“Nothing Compares 2 U” was released as the second single from Sinead O’Connor’s 1990 album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. The single was released on January 8, 1990, and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was written by Prince and was originally recorded for The Family, one of his side projects, in 1985. The Family never released the song as the single, so Sinead O’Connor’s rendition has become the version that most people think of.
I was 14 years old and in the ninth grade when this single was released. This was a song that grabbed my attention from the very first time that I heard it. It sounded different from other songs that were coming out at the time, yet the sound was very accessible to pop audiences. The lyrics were also easy for many people to relate to, since it’s a song about losing someone who had been an important part of the speaker’s life. When the song was recorded by The Family, the song was about losing someone from a romantic relationship. But when Sinead recorded the song, she was reflecting on the death of her mother five years earlier. It’s a song I absolutely loved at the time, and 25 years later, I still like it a lot. It’s a song that’s been able to withstand the test of time, both on its lyrics and on its musical arrangement. It’s a song that doesn’t sound “dated.”
The music video is on the simple side, but it’s the type of video that this kind of song needs. A lot of the video has a close-up on Sinead’s face as she lip-syncs the song. But sometimes this footage will be intercut with shots of statues and outdoor scenes. It’s a good video for what it is, and the director did a good job of making sure that the images flowed well with the music.