in them as well as in her.

Collaborations is not only great for the number of bands/artists featured in it (17 songs), but also for the variety of music styles explored. The record is distinctly ethnic in nature. The styles vary between Indian-club (Asian Dub Foundation), reggae (Bomb The Bass), Celtic (Afro Celt Sound System), world fusion (Ghostland and Peter Gabriel), Christian rock (Aslan) and Irish folk (Damien Dempsey). It is almost impossible to pick out the best collaboration from the record, since there are way too many of them, and all of which are so different from each other. However, each one of them represents O'Connor as a talented singer, who is ready to take up any creative challenge with full fervor.

Collaborations is a clear example of how O' Connor has always been a favorite among other musicians as a singer to work with; the songs span from 1987 ("Heroine" with The Edge) to 2003 ("Special Cases" with Massive Attack). O'Connor has been secretly making memorable appearances on other musicians' works all this time while her own laid in doldrums. She has had so many appearances that this album doesn't have enough space for her other collaborations; for instance, with the band James (songs from the LP Millionaires) and with the trio of Bono, Gavin Friday, and Maurice Seezer ("You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart" from the soundtrack to In The Name Of the Father).

The past decade gave birth to two of the most outstanding singers in rock ever: Jeff Buckley and Sinead O'Connor. Both the stars were eclipsed very early on in their careers, never to shine again at all. One died. The other had been a living dead, only until now; and the rebirth is as bright as ever.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EMI, and is used for informational purposes only.