1001 Songs Challenge,  1980s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #720: Nothing Compares 2 U (1989)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…


Sinéad O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U (1989)

Nothing Compares 2 U

” Nothing Compares 2 U” is a song written and composed by Prince for his side project, The Family; the song featured on their eponymous 1985 debut album. The song’s lyrics explore feelings of longing from the point of view of an abandoned lover.


Lyrics (via Genius)


We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, and making our way to the Republic of Ireland and to Glenageary in County Dublin. Sinéad O’Connor began her career in 1986 with her debut album coming in 1987. When we join O’Connor in 1989 she is working on her second album – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. One of the tracks dated back to 1985 and was written by Prince for his side project – The Family – that released only one album. Sinéad O’Connor released her own version of Nothing Compares 2 U and that has landed a place on this 1001 Songs list. 

Nothing Compares 2 U is self-explanatory and was originally written by Prince for a member of The Family who had seen a relationship end. The song conveys, very painfully, the end of a relationship and how one of the people in this union is struggling to pick up the pieces. The narrator talks of the benefits of being single now, less complicated for a start, but the reality is that this new life is not comparable to when she was with her lover. The narrator tries to find a way forward but ultimately by the end she not only acknowledges the relationship was hard but she wants to give things another go. It has to be better than the pain she is currently drowning in. 

Nothing Compares 2 U would prove to be Sinéad O’Connor’s biggest hit, topping the UK charts in 1990. The song is as famous for its music video with a shaven headed O’Connor conveying a great deal of emotion and even weeping as she delivers the lyrics. Prince showed little interest in the song until O’Connor made a hit of it and then began playing it in his own live sets. O’Connor continues to record but often makes the headlines for different reasons in her personal life, though few have forgotten her masterpiece here.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

The Doors – The End (1967)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)

Ultravox – Vienna (1980)

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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