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The Lion and the Cobra

84 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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To quote her fellow Irishman, poet William Butler Yeats, when Sinead O'Connor's debut, The Lion and the Cobra, was released, a terrible beauty was born. O'Connor has a haunting voice as dark as the Irish bogs, and her unwavering delivery simultaneously inflames and chills. She sings in two ranges: her soprano ("Never Get Old," "Jackie") is a nearly monastic chant that's angular and breathy like a pan flute or a tin whistle, while her alto, reigning in "I Want Your (Hands on Me)" and "Mandinka," is a suspended, forceful spoken-word tone that never quite yells. By switching back and forth between these two vocal modes, she yanks the listener into her turmoil, giving you no choice but to empathize. She was only 20 years old during this recording, and her difficult relationships with lovers, motherhood, her parents, and the Catholic Church were traumatic and fresh. But rather than mellow with maturity, she gained notoriety with publicly unfavorable political antics that would accompany and often overshadow her equally astounding follow-up, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. --Beth Bessmer

1. Jackie
2. Mandinka
3. Jerusalem
4. Just Like U Said It Would B
5. Never Get Old
6. Troy
7. I Want Your (Hands On Me)
8. Drink Before The War
9. Just Call Me Joe

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chrysalis/ Ensign
  • ASIN: B000003JAW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,978 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By J. Brady on September 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the most amazing debut albums by any artist of any genre. O'Connor is a incredible vocalist and songwriter. Unfortunately she also possesses a self destructive streak not seen in popular music in a long time. Never before have I seen an artist of her talent involved in such career busting moments. If all you know of her is her cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" you need to dig a little deeper and get this one. She covers a lot of ground, from stark, folkish ballads to hip-hop and electronic songs to straight ahead punchy rockers. My wish is that people could look past the headlines, the scandals, the retirements, the coming in and out of the closet, etc etc to give this album the attention it deserves. It is amazingly eclectic and full of wonderful songs.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By dev1 on March 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
About once every decade a woman comes along who changes my perspective of women in popular music and, for that matter, my perspective of music. In 1977 it was Kate Bush with The Kick Inside, and in 1987 it was Sinead O'Connor with The Lion And The Cobra. Forget the shaved head and combat boots. I'm not talking about fashion, I'm talking about uncompromised passion.
Every song on The Lion And The Cobra is underlined with naked anger, fear and despair. I've tried to imagine living in a country (Ireland) which has had an ongoing War of Independence for the past century. A country where a walk to the bakery on Sunday morning for bread may be the last. Sinead takes you through the violent streets of Belfast (Jerusalem, Drink Before The War). She also introduces the listener to the stark despair of 'Jackie' and `Troy.'
The Lion And The Cobra is potent - lyrically and musically. If your tastes are bent towards `entertainment,' may I suggest exploring the Grammy winners. However, if you're prepared to lock yourself inside the cage with the lion and the cobra, this CD is for you.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jack L. Aiello on April 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is the CD that still blows me away. Say what you will about Sinead O'Connor and her political stunts, but you can't deny this is one hell of an album. O'Connor has a clear chilled voice that can emote an anthemic growl one minute and pain and hurt the next. She can vilify and accuse a lover (the devastating "Troy"), while still conveying hurt and sadness at the same time. The Lion and the Cobra winds itself around themes of Irish Myth and lore, Catholicism, soured relationships and O'Connor's acute sense of political awareness. Such weighty stuff might bog down an album, and at times it does a feel a little heavy and burdensome. But for the most part Cobra succeeds because the music is such a heady mix of garage rock, new wave, late 80's club and Punk. It may feel like O'Connor is getting on her soapbox, but you don't give a damn because she's testifying!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rob Gordon on January 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Forget the whole SNL, tearing up the picture of the Pope thing. Forget the stunning, close-up video for the discarded Prince song. Forget the poorly handled political statements and the whole female in the clergy thing.
Put this CD in to your stereo and put on some headphones. The amazing range and raw emotion of this album are unmatched. I was impressed by this album when I purchased it 15 years ago. Now I am stunned. This album is still better than 99.9% of the CDs that have come after it.
Many current artists forget the impact that can be made by varying the volume and intensity of a song. The song starts, continues and ends at the same level. Songs on this album can be quiet and introspective in one moment and then be intense and demanding in the next.
I have no favorites, as they are all good - from beginning to end. I admit that the Banshee screams can take some getting used to, but take the time to try. You'll be happy you did.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. James A. Newton on November 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Ok,an teenage gay James bought this straight away after hearing 'Mandinka' just once. Not long after I saw Sinead O' Connor on 'Top of the Pops' and was blown away by her presence and appearance. I read all I could in the music presses and was really impressed when I found out that originally she had long, lustrous, hair and her agent or whoever wanted to market her in that way - appearance was everything; and so she promptly shaved it all off. Essentially she was going to get far on her musical ability or not at all. So you can imagine how important she was to a young man developing his own 'un-conventional' identity.

Ok, the prelude is over ....... GASP! The tracks on the album were at the time and indeed still are uniquely different. I love the sampling with Gaelic on 'Never Get Old' as well as the beautiful lyrics - "young man in a quiet place". 'Jerusalem' and 'Jackie' are fantastic for the vocals alone and 'Troy' is my all time favourite 'angry breaking up with someone' tune.

Yeah, the album is nearly twenty years old, but yet to be equalled. Not many men like Sinead O' Connor, and neither seemingly do many women and strangely enough for the same reasons. Few people it seems like a woman who stands up for herself and believes in what she does. Ok, so I'm biased, but try it out before you disregard it out of hand.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This album is agueably one of the greatest pieces of work ever done in music. I know tha tthis is a bold statement, but anyone who has listened to this album will probably agree with me. After all these years, this album still gives me chills when i listen to it. it is almost impossible not to get caught up in the emotions of this album. This album is so good that all of her other work, while still great, is just dissapointing in comparison.
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