June 26, 2007


Category: Music :: Permalink

Sinead O’Connor has just released her latest recording, which is entitled Theology.  It seems to be biblical theology, not systematic, since most of it is … wait for it … psalms, along with some stuff from Jeremiah (“Something Beautiful”), Job (“Watcher of Men”), Isaiah (“If You Had a Vineyard”), and Song of Songs (“Dark I Am Yet Lovely”).  Oh, and there’s some Curtis Mayfield, too.

Unexpected?  Well, she sang something from Psalm 91 on her first album and has included some nods to Christianity on several of her recordings since, so it isn’t a completely new direction for her.  Still, a whole album of it is a surprise and it’s a surprise to find her going so directly to the Bible.

There are two discs — the first stripped-down and acoustic, the second with a band — with basically the same material on each.  The second disc sounds more accessible to me, based on the Amazon clips.  One of the reviewers said that the second disc sounds like pop and the first sounds like prayer.

It’s not word for word from Scripture, and there are a few glitches that I can catch from the clips on Amazon.  She pronounces the “j” in “Jah” like the “j” in “jam,” instead of as a “y” sound, and that grates on me a bit.  The bad grammar in the title of “Whomsoever Dwells” is jarring.

More questionable: it sounds as if in one song she says something like “They say that you are to be feared / But I don’t believe everything I hear…,” which, of course, isn’t what Psalm 130 says.  On the other hand, what she says may be a personal response to certain ways in which God is presented and may, in that context, be correct.  But I will say that I haven’t listened to the whole song, let alone the whole album, and so in mentioning it to you, I’m not necessarily endorsing her theology.

Even if she doesn’t get everything right, it’s still surprising to see an artist like Sinead produce an album of psalms and other biblical passages.  What’s next?  A Sinead O’Connor/Jamie Soles duet album?

Posted by John Barach @ 2:26 pm | Discuss (9)

9 Responses to “Theology

  1. John Barach Says:

    Amazon\’s site gives only small clips from songs, which means you really don\’t get the flavor of them. You can hear more at this Myspace page.

    You can also see some live videos here:

    * \”If You Had a Vineyard (Isaiah)\”

    * \”Something Beautiful (Jeremiah)\”

    * \”Dark I Am Yet Lovely (Song of Songs)\”

    * \”Watcher of Men (Job)\”

    * \”33\” (This one is wrongly called \”53\” on Amazon, and maybe on the album itself, but it\’s clearly Psalm 33.)

    * \”Rivers of Babylon\”

  2. John Barach Says:

    Argh! I don’t know why WordPress just added all those slashes to my last comment. Ignore them if you can.

  3. Steve Says:

    O’Connor has identified herself with, or indicated an appreciation for, the Rastifarian religion, which would explain her (mis)pronunciation of “Jah”.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throw_Down_Your_Arms

  4. What more could I have done? at Mark Horne Says:

    […] Interesting.  John sent me the link. […]

  5. duane vandenberg Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t she somehow become a priest a few years ago?

  6. Jamie Says:

    Well, me and Sinead are like that, you know… 🙂

  7. John Says:

    Duane, she was raised in the Roman Catholic church but has dabbled in some other stuff, Rastafarianism in particular. In the late 1990s, she was ordained in a sect that had split off from the Roman Catholic church.

    She talks about her beliefs in an interview here, and she identifies herself as a Christian and as a Catholic in this interview — which doesn’t mean that I see eye to eye with her.

    Still several of the songs on this new album are well done, and I find myself listening to “If You Had a Vineyard” over and over. It’s a haunting version of Isaiah 5.

  8. John Says:

    Argh again! I see that my links to the YouTube videos isn’t working in my previous comment. Maybe I’ll just have to try again:

    * “If You Had a Vineyard

    * “Something Beautiful

    * “Dark I Am Yet Lovely

    * “33

    * “Watcher of Men

  9. Mark Horne » Blog Archive » links for 2007-06-27 Says:

    […] Kata Iwannhn » Theology Sinnead O’Connor’s new album (tags: music) […]

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