Release Date: Feb 21, 2012
Record label: One Little Indian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
"I bleed the blood of Jesus over you," declares Sinéad O'Connor on "Take Off Your Shoes," a gospel-rock indictment targeting the recent Catholic Church child-abuse scandals. From a singer who tore up the pope's photo on Saturday Night Live and who tends to get filed under "bat-shit crazy," the viscera isn't surprising. What may be is the empathy, wit and beauty on this focused LP.
Ever colourful and controversial, Sinead O'Connor returns with her ninth album, following her Twitter pleas for a partner, the marriage to a drug counsellor that was almost scuppered by a wedding-night attempt to score weed, and contemplations of suicide. Business as usual then – although the songs address love, hypocrisy and parenthood to surprisingly breezy, even humourous effect, that unscathed stark, crystal voice notwithstanding. The sublime Reason With Me sees her adopt the character of a junkie pleading for redemption, but the album's most startling moments come when the 45-year-old lays herself wide open.
Sinead O'Connor's characteristically blunt and confrontational foray into social media six months ago quickly spun into a disconcerting Twitter-based sideshow. Fortunately, the uncompromising Irish singer's ninth studio album finds her in a more triumphant mood, full of the impish humour, girlish glee, bluster and clenched-jaw resolve that have made her so captivating. The angriest tracks do not disappoint: protest song Take Off Your Shoes rips apart the Vatican over sexual abuse cover-ups; she dispenses with self-important celebrity culture on the searing, stripped-down hymnal V.I.P.; and belts scornfully over power chords on a stirring cover of John Grant's Queen Of Denmark.
Lately, O’Connor has attracted less attention for her music than for her tumultuous personal life. (See page 51.) But the singer’s ninth studio album — dig that tabloid-target title — might be the one to shift the focus: Holding forth on marriage and motherhood over pan-global arrangements shaped in part by Adele’s sidemen, she taps the naked intensity of her early days without sacrificing hooks or humor. How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? is a welcome return.
Always as much trainwreck as firebrand, Sinéad O'Connor has returned from relative obscurity with a fresh round of tabloid headlines. Her recent marriage nearly didn't last as long as Kim Kardashian's suspiciously short nuptials (though they later reconciled) and her drug problems proved more humiliating, albeit less damaging, than Lindsay Lohan's. And yet I'd argue that O'Connor's motivations are very different from those of her younger co-headliners, and that's before I heard the fame-is-bullshit anthem "V.I.P." that closes her latest album.
Good Lord, there are moments here as bloodcurdling as anything she’s ever done. Sinéad O’Connor, that is; and “here” is her ninth studio album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, on which the most bloodcurdling moment is the song “Take Off Your Shoes”. “Shoes” has been kicking around the internet for a while, but it sounds especially ferocious coming after the optimistic “Old Lady” (more on that in a bit).
There have been public declarations of her sexual interest in yams, and tweets about her mental fragility. Her latest relationship has spun more handbrake turns than a joyrider (that's engaged-married-crack den-broken up-reunited-broken up-reunited, at last count). Jaw-dropping revelations about singer Sinéad O'Connor have come thick and fast recently, not least this latest bombshell: O'Connor has made a breezy pop album about love.
Expressions of immediate outrage and raw emotion are rarely polished or articulate, and that in-the-moment, impulsive messiness makes some passages of Sinéad O'Connor's How About I Be Me (And You Be You) an awkward listen. The singer's candor and vulnerability have long been signature elements of her music, and that's certainly true here. But while there's value in the urgency of the emotions O'Connor confronts over the course of the album's brief song cycle, the inconsistencies in the quality of her songwriting keep the set from being as powerful as her earlier work.
A veteran of four weddings, 45 years, and enough emotional baggage and controversy to last twice that long, Sinéad O’Connor returns with her first release in five years: How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?. The title may not exactly roll off the tongue yet it neatly sums up what the record and the lady are about. O’Connor’s often confrontational stance with both public and media has rarely worked in her favour during her musical career so maybe it’s time for her to be left to be herself.
The Irish songbird's best album in years is full of vim and vigour. Nick Levine 2012 After seeming to disappear for a few years, Sinéad O'Connor has recently been back in the news for all the wrong reasons. There's been the on-off marriage to a drug counsellor she met on Twitter, two reported suicide attempts, and several bloggy splurges pertaining to her sex life for which the acronym "T.M.I." could have been invented.
Sinéad O'Connor's eighth full-length album, and her first in five years, is a revelation. Where has she been? Well, the tabloids tell one story, but she has her version to share. Every track brims with details and telling lines, skipping across genres and sub-genres of music and styles in a way that would be disorienting if it wasn't O'Connor pulling and plucking the strings.
Sinead O’ConnorHow About I Be Me (and You Be You)?(One Little Indian/MRI)Rating: It’s unfortunate that Sinead O’Connor’s recent appearances in the headlines have been for her non-musical activities. First was her on again/off again marriage to drug counselor Barry Herridge last December, followed by news of her suicide attempts in January — O’Connor herself sharing many details about the events via Twitter. The resulting publicity has overshadowed a far more impressive accomplishment — the release of O’Connor’s ninth album, her first in five years, which harkens back to the classic era of her first releases.
In the title query of the Irish singer-songwriter’s latest album, the “I’’ in question could be a variety of different people. Is it the fire-breathing, indignant wailer of her galvanizing 1987 debut, “The Lion and the Cobra’’? The reverent reggae disciple of 2005’s “Throw Down Your Arms’’? The sultry torch singer of 1992’s “Am I Not Your Girl?’’ It is all those things and more. O’Connor is having another turbulent go of it at the moment as a public figure, but as a musician, “How About’’ is a stunning rebirth of engagement.