George Starostin's Reviews



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Bob Josef <> (21.07.2004)

While I will certanly take issue with saying that Sinead has a more powerful voice than Grace Slick (she's a bit too "little girlish" for that, in my opinion), this is still an amazing debut from somebody who as only 19 or 20 at the time. I actually think that the problem with the album is the production -- it's too bombbastic. I am a big fan of bombast, of course, but the approach here doesn't jibe well with her voice. The arrangements on "Jeruslaem" and "Troy", for example, overpower the vocals and make them difficult to hear. She sounds like she has to try and sing loud to make herself heard, which shouldn't be necessary. Two of my favorites, though, are "Drink Before the War" and "Just Call Me Joe", which she does get across well, despite all the instrumental competiton. And "Mandinka", of course, which was the single and did get quite a bit of airplay. I really don't think that there are any African elements in the track, unless the indigenous music of the Mandinka tribe is catchy New Wave pop tunes. The title doesn't seem to have anything to do with the song, but it's very fun and a nice, lightweight change of pace from the rest of the album. Despite its problems, I can understand why some people think that the album is a masterpiece, even if I don't quite agree with that.


David Strawbridge <> (25.11.2003)

I do agree that The Lion and the Cobra was immeasurably better than I Do Not Want..., but these first two albums of hers are and always will be my favourite- I know that the second does not deliver anything like the same power and anger and passion as the first, but we have to remember that the songs were written at a different time and that different things would have been going on in her life and mind. Although it doesn't satisfy your appetite for her stunning powerful vocal abilities or strong and strange mystical melodies, don't overlook the over-all feeling and atmosphere of the album. It certainly has its own 'personality' and portrays an over-all message of its own, however 'hushed' and subtly done it maybe in comparison. Maybe Sinead wanted to make the message seem more striking and strong by combining them (and they are passionate, although quietly so) with that subtlety? Maybe by creating that contrast it made the message stronger or coherent? You can certainly make out more of the words when the vocals are gentler and the songs (some of them) are sometimes more like lullabies.

However, I was always surprised at why The Lion and the Cobra did not get the recognition it so highly deserved, and that I Do Not Want... got that recognition instead...

Like you say, the former was a very strong and truly passionate album and the latter was much more suited to the mainstream.

Bob Josef <> (22.07.2004)

I disagree quite strongly. The album is at least as strong as the first, overall, but in a different way. For the most part, the production is more stripped down. Which works, because the lyrics are so much more personal and autobiographical. Two of the weaker tracks -- "Feel So Different" and "Nothing Compare to You" -- have that orchestrated sound of the first album, which I think detracts, but at least you can hear her this time around - -the vocals are mixed much better. And I do agree that the title track runs way too long. But the rest are very emotional -- "Three Babies" and "Black Boys on Moped" are incredibly, achingnly poignant. And the rest of the songs pack almost as strong a wallop. Even when the music is a little too sparse and repetitive, such as on "The Last Day of Our Aquaintance", the lyrics and vocal delivery are strong enough to make the songs compelling instead of boring. "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "Jump in the River" have more catchy pop-rock along the lines of "Mandinka", which sort of helps to diversify the rather somber mood of the rest of the songs.  I think I'd describe this one as the Plastic Ono Band of the 90's -- it really is that personal an album. The parallel to Lennon is also apt in another way -- she had as much trouble following this up as John did with his album.


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