The Cinch Review

Sinéad O’Connor sings “Property of Jesus”

It’s on the enormous Amnesty International collection of Bob Dylan songs, titled Chimes of Freedom. Sinéad has never been one to do things halfway. This performance of “Property of Jesus” (which Bob Dylan recorded on his 1981 album Shot of Love) will put hairs your chest, or somewhere. But I have to say I do like it. Audio is available via YouTube below (and the photo is apparently of Sinéad and her new brand new husband. Best wishes and best of luck to both of ’em). (Update 12/27/11: Well, so much for that.)

Sinéad O’Connor, by the way, has a place on her (adults-only) website where she writes “Letters to Bob Dylan.” Sinéad had a tough childhood, in a particularly Irish Catholic way (to which I can, at least in part, relate). She expresses in her latest letter-to-Bob what Dylan’s music meant to her in that context. It’s strong stuff.

Now why do I value you so much? Because I love God. And despite the theocracy I knew God. And you especially, along with [Muhammad] Ali, whether you both intended to or not, manifested the reality of the presence of a LIVING God, who could send magical angels who wouldn’t even mean to be angels, or know they were angels. You made me know I wasnt imagining things when I saw god beyond religion. And your voice was like a rope you threw to me whenever I was drowning in ‘Ireland-isms’ which was too achingly often. And still can be (When I’m crushed by Ireland-ism I listen to you singing Blind Willie Mc Tell, or Meet Me In The Morning VERY loud.. What a fucking drummer! Or I Feel A Change Coming On. You believed in Jesus. And consequently, as a child when I was ordered to lie naked on my back and open my body wide on floors, to be stamped on, your voice would come to my mind “God don’t make promises that he don’t keep”.


6 thoughts on “Sinéad O’Connor sings “Property of Jesus”

  1. I had a traditional Irish Catholic upbringing myself, and was educated by the Christian Brothers, and I cherish it. I find all this moaning and self-sympathy, which Ms O’ Connor never seems to cease, along with a great many others, very tiresome indeed. In today’s Irish Independent there is an article about the Irish famine of the 1840’s and many of the comments on it on the website, compared our economic circumstances now with that of our unfortunate ancestors. There may be some superficial similarities, but really too many people have lost perspective. What cowards we have
    become.
    As for Sinead, God had better be prepared for a good telling-off when she passes through the Pearly Gates-His Creation just hasn’t been up to her standards, really.

  2. @Mick: No question it’s much better to look forward than dwell on past troubles. I was struck that at least this time Sinead was finding some positivity, in that wild blog post of hers. She seems to be giving voice to a visceral sense of gratitude to Dylan for keeping her aware of the Light, so to speak. I can relate to that for sure.

    My own experience at the hands of the Christian Brothers and the lay teachers that they hired was decidedly mixed. In my case I found that some of the lay teachers abused the license they then had for corporal punishment to a greater degree than the Brothers. But, in any case, one moves on.

  3. @Sean: Personally thought ‘the leather’ was a necessary way of keeping us under control, and that it hurt one’s pride more than one’s hand. I agree about some of the lay teachers who seemed to take their privatel problems out on pupils and it was often personal. The Brothers were tough but fair. I recall a pupil, the year before I left, a strong farmer’s son, who decked a bullying lay teacher with a punch a week before the Leaving exam was about to start. The Brothers expelled him from his last week of school, but let him come in to do his Leaving!

  4. Anybody who would rip up a picture of the successor of the Apostle Peter on national TV, and blame him for the inappropriate sexual acts of others, will never have any legitimacy in my mind singing a song like this, unless she has publicly repented.

    Your career was over for me that minute, Sinead.

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