Sinéad O'Connor lived by her own policies in a journey through dangerous days with this too pure expression of freedom and regret. Her debut album 'The Lion and the Cobra' had brought her a small measure of success, going gold and earning her a Grammy nomination. 'I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got' was produced by O'Connor with Nellee Hooper and engineers Chris Birkett and Sean Devitt. The emotional sessions featured Sinéad O'Connor on vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, percussion, drum programming, arranger, producer, and string arrangements; Marco Pirroni on electric guitar; David Munday on acoustic guitar and piano; Andy Rourke on acoustic guitar and bass; Jah Wobble on bass; John Reynolds on drums; Steve Wickham on fiddle; and Philip King on vocals and melody arrangement; with Nick Ingman as conductor, orchestra director, and string arranger; and Karl Wallinger as arranger.
'I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got' became an enormous international success, selling over seven million copies and reaching the top of the charts in Australia, Austria, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance; but O'Connor boycotted the ceremony.
She created a huge controversy with her acapella performance of Bob Marley's "War" on Saturday Night Live on October 3, 1992, during which she changed lyrics from “fight racial injustice” to “fight sexual abuse” she ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II and urged the audience to "fight the real enemy".
O'Connor would reflect: “It’s very understandable that the American people did not know what I was going on about. But outside of America, people did really know and it was quite supported and I think very well understood ... I don't do anything in order to cause trouble. It just so happens that what I do naturally causes trouble. I'm proud to be a troublemaker ... I don't do things in order to achieve any particular image or to achieve record sales or any of that stuff. I just do what comes naturally to me, and if I think I've been an arsehole I say so ... I believe in the Christian scriptures and it’s all written down exactly what’s going to happen. So, to put it briefly and more in a metaphorical form: Rain falls from the sky, stuff comes up from under the ground. As Jesus said, 'Nothing is hidden that won’t be revealed and nothing is kept secret that won’t be made known.' I think we can all sit back and relax, because I believe in the scriptures and all will eventually be revealed ... I always say, if you live with the Devil, you find out there’s a god...There was no therapy and no talking about these things, that was the way it was at the time. I believe that myself and Roseanne Barr were the first so-called victims of abuse to talk about it openly, without being in shadow, and that was quite uncomfortable for people. When you grow up with abuse you are voiceless, you feel you could die in that house and no one would ever know, so the voice becomes dreadfully important, it’s about standing up for yourself. (laughs) You can overdo that sometimes when you’re an adult...In abusive situations you learn to manage things by using your creativity. Ours was a very literary house, and Ireland is a very creative environment. I think we were really lucky, put it that way, because a whole lot of families wouldn’t have had that to fall back on...I never wanted to be a pop star. I was in music because I had to recover, I had to get all the s--- off my chest. The artists I loved, growing up in the Seventies, were very intimate, they were writing about painful emotions...John Lennon was a huge role model, that’s the first music I can ever remember hearing, when I was having my nappy changed. And I adored Bob Dylan, he doesn’t hide the nasty parts of himself. The thing that changed the plot for me was hearing Idiot Wind, it was like, my God, music is a safe place where you can put all the stuff that you’re not allowed to say anywhere else. It meant I didn’t have to be nice in songs, I could be angry, I could be… whatever. The truth is, I was carrying such pain that you couldn’t have borne it without getting it out. And there’s no better way than running around the world, screaming down a microphone ... The way I’ve been trained as a singer is a method called bel canto, where you don’t use notes or scales. You use the emotion of the characters. The rule of bel canto is that you don’t sing a song you can’t emotionally identify with. If as a method singer I cease to find anything inside myself that I can use in a song, then I don’t perform that song anymore. But that hasn’t happened very often. For example, I’ve been singing “Nothing Compares 2 U” for 25 years, and I’m always able to find something every night. I’ve grown beyond using my own experiences. Now I imagine I’m other people talking to other people. I know I sound mental, but that’s what I have to do. It will vary from night to night, but I usually have a plan in my head as to who I’m imagining I am and who I’m talking to."
Her version of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" was a number one smash hit around the globe.
"The Emperor's New Clothes"
"I Am Stretched on Your Grave"
"Black Boys on Mopeds"
"Feel So Different"
'I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got'
All songs composed by Sinéad O'Connor unless otherwise noted.
1. "Feel So Different" 6:47
2. "I Am Stretched on Your Grave" Anonymous Philip King 5:33
3. "Three Babies" 4:47
4. "The Emperor's New Clothes" 5:16
5. "Black Boys on Mopeds" 3:53
6. "Nothing Compares 2 U" Prince 5:10
7. "Jump in the River" O'Connor Marco Pirroni 4:12
8. "You Cause as Much Sorrow" 5:04
9. "The Last Day of Our Acquaintance" 4:40
10. "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" 5:47
live April 24, 1990
1. Feel So Different
2. The Emperor's New Clothes
3. I Want Your (Hands On Me)
4. You Cause So Much Sorrow
5. Three Babies
6. Black Boys on Mopeds
7. Last Day of Our Acquaintance
8. Nothing Compares 2 U
9. Jump in the River