I don’t recall a word of the review of The Lion and the Cobra in Seventeen magazine that made me ask my Dad to drive me to the mall so I could go to Sam Goody to buy a copy. I do recall that the nice sales associate told me they didn’t have it in stock yet — the review had gone to print well before the album’s release – so I went back a couple of weeks later and plunked down my babysitting money and put that cassette in my Walkman and didn’t swap it out for weeks.
Everything about Sinéad O’Connor was a revelation to my 12 year-old self. A girl with a shaved head today is scarcely even eyebrow-raising. In 1987, it was an existential crisis. Not for her, mind, but for everyone else. What can it mean? Does she know how she looks? What happened that made her decide to go even more severe than a buzz cut? What happened was that she’d extended a gigantic middle finger toward the entire idea of prettiness, laying that particular burden at the feet of others for them to deal with. Prettiness was not her concern or her goal. She was not to be bossed around, she was not to be cowed, so don’t even think about it.
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