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Sinéad O'Connor: Throw Down Your Arms

Sinéad O'Connor: Throw Down Your Arms

Label:Rocket Science
Release Date:2005

By Makkada B. Selah | Posted 12/14/2005

There’s been a dearth of anti-war albums this year. Throw Down Your Arms, Sinéad O’Connor’s self-released collection of reggae standards, attempts to fill the void. Unfortunately, most of the selections aren’t internalized or interpreted by O’Connor fully enough to be relevant. Her rote approach consistently has her assuming a male persona in songs, ridiculously referring to herself as “I man.” Her cover of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s “Curly Locks” is a pointless, self-indulgent mess.

When O’Connor forgoes showcasing her fave (male) reggae singers, though, and attends to the task of “fire-bawling” for justice, she finds her mark. One stunner is her take on Peter Tosh’s “Downpressor Man,” in which she departs significantly from Tosh’s melody and phrasing, interjecting her own cries, and adjusting the lyric to “where you gonna fucking run to” in an ad lib.

But mostly O’Connor is a carefully treading baldhead here, wearing a subdued turquoise-colored frock next to Sly and Robbie in the band’s promotional photo, her concern in replicating a tradition curbing her iconoclasm. She should realize she’s free to chant down Babylon her own way. Not as a rastaman, or as a rastaman says it should be done, but as a rastawoman, raising bloody hell.

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