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.'