Home Read Classic Album Review: Sinéad O’Connor | Sean-Nós Nua

Classic Album Review: Sinéad O’Connor | Sean-Nós Nua

The trouble-magnet singer gets back to her Irish roots on this set of traditional fare.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


What a long, strange trip it’s been for Sinéad O’Connor.

Back in the late ’80s, she went from dulcet-voiced Irish lass to global pop diva in a heartbeat — then tumbled from grace almost as fast after a string of famously self-destructive spectacles. Now, older and presumably wiser (certainly kinder and gentler), O’Connor is getting back to her roots. Sean-Nós Nua (I have no idea what it means either) is a set of 13 traditional Irish ballads, elegantly reproduced and reinterpreted by O’Connor and a superb assembly of players who paint delicately understated backdrops to these poignantly beautiful tales. Wrapping her pure, icy crystalline vocals around the warm sounds of acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin — and then offsetting this old-school approach with echoing, drowsy production that strikes a balance between ambient electronica and New Age — O’Connor unveils a side you never expected to see: The approachable, vulnerable and just plain pretty side. Just when you thought she couldn’t get any stranger.