Sinéad O’Connor - Troy
Stories that enter life, often unverified, take a leap towards the human will to believe them, without wavering. Mythology helps, amplifies, generates a field in which everything rolls. We must go inside the greatest deception of earthly existences, enter the first real Matryoshka, a horse inside which strategy had its nest, to win a war, puzzling that it should be called a war of love. But a woman was kidnapped, torn from her reality and taken away.
In Sinèad O'Connor's debut album, we have the practicality of art that connects the threads, disintegrates them, disguises them, to throw them into the sacred temple of pain, of the greatest affront one can suffer: the lie.
An emotional implantation that runs back in time, probably also drawing on the pain of the Irish author herself, who in this composition frees the horses of her nature, wild as they are, to aim her uvula at hearts like a dutiful scratch, using an affair as a passport that binds the identity of truth to a badly tanned destiny. Love is shown, confronted, challenged, lost, leaving no opportunity to take refuge in a dream with a different destiny. What emerges is the most disconcerting, touching dowry, with a volume equal to the breadth of the universe: the ability to interpret words as if they were born in that instant and thrown into history, to touch the breath of the city of Troy, pretext and metaphor of the damnation that still pulsates in us, its legitimate heirs. A cut, a cry, screams like ivy inflamed by the dying blackness that mocks human events. She turns the lights on her resolute talent, permeated with a slime that sticks shame and welds it into the pulse of often seemingly harmless methods. A journalist of misery and cowardice, Sinéad begins the piece by musically evoking the Iliad and the Odyssey, taking us into the chronological hemisphere with which we are unfamiliar. The orchestration is a tomb that opens, waiting for its song, which is not only powerful but, more than anything else, a conscious cry that penetrates and builds the wooden horse full of secrets ready to kill the apathy of those who live poorly the absolute capacity of music to be a bridge, a highway and a wiper to move debris. It whispers, it accelerates, it screams, it groans, it plants oxygen like crabgrass as its eyes visit for us every sin to be atoned for. An orchestral tumult like thunder that seeks a momentary education to find a peace that instead, as the minutes pass, precipitates, seeking tentacles in the empty space of time and sky. Ancient feuds wash over, everything is accomplished with a score that becomes electric, with the melody sequestered by strings and then by a dry, metallic drumming that seems to punish even more, handing over to the change of rhythm one of the seven sceptres the song seems to need to maintain a balance.
Throughout the history of music, female singers have always pressed the button towards ostracism between the true and the false, creating mutes resistant to defamation and lies. The shiny-headed singer slips inside (in an intimate coat that she will never quite manage to conceal) a long series of reflections in order to tie up the past (the Trojan affair) and make it fit, without kissing it, with the awkward and problematic situation of the world in that late eighties that made approximation the outpost of what is happening now. The song allows the Irish singer to stitch together her visionary progressive attitude (it is no coincidence that the melodic texture of the song reminds us of Peter Gabriel, with whom she will later tour), both in the lyrics and in the musical carpet, a true temporary catapult, launching projectiles, wounding, without any anaesthesia. Everything knows sacredness and embarrassment: in its sighs, in the breath that falls heavy in the words, we cannot but wither. This can only happen if we are endowed with sensitivity and if we really know the story being told. Wisteria the sighs, ivy the high notes, for a portal of upheavals that not only throw us off balance. When her voice sinks into the low register, death seems to be beneath our feet and our ears tremble, like an inevitable earthquake. It is the strings that bring us back to the sky and make us feel less afraid.
"You should've left the light one": an invocation that splits the sky and like a rudderless wind takes away our joy and throws us into the storm of an orchestra excellently conducted by Gavyn Wright. A due, necessary race towards the appointment of lies makes forgiveness improbable: Sinéad is clear-headed and, like a torch, she lights the truth and nails it, forever, with this song, which deploys the sinful, Catholic-derived doings to give guilt improbable excuses. If one reflects on the systematic circular reproduction of the musical parts, one understands how the singing is a rake, a halberd for scratching and wounding the naivety of those who always find a way to pretend nothing is going on: long, by the pop standards of the time, the song is a theatrical act that needs a single light and many windows to expand the tale and stick it to the inevitable tremor on which the last words feed.
"But you're still spitting fire": this is the stance that makes the characters, the roles, the misdeeds visible. Beware: in the story we only have one point of view, the other person has no voice, no reply. While we wonder why, here is Sinéad giving us an absolute truth, a ball of incontrovertible wisdom: even if she had told us a lot of lies, she would have our empathy, as surely pain does not need to expand to legitimise itself... Strikingly, the storm over the Dublin sky (at the beginning of the song) is an exhilarating exercise in taking us well away from the epicentre of facts and intentions right from the start. Ancient architecture, no longer known in this day and age, allows the text to do a bit like the kangaroo, a bit like the shrimp, managing to exert pressure in the ability to identify where the connection is. The voice, a warlike impasto of absolute poetry, takes care of it, spouting verses and throwing stones, defeating Troy, love, managing to disguise the whole...
The microtonal oscillations are paths of wild roses to the point of excess: nothing has perimeter, either in the text or in the music, to achieve the effect of a ride, sick and losing.
What more can be added but that the polyphonic sense, the symphonic beam, the bar of classical music are but umpteen miracles within this chick that today kisses Troy with the same heavy tears...
Nothing remains but love to keep you alive, Sinéad...
1st August 2023