Mr dtp has been urging me to take an interest in the music of Ms Sinead O'Connor; it has been difficult, because normally I can't abide people who look like this.
I wouldn't want to be in the same room as people who have chosen to look like concentration camp inmates, I find them shit-freezingly offensive, there's enough people look this way, have looked this way, really, as a result of Cruelty's brutal mannerisms; to make wretchedness into an artsy fashion statement merits a swift rubdown with a housebrick.
Tha popular music is awash with conundra, enigma and home to the most extraordinarily selfish and depraved monsters is not news. Nor is the fact that its giants are often, in reality, pigmies.
I long to write my rock'n'roll essays - How the Beatles' Sgt Pepper Killed Rock'n'roll; Elvis Presley, Paedophile Momma'sBoy Made God and The Grateful Dead, Fat Junkies in Short Trousers Playing Out of Tune, So Fucking What? - I just never had the time, but they were always on my mind, they were always on my mind.....
O'Connor, anyway, as much an activist as an artist. Rants about the Pope she does, bless. Got herself booed by some gang of US showbiz filthsters; pretty easy, I would have thought. But it made her the wee darlin' of another segment of showbiz , we know how it is, all these creative, super-personalities, but all motivated by a genuine love of music and a basic wish just to, well, just to teach the world to sing.
O'Connor rocketed to fame with a breathy, jerky, octave-jumping version of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U or You, I dunno which, The octave-jumping, stepping-up an octave in one syllable Nothing compares, No- thing, comparezzzz, t'you, was the the
trademark of poor, mad Joni Mitchell who, at least, wrote a couple of good songs - but only a couple - and played some interesting, jazzy, open-tuned guitar, before she fell victim to upherownarseness-ism and a Big Yellow Taxi took away her pitifully few marbles.
I looked at O'Connor's youtube sidebar and thought, Maybe just let mr dtp's comments pass unremarked, this is shit, I don't have enough life left to look at any of this but then I thought No, he's a nice man, mr dtp, always polite, least I can do. And so I chose the unlikeliest tune, which was the shaven one joining Roger Floyd and others onstage doing the "Mother do you think, they'll drop the bomb...." song from Roger's The Wall. I was an early devotee of The Wall but back then I thought that I knew stuff.
Roger Floyd of course didn't have the other Floyds in this performance of his major opus of juvenilia but he did have three fifths of the Band and it is Garth Hudson's moody accordion that sets the tone for the piece. O'Connor, front and centre, sings as she always does, as though she was hiding under the stairs, terrified, in an abusive Irish children's home, that is to say any of them, I suppose. She has this device of, at the end of a phrase, dropping from high volume to the last word being almost silent, as though she'd been kicked, she wants you to think she's been kicked, she does it over and over and I suppose it's what people would call her unique phrasing. Her slaphead waifishness, her faux vulnerability, her battered-child masquerade, her unoriginal, endlessly retreaded vocal style, all of these are offensive. Of this concert Roger Floyd said he found O'Connor the most difficult and unpleasant person he had ever worked with - and when you consider the posturing buffoon, Dave Floyd, the late nutter, Syd Floyd, the misplaced classicist, Rick Floyd and that awful fucking Nick Little DrummerBoy Floyd, not to mention himself, Roger Floyd must be a world authority on nasty bastards.
When I was a kid, eleven or something, I could never understand the popularity of Twiggy, the sight of her made me flinch - skin and bones, fear and vulnerability, FuckMeJesus. I thought then and I do now that there is something darkly, horribly wrong with the world of fashion.
O'Connor is an overspill of that, a merging, a homogenising of all the bodily fluids of pop culture, a singing Twiggy.
Here it is anyway, see for yourself, nothing compares 2 O'Connor.