Song of the Day #196: ‘Jackie’ – Sinead O’Connor

sinead2My first exposure to Sinead O’Connor came from her huge hit I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which had its heavier moments but was mostly a collection of ballads.

She was clearly a songwriter and singer to be reckoned with based on that album alone, but it wasn’t until I got her debut album The Lion and the Cobra that I realized exactly how special a talent she was.

The Lion and the Cobra is 42 minutes of unbridled passion and inspiration. Its nine songs range from off-kilter dance tracks (‘Mandinka,’ ‘I Want Your (Hands on Me)’) to poignant and raw heartbreak epics (‘Just Like You Said it Would Be,’ ‘Troy’). Tying it all together is that incredible voice, not to mention the striking cover photo of this bald woman with her arms crossed in front of her, at once vulnerable and fierce.

‘Jackie’ is the opening track on The Lion and the Cobra, a haunting tale of a lover lost at sea and the woman who waits for him even beyond the grave. I can’t think of a better way for this unique talent to have been introduced.

Jackie left on a cold, dark night
Telling me he’d be home
Sailed the seas for a hundred years
Leaving me all alone
And I’ve been dead for twenty years
I’ve been washing the sand
With my ghostly tears
Searching the shores for my Jackie-oh

I remember the day the young man came
He said, “your Jackie’s gone
We got lost in the rain”
And I ran to the beach
And laid me down

“You’re all wrong”, I said
And they stared at the sand
“That man knows that sea
Like the back of his hand
He’ll be back some time
laughing at you”

And I’ve been waiting all this time
For my man to come
Take his hand in mine
And lead me away
To unseen shores

I’ve been washing the sand
With my salty tears
Searching the shore
For these long years
And I’ll walk the seas forever more
Till I find my Jackie oh
Till I find my Jackie oh
Till I find my Jackie oh
Jackie oh
Jackie oh
Jackie oh

7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #196: ‘Jackie’ – Sinead O’Connor

  1. Amy says:

    This is all very Wuthering Heights-ish, but it is not my favorite aspect of O’Connor’s music. I far prefer when she’s singing about her own very real struggles (The Emperor’s New Clothes, Last Day of our Acquaintance?) or politics (Black Boys on Mopeds – one of my favorites) than something so supernatural. But… do I sense an undisclosed theme week here? 😉

  2. Clay says:

    The undead? Not intentionally, and the rest of the week won’t follow suit.

  3. Dana says:

    She certainly arrived on the scene with huge talent and promise, and then she just went bat shit crazy, and I stopped following her (as did most of the world), though I assume she still has mad songwriting and singing skills. I agree with Amy that this song is certainly not among my favorites of hers, but it certainly does introduce us to the uniqueness of her writing and voice.

  4. Clay says:

    I like that she can pull off so many different styles. I don’t think I’d be as big a fan if she didn’t offer this sort of avant garde emotional stuff as well as the more straightforward emotional stuff. I’ve always been iffy on ‘Black Boys on Mopeds,’ mainly because I have an aversion to songs that name-drop Margaret Thatcher.

  5. Amy says:

    lol – how can that be? That is one of its most winning features.

  6. Dana says:

    Really? God, I can’t get enough of Thatcher references in lyrics, second only perhaps to Henry Kissinger. Now, you put that man’s name in a song, you are guaranteed a hit!

  7. Clay says:

    Then of course there is Sting’s immortal line: “Hey Mr. Pinochet!”

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