Aileen R. (aileen) from N HOLLYWOOD, CA Reviewed on 5/21/2008...
"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 (Amazon.com)
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Underlined with naked anger, fear and despair.
dev1 | Baltimore | 03/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Myth and Vinegar
Jack L. Aiello | Bronx, New York United States | 04/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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!"
hanchi 13 | NY | 03/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this album (in record form!) when it first came out- I think I was 15 or 16. I had heard nothing off it yet and was just going on my rarely tapped album instinct. Over 15 years later, it is still one of the best whim purchases I've ever made (and now I have it on CD) and still one of my favorite albums. Sinead's voice is one of the most powerful, emotionally riveting and wrenching sounds I have ever heard and the combination of her music and lyrics is often overwhelming. Remember, she was just a kid when this album came out. Her follow up albums have, unfortunately, failed to live up to her debut. "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" is a great album and beautiful on its own, but "The Lion and the Cobra" stands on its own."
Forget.... and listen
Rob Gordon | Columbia, SC | 01/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."