I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

Sinead O'Connor

Ensign/Chrysalis, 1990

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/06/2007

Fans of folk music love it. Classical music devotees love it. College students love it and music critics love it.  It is the second album by Irish rebel Sinead O’Connor, entitled I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

As the first big statement of the 90s, this album was popular on an international level for several reasons. It showed off Sinead’s sensitive side, as evidenced by the teary video for the No. 1 smash hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” and proved just how versatile and compelling she truly was as an artist. She may have shunned the resulting fame and would self-destruct a few years later, but her incredible music will live on forever.

There are a lot of folksy acoustic ballads here that tend to blend together, but that is a minor complaint to just how much great material there is on Sinead’s most successful effort. At first glance, “Feel So Different” may seem like an odd choice to open the album, but upon further inspection it makes all the sense in the world. It certainly sets the dramatic tone for everything to follow and has some of the chilliest sounding strings you will ever hear. 

Hip-hop drum beats carry the next song “I Am Stretched On Your Grave” from start to finish, making it a tad repetitious and monotonous.  The upbeat fiddle at the very end makes up for it, however. After a somewhat dull, slow and creaky number called “Three Babies,” we get into the real meat of the record starting with “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Along with “Jump In The River” from the soundtrack to nbtc__dv_250 Married To The Mob, we see that Sinead had the potential to really rock things out with the best of them.  Dynamic stuff, to be sure. 

One of the best mid-tempo tracks to be found here is “The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance,” which also happened to make the cut for Sinead’s first greatest hits collection. Leave it to someone like her to bring back the torch song. Her ballads may start off simple and gentle, but you can always rest assured she’ll either build it up or throw a twist in there somewhere to surprise the listener.

Sinead’s voice almost sounds liquefied on the a cappella title track closer.  It forces you to pay attention to every word she is saying, even if you come away scratching your head wondering what the hell she is trying so desperately to say.  That is, essentially, the paradox of Sinead O’Connor:  her messages always seemed to get lost in the controversial way she attempted to convey them. And her bold, aggressive image never helped her in this regard either. Between her shaved head and tendency to snub all the awards that would eventually come her way, Sinead turned herself into a pariah and an outcast. And then she had the audacity to become a priest after shredding a picture of the Pope…it’s no wonder the public would become confused and grow weary of her. 

Politics and religion are always subjects that are bound to arouse the ire of many, so perhaps she would have been better served just channeling those energies into her music.

As one of the most consistent and exciting female artists in rock, it seems a shame that we won’t be hearing any more music coming from O’Connor. In the end, it was her sensitive nature that got the best of her and was never something she could easily contain.  With her large, expressive eyes, it was fairly obvious to the casual observer that Sinead had a lot of demons inside of her.  She needed an outlet like music to exorcise them in order to develop not only as an artist, but as a human being. 

Perhaps we expected to much from her?  Did we judge her too harshly?  Maybe we should have given her a second chance?  Whatever you might think of Sinead, you cannot deny that we are unlikely to ever see a talent like her to come around again any time soon, and this album proves that.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2007 Michael R. Smith 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 Ensign/Chrysalis, and is used for informational purposes only.