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2003 – Massive Attack (feat. Sinead O' Connor): What Your Soul Sings

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Released on 10th February 2003 by Virgin Records, Massive Attack's 4th studio album "100th Window" contains three songs by the late and great Sinead O' Connor; "What your soul sings" being the first one to appear in the setlist. Let us discover more, both about the song and about its subject...

 
There is a kind of hatred, within; there is a scream down there; there is sorrow lost somewhere and to hide nowhere, but still nothing else to do but to find a way of truth, a way of peace, a way with meaningless words because everything else has already been exposed; there is a bomb that needs to explode, and a resurrection to be forced, to be reborn again, no one else can understand but the ones who went through hell.
Artur

Click on play and read on...

 

Introduction. I wrote a few days ago a sentence that, in the light of this tribute to Sinead, takes on its full meaning. It said, “We believe in things we don’t know”.

 

About the song. Written by Robert Del Naja, Neil Davidge and Sinead O'Connor, “What Your Soul Sings” started as a guitar riff played by Angelo Bruschini (salvaged from one of the very few leftover pieces of music composed during the 2000/2001 Lupine Howl period, which were mostly all scrapped) – used by the band when they were working in 2002 on their fourth studio album “100th Window” (issued in UK on February, 10th 2003).

Massive Attack wanted to work with Sinead for quite a long time, actually since 1994, before finally coming together for three tracks on their, back then, latest effort (Special Cases, Prayer for England and What Your Soul Sings).

Sadly enough, this blissful musical moment never got the coverage it truly deserved: It wasn't issued as a single, only appearing on The Music Of Sinead O'Connor 1986-2003, an Official 2003 US promotional CD-R acetate featuring a unique compilation of songs (custom printed stickered disc complete with a custom picture sleeve and studio title/tracklisting back insert) and was sung by Sinead only on a couple of live dates with Massive Attack. Furthermore, despite "100th Window" being a critical success, the album "only" sold 180,000 copies in the US (England being first with 216.607 copies sold).

The lyrics of this beautifully touching song are self-explanatory; the music soothes you and helps you, thanks to its very pictural capability, to reach pure emotions deep down inside (thus explaining why the song was played during Balearic Breakfast's 140th episode), with the words slowly guiding you towards the one who should be your only true friend. Of course, the composition is all about “self-empowerment”, "self-love", and "self-care", and I could go on rephrasing the lyrics, but you will find that easily on the web elsewhere. Yet, a crucial theme here must be, at least partially, put on the forefront, and you already know which one it is...

 

Talking about Soul. – “Death is the ultimate opener”. I should have known better and feel very sad about discovering Sinead’s musical universe after her passing. While I was a teenager, I only listened to her second album, "I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got", which will be presented by Colleen on the forthcoming Classic Album Sundays online event, held on Tuesday, 22nd August 2023, at 8 pm BST.

First, when talking about the human Soul, I feel we need musical guidance, even an incomplete one. The first song, to me, presenting what Sinnead’s song is all about can be found in Gary Wright’s discography, “Love’s Awake Inside”. Another splendid one is Tori Amos’ “The Reindeer King” (find out more here). We can't talk about Soul and not wave a big hello to Pete Townshend of The Who... A lot of songs of The Who do openly talk about that theme, one of the most direct and strongest ones being "The Real Me". Another artist who often sings about the human Soul is Mylène Farmer, have a listen to the great "À l'ombre". Of course, we also all have in mind the classics from the 60s infusing this energetic positivity in our lives and united under the “Soul Music” musical genre, “music that originated in black American gospel singing, closely related to rhythm and blues, and characterized by intensity of feeling and earthiness”.

In any case, a lot of people talk about "Soul". Yet, to this day, few people are really able to define or prove its existence. To me, a Soul is a young woman. She is not an "entity" but the one initiating all of the emotions you feel (both good and bad) and bringing you the raw decision to take; she is not the brain, though she is linked to it, and she is not "intelligence"; she is your inner Freedom, she is the core of your "emotional states" but she is not your Feelings, she is the initiator of how you feel, she's the current, not the cable...

Knowing that, I'm going to leave you and let you think about Sinead's song. Give yourself time, and ask yourself: "Where is my soul?", "Did I talk to her lately?", "Can I identify her?", "What is her name?", "How does she show herself to me?", "Did I ever lose her?" (and yes, it can happen, I personally experienced it...), "Do I love her, do I care about her?", "Is she awake?", "Is she asleep?", "Where does she live?".

Try to find her; she is waiting for you... It may happen that you end up having two sides to her, like I do. You'll even maybe end "Bleeding Quadrophonic"... But, at least, you will Know. And it will help you to gain a "Balearic State of Mind" and you won't "Believe in things you don't know"...


Don't be afraid Open your mouth to say Say what your soul sings to you

Your mind can never change Unless you ask it to Lovingly rearrange The thoughts that make you blue The things that bring you down Will mean no harm to you And so make your choice joy The joy belongs to you

And when you do You'll find the one you love is here You'll find you The love yeah

Don't be ashamed no To open your heart and pray Say what your soul sings to you

So no longer pretend That you can't feel it near That tickle on your hand That tingle in your ear And ask it anything Because it loves you dear It's your most precious king If only you could hear

And when you do You'll find the one you need is here You'll find you Love you

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