My Top 1000 Songs #252: The Emperor's New Clothes
Some songs pack such an emotional punch that they never really leave you, even if you lose sight of them for awhile.
I remember falling in love with Sinead O'Connor's "The Emperor's New Clothes" when it came out back in 1990. While most of the attention for I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got fell on her cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U"--which makes a lot of sense, obviously--this was the one that I glommed onto. First off, it was a punchy little rocker, reminiscent of "Mandinka" from her debut, with great pop hooks--cool rhythm and a slow, steady build. But more importantly, the lyrics really jumped off the page, an earnest and ultimately triumphant stand from a powerful young woman about motherhood, fame, love, and standing your ground.
By the time she gets to her rousing proclamation, "I will live by my own policies, I will sleep with a clear conscience, I will sleep in peace," I'm pumping my fist with tears in my eyes.
I didn't keep up with O'Connor after this, and kind of forgot about the record for decades. But a few years back, I was on one of those late night YouTube trawls, scrolling through old music clips, and this video popped up. Those old emotions came flooding back, and I've been playing the song non-stop ever since.Live in 1990:And in 2013: