So Far: The Best of Sinead O'Connor

by: Sinead O'Connor

So Far...The Best of Sinéad O'Connor is a missed opportunity, failing to deliver a comprehensive overview of the first part of O'Connor's career, or an adequate hits collection. Part of the problem is the fact that O'Connor is an album artist that happens to deliver great singles as well, which means there will be essential tracks missing from a collection, even if it relies solely on the singles. So Far decides to circumvent this problem by combining album tracks with singles, but that doesn't work, since it gives the patchy Universal Mother preference over the excellent The Lion and the Cobra and omits such singles as "Three Babies." Things are further muddled by the inclusion of the non-LP rarities "Heroine," "You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart," and "Empire." All three songs are worthy, but they would make more sense on a rarities collection, which could also feature B-sides and non-LP singles like "Silent Night" and "My Special Child," which have never appeared on an album. Their inclusion was designed to convince hardcore fans into buying this album, but they make the collection less appealing to casual fans. In a way, that's not a bad thing, since So Far doesn't provide a good introduction to O'Connor, even if it does contain such essential songs as "Mandinka," "Troy," "Nothing Compares 2 U," "I Want Your (Hands on Me)," "I Am Stretched on Your Grave," and "The Emperor's New Clothes." However, those moments of brilliance sound awkward when put in a collection as poorly conceived as this. Only extremely casual fans, those that just want the hits on one disc, need this, since most listeners with a passing interest in O'Connor are much better served by the original albums. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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