Sinéad O’Connor’s Strength

Sam Sodomsky at Pitchfork:

Nearly every step of O’Connor’s career brought trouble. While making her debut album, 1987’s The Lion and the Cobra, she scrapped an entire session and had to pay the remaining debt on her own; she became pregnant with her first child before its release and was horrified by the label’s suggestion to get an abortion. There was, of course, the 1992 Saturday Night Live debacle, where she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II and asked viewers to “fight the real enemy,” essentially torching a pop career she never wanted. Two weeks later, she was booed while performing at a Bob Dylan tribute show, abandoning her song midway through to scream an a capella Bob Marley cover and run offstage, crying into the arms of Kris Kristofferson.

You could fill a book with these stories, and in most cases, you would come away from it feeling more disdain for the music industry and more tenderness—and respect—for O’Connor. Over the past decade, it seemed as though her legacy was being refurbished and rewritten by a more sympathetic audience. Kathleen Hanna wrote about how O’Connor’s music helped her feel like she “existed in the larger world”; Phoebe Bridgers covered one of her greatest protest songs; Fiona Apple shared a delightful video rocking out to O’Connor’s Lion and the Cobra single “Mandinka” with her dog.

more here.