How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?
(One Little Indian)
Nobody ever over-estimated Sinead O’Connor’s natural ability to cause a kerfuffle, and here’s further proof. Her new album is a thrilling reaffirmation of her ability as a singer and songwriter to concentrate the mind on the crevasses that separate dogma — both religious and secular from real life. O’Connor has previously sparked heated debate by exploding cosy notions of sexuality and the Church and nothing much has changed in that respect, except she appears to have found a measure of coherence on her ninth album.
The opening 4th and Vine appears to celebrate the virtues of female grooming and monogamy, though it becomes clear this is not exactly the case. Take Off Your Shoes veers between celebrating religion and sacrilege, while Reason With Me is the heartbreaking story of a junkie who craves understanding. Tellingly, the only non-original song is a cover of John Grant’s gay anthem Queen of Denmark, in which O’Connor assumes the persona of the wounded and snarling protagonist to devastating effect.
Most importantly, this new record rightly re-establishes Sinead O’Connor as an astonishing vocal talent. It obviously helps that she has cultivated the image of a devil in angel’s clothing, but if that is the way to set hairs on end and send spines a’tingling, then so be it.