Faith And Courage

You can't dull the passion.

You can’t dull the passion. Not quite. No matter how numbingly crisp [a]Dave Stewart[/a]’s production sheen remains. No matter how coffee-table-polished [a]Adrian Sherwood[/a] and Skip McDonald‘s breakbeat and bass burblings are. No matter that Wyclef fucking Jean is here, adding his own distinct, chart-fondling ‘flavour’. Because at the heart of it all is Siniad O’Connor, and she still drinks deep from that reservoir of rage and defiance and vulnerability that once refigured her as the Patti Smith of the ’90s.

But Christ, her choice of collaborators is piss-poor, and as every vocal snarl and heartfelt croon is wilfully blanded-out by the musos and their sterile embellishments, we might as well be listening to The Corrs. Well, OK, save for the odd whinnying fiddle or tweeting tin whistle, it doesn’t quite get [I]that[/I] bad. Some of these tracks, despite the best efforts of Stewart, actually rock. The bluesy melody of ‘No Man’s Woman’ is shackled to a dub rhythm to compelling effect, while ‘Daddy I’m Fine’ is a careering pop rush through Siniad‘s early years, when all she wanted was to be a big star.

She blew it because of albums like this, which have marginalised her until she’s turned into a less leathery Marianne Faithfull: full of fire, but touting music that can no longer match her pronouncements.