Monday, December 05, 2005

I don't like reggae, I'm strictly roots

That's Sinead O'Connor talking about her latest album, Throw Down Your Arms.

The record includes covers of Peter Tosh, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Burning Spear, Bob Marley and others. It was produced by legends Lowell 'Sly' Dunbar & Robert 'Robbie' Shakespeare and recorded in Kingston, Jamaica.

There's a Jack London quote that I was reminded of on The Last Hideout that captures the essence of Sinead O'Connor. It ends: "... The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

She does that, and so I'll always listen.


Sinead O'Connor on the title track, "Throw Down Your Arms":
"It's the only anti-war song that I think that I ever heard, that is not entirely, completely fucking corny for start. But most anti-war songs are actually quite aggressive when you listen to them. The essence of them can be quite aggressive. Whereas Burning Spear will be like, 'why don't you come in here and I'll show something that will make you feel differently about it.'"


The album includes a three-part video of the recording sessions with O'Connor giving the whys of each song she chose.

Here's part 1.

Recommended downloads from the album:


"Roots reggae is an inherently spiritual type of reggae music, the lyrics of which are predominantly in praise of Jah Ras Tafari Makonnen ... lyrical themes include poverty and resistance to the oppression of government. The creative pinnacle of roots reggae is arguably in the late 1970s ... "

Read more on Wikipedia.


At 11:05 PM, Blogger Martin McFriend said...

I think Sinhead would be a hard person to like if you knew her. But I'll be damned if she hasn't managed to remain semi-relevant after all these years.

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i downloaded throw down your arms (bc i was intrigued by sinead's description as the only anti-war song that's not corny), but i can't play it - any hints?

and besides - i don't Shipbuilding (Elvis Costello) is corny or aggressive -- and now that i'm on an elvis kick -- i don't think Peace In Our Time is corny or aggressive (tho, i suppose if you didn't know the title was ironic -- it refers to neville chamberlain's appeasement of hitler in the '38 munich pact, which he said secured "peace in our time").

I'm sure there are lots of other good anti-war songs that aren't corny or aggressive....

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Luke said...

Shinehead relevant? I can understand saying she has a great voice...that she's always been opinionated...hell, that the ol' elevator don't quite make it to da top floor. But relevant?! Even semi-relevant? She spouts and spouts...and offers nothing in response. She always seems angry for the sake of being angry. Maybe she could light a candle instead of cursing so vehemently. When is her next appearance on SNL?

Shinehead seems like that person that's always decrying something-or-other and saying, "that's it...I'm outta here." And then he/she returns to decry a bit more and say, "that's it...I'm outta here." And then he/she returns...

You get the picture.

How can we miss Shinehead if she won't go away?

KGSR (via the web) and KNBA here in Anchorage has been playing "Downpressor Man" fairly regularly...ehhhh. So-so, at best.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger TripleJ said...

These comments, in general, I agree with -- especially Marty's that I might not like to have Sinead as a friend.

I remember reading an article about Jane Goodall. They asked her if she had any regrets. Her answer was something like: "That I wouldn't be able to get through my to-do list before I die." Of course, her to-do list has more to do saving species of animals than picking up milk.

O'Connor and Goodall are different people. But, that yearning to leave the world better than you found it is shared.(And yes, I realize O'Connor doesn't also take the most direct path.)

That's why it is nice to see her Irish voice taking on the words of Burning Spear.


Anonymous: Sorry about the video. I was able to download and play it just now. Not sure what is happening. You might check out her site for other clips.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger TripleJ said...

Is anyone able to hear these downloads?

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

able to hear what? little louder, please?

At 5:45 PM, Blogger JMH said...

Did you purchase this album from iTunes? I tried downloading these tracks, but iTunes would not authorize because they only allow 5 computers to download purchased tracks. Guess I will have to pick this one up when it shows up in the used bin, I'm intrigued. My brother in-law was at that Dylan tribute show when they tried booing her offstage and Kristofferson told her not to "let the bastards get you down", or something like that. Her walking back onstage is still one of the greatest moments in rock and roll if you ask me.

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's funny, JMH, triplej told me about that moment yesterday and also said sinead deserves endless respect for that moment. he also leveled a rare critique (for him) of dylan, by saying it was weak that dylan didn't include sinead's acapella tune on the concert album....

not knowing anything about that concert (or music in general, really), i merely shrugged and nodded vaguely, as though i found the anecdote amusing, and tried to finish the soy latte he bought me.....

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Luke said...

Wow! Sounds like someone finally has Triple J trained proper-like.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Martin McFriend said...

To me, relevance is any public indication that someone or something is still functioning on a level beyond their bathroom mirror.

Even Sinhead has her moments.

Oh, and I guess even the progress-minded, incomparable Bob Dylan makes some decisions motivated by money...

At 7:42 PM, Blogger CHW said...

OK, I've listened to several of the tracks. I admire the effort, thought and uniqueness, but I can't say I really enjoy it. There's something missing. Everything is too light weight. Roots is heavy stuff - deep bass, hearty vocals. There's just something missing in my mind.


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker