Channa Vithana / The triumph of marketing over mediocrity? Sinead O’Connor. My view, and the supporting evidence.

Please share this...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Sinéad O’Connor is an outstanding singer as she has a vocal range that is beyond most other mainstream female pop singers.

I first knew of her when she was doing a series of TV interviews and features for ‘The Lion And The Cobra’ (1987). Here was a stunningly beautiful woman, even sporting a shaved head, who was talking with passion and articulation about music. She was also rather prescient as she mentioned that it was  . . . .
rap music (hip-hop) at the time that was really innovative. And she was right as rap/hip-hop music in the mid-late 80s was quite spectacular with the likes of Public Enemy focussing on political issues of America and the world within their ‘street poetry’ – and was thus a million miles away from the ‘bling bling’ tripe we have now.

So, when I heard her single ‘Mandinka’ I was blown away – it was wildly mesmerising in its vocal power – like nothing else out there in the Stock, Aitiken & Waterman pop-wasteland (Rick Astley, Jason Donovan, etc) that stained the charts in the late 80s.

‘Mandinka (Live)’ Video

She recorded another album called ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got’ (1990) which made her a worldwide name with the massive hit song ‘Nothing Compares To You’ (written by Prince). This album was good -– but not quite as amazing as the first one. Then she did a superb cover of ‘You Do Something To Me’ from the Cole Porter Aids charity project ‘Red Hot + Blue’ (1992), which is one of my favorite compilation albums. She also did a covers album, called ‘Am I Not Your Girl’ (1992) which unfortunately featured some Andrew Lloyd Webber songs…

Around this time, Sinéad O’Connor committed commercial (and possibly mental) suicide by ripping up a picture of the Pope on American TV. I remember seeing news footage of this incident and subsequent shots of the religious right-wing bulldozing Sinéad O’Connor albums in the streets. I’m not going into the reasons why she did this; you can find out for yourself via Wikipedia, etc. Unfortunately though, she is known more now for this incident and other reported non-musical events than her music.

I sometimes try and imagine what she could have achieved if the Pope thing didn’t happen; so, without the luxury of hindsight, ‘Nothing Compares To You’ remains Sinéad O’Connor’s shot at the title. At best, her singing is sublime and otherworldly, of a divine, angelic quality, and along with Björk (when perfect) she represents all that is beautiful about interpreting a song - in a superior, emotionally sophisticated manner that usually only women can achieve.

Sinéad O’Connor is pretty far from being a triumph of marketing over mediocrity, she ‘coulda been a contender.’

Please share this...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone