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Throw Down Your Arms

4.4 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

12 TRACKS: 1) Jah Nuh Dead 2) Marcus Garvey 3) Door Peep 4) He Prayed 5) Y Mas Gan 6) Curly Locks 7) Vampire 8) Prophet Has Arise 9) Downpressor Man 10) Throw Down Your Arms 11) Untold Stories 12) War

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 30, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rocket Science
  • ASIN: B00389JFVA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,750 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Brandon J. Smith VINE VOICE on October 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
What a bizarre and fascinating career Sinead O'Connor has had. Who could have guessed from The Lion and the Cobra that she would have such a meandering, do-what-feels-right approach to her subsequent albums? Since her first scandals in the early days, I've never really taken O'Connor at her word. She may have said she was retiring, but I never gave up hope that she really just meant she needed a little vacation. She's an artist who follows her muse, and, thank goodness, that muse leads her into the studio every so often.

In this case, we've got what will forever be referred to as Sinead's reggae album. Because that's exactly what it is. She's dabbled in the genre before, to excellent results, so why not immerse herself in the scene for a while?

Despite this being a covers album within a genre, this is very different from Sean-Nos-Nua, in which she reworked and reinterpreted traditional Irish songs. This time around, she lets the music take her in its direction. The bottom line: It works. O'Connor has an incredible voice which can convey an extraordinary amount of emotion, and she uses it to great effect here. I'm not a fan of reggae, overall, but this album pulls me in. It's rather hypnotic in its way. It feels like the real deal, not just some genre excercize. I'd recommend this to the O'Connor faithful as well as fans of reggae in general.
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Format: Audio CD
It came as no surprise to me that Sinead O'Connor decided to put an end to her "retirement" earlier this year. Her announcement that she would only be recording spiritual music from now on wasn't much of a shock, either...it's not like her previous albums have been lacking in religious material. Then I found out that she was planning to release an album of reggae cover songs, and I was like, "WHAT?!" But "Throw Down Your Arms" is wonderful, like most of Sinead's albums are. I'm generally not a big fan of reggae music, but I like all of the songs on this album. All the tracks are hypnotic spiritual songs with a Rasta influence. "T Mas Gan," "Vampire," and "Downpressor Man" are probably my favorite songs on the CD. The album also includes a version of Bob Marley's "War," which is the song Sinead sand on that infamous episode of "Saturday Night Live" in 1992, when she tore up a picture of the pope on television.

Although Sinead has dabbled in reggae before, "Throw Down Your Arms" is very different from any of her previous albums. That's what makes Sinead so great, though: she refuses to conform to any popular style and just sings what she wants to sing...and she does a great job at it.
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Format: Audio CD
I had always been a bit "iffy" about O'Connor. Was she crazy? Had this artist gone "off her rocker?" Maybe this woman is eccentric, but I can tell you one thing: this is one of the most astounding albums I have ever had the privilege to hear. One of the things that "sold" me was that O'Connor did not go to LA to create this masterpiece. She went to Kingston, Jamaica, and enlisted the talents of brilliant rhythm-section Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Moreover, she insisted that at least one of the rasta musicians who played on the original sessions was present. The result is simply powerful. Ms. O'Connor has taken these (often obscure) rasta/roots/reggae classics and caressed them with an obvious, poignant reverence. I had forgotten what a powerful instrument this woman possesses in her voice. She tackles Burning Spear's "Jah Nuh Dead" and the title track to the point wherein the hair stands up on the back of your neck. Her take on Tosh's "Downpressor Man" is about the most stunning track I have heard in ages. I knew O'Connor's passion from college days and her "Lion & Cobra" release. This album seems to capture the same passion this artist expressed as a 17 year old. Unbelievable record. Highlights abound on this gorgeous, authentic disc: "Curly Locks" is perhaps the most utterly beautiful song I have ever heard. "He Prayed" is mind-blowing. "Vampire" is full of the righteous anger this artist has apparently been nursing for years. "Prophet Has Arise" is astonishing not only for O'Connor's vocals, but for the obvious island back-up singers she utilizes. Sly & Robbie steer her in a completely honorable, precise direction. Not one track fails.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
No one can ever accuse O'Connor of being an insincere artist. She took what (for most anyone else) would be a "you gotta be kidding me" concept and made a drop-dead serious effort. Only someone with buckets of talent could pull such a thing off.

Luckily, O'Connor has never lacked for talent, though she may have lacked for timing. The woman is indeed, as most critics and All Music Guide note, one of the greatest "born" singers to emerge in 20th century pop. She's also had extensive experience with reggae fusions to great success in her strong back-catalogue. People apparently forget that she's still sold 20 million records in spite of the "Pope thing." Her ability to successfully fuse styles was outright pioneering in the late 80s and beyond.

That said, this is a flat-out "religious-experience" record. O'Connor fakes nothing here, from the non-mainstream (but *choice*) reggae/rasta tunes she is covering, to the classic line-up of authentic studio players (recorded with Sly & Robbie at Tuff Gong, for heaven's sake). O'Connor has always been able to throw darts at God and spiritual themes...this album lets her go full-throttle. The opening rendition of "Jah Nuh Dead" is creepy in the best way you could imagine. It's her statement that she means every word she sings. Her soul and passion on every song is the ticket here: sensuous on a great "Curly Locks," firing on Babylon with "Downpressor Man." The title track is, again, spotlessly sung, produced, rendered, you-name-it.

The downside? You have to either really like Sinead O'Connor or really like reggae music and its message. The sounds alone are great for any ear, but at heart (on sleeve) this is a serious work, and not for the casual listener at all.
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