Wednesday 9 July 2008

Killer Opening Songs (Sinéad O'Connor's 'Fire on Babylon')

Killer Opening Songs act like musical versions of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. They entice and mesmerise you and you can’t help but carry on listening to the whole record as you are led away from your comfort zone. That is exactly what happened to me the first time I heard ‘Fire on Babylon’. The ferocious musical onslaught at the beginning of the album ‘Universal Mother’ is provided by a bassline that neither changes its rhythm nor allows its vim to wane throughout the whole track. It remains constant, indomitable, rebellious and solipsistic. This is coupled with some of the angriest lyrics you can ever find in a Killer Opening Song. Sinead O’Connor sings about betrayal, abandon and abuse and does it with the same impetus that saw her shedding a couple of tears at the end of that memorable video ‘Nothing Compares 2U’ (and saw some of us doing the same).

I have uploaded both the original video clip and a live performance on Jools Holland’s show. Enjoy.

NB (There's an intro before 'Fire on Babylon' in the album and as a ground rule I will not upload intros as I don't think they are songs per se. However it is worth noting that the words at the beginning of 'Universal Mother' are by none other than Germaine Greer, she of 'The Female Eunuch' fame and I kindly reproduce them for you, my lovely, gentle and polite readers and fellow bloggers.

'I do think that women could make politics irrelevant. By a kind of spontaneous cooperative action, the like of which we have never seen. Which is so far from people's ideas of state structure and vital social structure that seems to them like total anarchy. And what it really is is very subtle forms of interrellation which do not follow sort of hierachical pattern which is fundamentally patriarchal. The opposite to patriarchy is not matriarchy but fraternity. And I think it's women who are going to have to break this spiral of power and find the trick of cooperation.'

Copyright 2008


  1. Ah, I love that song, and the album.

    (...we might get some sunshine today ;-))

    Enjoy your day!

  2. Thanks for popping by, Sara. We might or we might not. But rain or shine, the Killer Opening Songs section will continue to offer the best introductory tunes around. I love that album and her voice is just amazing. There's hardly any difference between her studio version and her live performance.

    Greetings from the other side of London.

  3. Dear Cuban in London, I have come across your comments on a number of blogs I traverse, so I stopped for a visit.
    Sinead O'Connor! Her voice is so controlled and crystalline, and she is such a sad, beautiful lady - and a survivor! I gave my daughter her name.
    I enjoyed my visit, and will return.

  4. Thanks, qugrainne for popping by. It is a pleasure for me to upload those tracks (which I have chosen to call 'Killer Opening Songs') that announce the arrival of a musical feast. And Sinéad's reprtoire is definitely part of that rationale.

    Greetings from London.

  5. la recuerdo en la antológica "Nothing compares to you", en aquel clip rapada, solo siendo tan guapa se puede tener el pelo tan coro, en este también! es una rebelde Sinead, chica dura pero de las buenas, salu2

  6. I completely dig the quote by Greer. I'll probably write it down and store it somewhere. She is right. Many of us women folk chose not to operate in the linear/hiearchical fashion. If u ask me, that makes us all the wiser.

  7. A mi me encanta, Sinéad, betty, si, desde aquel video, por supuesto y este disco es, como dicen en Espan-a, una gozada.

    Shine, there many issues on which I find myself in agreement with Germaine, some other I disagree with her strongly. I think that she's absolutely spot-on. With the female of the species, competition is different, rather than vertical, a top to bottom order, it would be far more engaging and attending to individual needs. Anyway, maybe I'm just being a tad bit romantic, but I think that the world would be a better place if there were more stateswomen.

    Greetings from London.



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