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|Sinéad O'Connor||Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Keyboards|
|Marco Pirroni||Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar|
|David Munday||Acoustic Guitar, Piano|
|Irish Chamber Orchestra||Strings|
|Liam Óg O'Floinn||Human Whistle, uillean pipes|
|Chris Birkett||Producer, Engineer|
|Nick Ingman||Arranger, String Arrangements, String Director|
|Sinéad O'Connor||Arranger, Composer, Producer, String Arrangements, drum programming, Audio Production|
|John Reynolds||Sleeve Notes|
|Dominique Lerigoleur||Cover Photo|
|John Maybury||Cover Art|
|John Wesley Lemon||Engineer|
Posted October 1, 2010
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With the sudden passing of Michael Jackson this summer, it's important to keep in mind that Jackson's popularity also spurred people to create their own music. The year that "Thriller" came out, Rolling Stone Magazine's Critics Poll named it the Number Two album of that year. Yes, Number TWO! What was Number One? R. E. M.'s "Murmur", the album that practically kick-started the alternative rock movement as we know it.
Alt-rock certainly created a lot of memorable music over the last twenty-five years, most of which was created by people who were for the most part, damaged goods. Yet, few could argue that one of the most talented and damaged of that music scene was Sinead O'Connor. Just her striking beauty and shaved-head appearance made her memorable. Once she started singing, however, you heard a cross between an angry punk and a sultry, Celtic siren goddess.
Sinead was just 23 years old when she created her second album, "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" and it still sounds like a bare-bones masterpiece, very much the way John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band" and Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" were in their time. At first, her record company didn't want to release it saying that "it sounded like reading from a diary". When it was released, it made Sinead into a reluctant, worldwide superstar.
From the orchestral opening of "Feels So Different" to the reflective acapella title closing track, "I Do Not Want" hasn't lost any of its haunting power. Like the woman herself, the songs are angry, demanding, honest and contradictory, sometimes all at the same time. Featuring a band that includes guitarist Marco Pirroni (from Adam and the Ants), bassist Jah Wobble (from PIL) and drummer John Reynolds (her former husband who became her closest friend and collaborator), her music draws you into an insular world that could be almost any world.
While the album does have its share of memorable songs---such as the folksy "Black Boys On Mopeds" and the James Brown drum riffs of "I'm Stretched On Your Grave"---the album's centerpiece is also its biggest hit. Her cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" has all the hallmarks of Sinead's desolate and desperate undertones.
There is also a second disc of additional material which range from the surprising to the mundane; the latter being a remix of "I'm Stretched On Your Grave". Most surprising are cuts produced by Daniel Lanois for an album that was ditched include the Gregory Isaacs reggae tune, "Night Nurse" and a beautiful reading of John Lennon's "Mind Games". There is also a jazzy Cole Porter song, "You Do Something To Me" and a heartbreaking original tune, "My Special Child", both of which were done for charity albums. The highlight of that disc is a live version of "Troy", featuring Sinead by herself on an acoustic guitar spitting venom over a jilted relationship---she screams "You're still a f---in' liar!" and the crowd goes nuts.
We will never know what kind of music Michael Jackson could have created had he lived. But we do know what music he did create and we can still enjoy it. Despite Sinead's troubled life---she was diagnosed as being bipolar---she is still with us and she is still making compelling music. Yet, "I Do Not Want" stands as a bold and bare classic after