Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sinead O'Connor, She Who Dwells in the Shadow of the Longest Damn Album Title in Christendom...

That full title: She Who Dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide Under the Shadow of the Almighty. Paste abbreviates it on the Web site as shown, but I don't recall whether the print version has the full title.

From Paste #8 (2004)

Sinead O'Connor - She Who Dwells in the Secret...

Sinead O’Connor played the Virgin Mary in 1997’s The Butcher Boy, and, by God, she hasn’t forgotten it. But the artist who’s so often said, by deed, “Look at me,” now wants us to look away. She Who Dwells… is, she says, her final full-length album. “Since I no longer seek to be a ‘famous’ person,” she writes in a statement on the Internet, “… could people please afford me my privacy? … I am a very shy person, believe it or not.” Shy or not, she’s helmed a career that’s steered uneasily between submission to the Almighty and lust for a bully pulpit. She Who Dwells… reveals O’Connor’s balance of heaven and earth, and what a heady balance it is. Disc one offers rare studio cuts, including a number of effective covers: “Do Right Man” becomes a sacrament and “Love Hurts” an almost-jaded slow-dancer. Bells and echoes, deep bass and O’Connor’s soaring soprano … the results are often glorious. Disc Two, a concert recording including “Nothing Compares 2 U,” offers much of the same. An armchair theologist might wonder whether the Holy Virgin ever gets sick of being garlanded; a concertgoing cynic might ponder that O’Connor, unlike Mary, chose her place in the spotlight. In choosing to bow out, she’s left us a fine body of work, including this album. Just don’t tell her that if you see her on the street.

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