Sinéad O’Connor has gained much notoriety throughout her 25-year career as the one woman you can entirely expect to stir things up. She has raised eyebrows over the years with her shaved pate, ordination as a priest, and extremely outspoken views varying from organized religion to women’s rights and child abuse. While she did see a short bout into retirement, following illness, she’s now on her third album since then, and with her latest release How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? she is nothing less than brilliant – as strong a woman and as strong a voice as you’ve ever heard.
The first single from the album, “The Wolf Is Getting Married,” begins quite somberly but unfolds into a joyous refrain, accepting that there is always a silver lining to the terrible times. But this isn’t the only track to burst with delight — “4th & Vine” sees Sinéad belting out a matrimonial lovesong, while “I Had a Baby” speaks of the joys of bearing an unexpected child and “Old Lady” finds the Irish singer carrying on with an unrequited love, looking forward to the day when the object of her affection will return her feelings.
Of course, O’Connor still has her somber side, and perhaps no song displays this better than “Reason with Me.” In this four-minute ballad, Sinéad sings from the standpoint of the thief, the junkie – alone in the world, choosing that life because it’s easier than risking losing someone. The chorus reaches out, the forlorn words almost asking for help: “I really want to mend my ways/ I’m gonna call that number one of these days/ It’s not too late/ I’m gonna reach a hand out to you/ … I don’t wanna waste the life God gave me.” In a world where so many onlookers only see the violent or depraved faces of an addiction, this track sheds light on the utter loneliness and despair normally hidden so carefully behind the façade of a “crazed druggie.”
How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? is O’Connor’s best album since 2000′s Faith and Courage, full of courage, fright, love, hate, and all of the singer’s bounteous charisma. Other tracks to check out include “Take off Your Shoes” (a religious outcry) and “Queen of Denmark” (her cover of the John Grant track).
Stream: Sinéad O’Connor – “Take off Your Shoes”
Stream: Sinéad O’Connor – “Queen of Denmark”
Stream: Sinéad O’Connor – “I Had a Baby”
Stream: Sinéad O’Connor – “The Wolf Is Getting Married”