Faith and Courage

Faith and Courage

In the often confused world that is Sinéad O’Connor’s professional singing career, Faith and Courage was her attempt at reconnecting with the modern world. She has since immersed herself in traditional Irish music and reggae, retired more than once, and come out of retirement just as often. It’s in this on-again/off-again shuffle that this sonically ambitious album somehow made its way out in 2000, six years since her last proper studio album (1994’s Universal Mother). Produced by a group of top-notch producers — Adrian Sherwood, Brian Eno, Wyclef Jean, and Dave Stewart — everything is perfectly set for O’Connor to show up and nail the track. And nail she does. “Jealous,” “Dancing Lessons,” and “Daddy, I’m Fine” snap, crackle, and pop with an assurance and lightness of being never before accorded to an O’Connor recording. Naturally, her voice still weeps (“Hold Back the Night” is a vaporous romp), but with such sprightly beats and trilling keyboards that she hardly has time to reflect in tranquility. Instead, she sounds, at times, playful and seductive. She’s always been full of surprises. Here’s another one.

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