There aren't many singers who can open a song with "I wanted to change the world, but I could not even change my underwear..." and then a few minutes later - stop your giggling in its tracks by moving you to tears. But then Sinead O'Connor has always been impossibly special - and at times - a complete space cadet.
Newly signed to One Little Indian Records - 2012's "How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?" is a hugely accomplished record - and more importantly - it's a moving one.
The opening number is catchy enough - a clever ditty on marriage called "4th And Vine" (and a potential single), but the haunting "Reason With Me" is different. It's beautiful and its message about knowing that you need to seek help is incredibly moving (lyrics from it title this review). "Old Lady" grows on you like mad - an upbeat winner - as does "Take Off Your Shoes" with its religion and reverence. "Back Where You Belong" is properly great - a gorgeous melodious vocal with a drum rhythm that feels like a march towards something spiritual. It's followed by the joyful single "The Wolf Is Getting Married" (recently aired with such confidence on The Graham Norton Show on UK TV to a rapturous audience response). The witty and angry "Queen Of Denmark" (a John Grant cover from his album of the same name) has superlative lyrics (mentioned above) and is a blindingly good interpretation. It's followed by a powerhouse of hurt and longing called "Very Far From Home" where she pines with a stunning emotiveness "I long for you...see you in my dreams..." The last two tracks "I Had A Baby" and "V.I.P." suffer a little from being too preachy, but are powerful stuff nonetheless.
To sum up - like John Martyn, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Kate Bush and so many other great songwriters with brains and heart and the courage to wear their world on their sleeve for all of us to see - there is 'always' magic in their latest offering - that track that simply floors you - touches your soul even...
Well folks - Sinead O'Connor is back with an album chock full of them - and I'll openly admit that many of them left me in tears of admiration. "How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?" is a bit of a blinder frankly.
Way to go you gorgeous woman...
on 1 March 2012
There will be those devoted Sinéad O'Connor fans who purchase this cd because of their love for the artist. Some may have liked some of Sinead's work but haven't followed her may read online reviews and wonder if all of the lavish write ups are nothing more than undue hype and praise. I assure you, the lavish write ups are right on target.
I give this cd a five star rating because it really is that good. You know the kind of cd that you just want to keep playing over and over again. Well, for me that's a rare thing anymore. Too often these days, cd's are filled with a few good songs and the rest is mediocre filler. I can honestly say, there is nothing mediocre or filler on this entire cd. Each and every song is top notch quality.
There is truly a fire and passion on this cd. Sinead is really singing from the heart. Lyrically, it's an odd twist of playful sorts at times but that keeps light what is meant to be kept light. When she's digging deep, you really feel it.
The highlights for me would have to be 4th and Vine (hard to sit still for that song, great way to start off a disc), Reason With Me, Old Lady, The Wolf is Getting Married and Queen of Denmark. These songs easily match in quality with the great songs she's already made her mark with in the past 25 years. The songs all blend nicely and create a remarkable a balance that by the last song, you just want to put track 1 on and listen to the disc all over again. Yes, it's THAT good!
I wish the disc was a bit longer but had it been, there may have been unwanted filler to distract from the brilliance that lies within these 10 songs. Hands down my most favorite listening pleasure in a very long time. Though it perhpas feels like a cd she would have released after 'I Do Not Want..', it sounds as fresh and modern as anything else being released by her younger peers. Timeless indeed.
So, Sinéad fan new or old, or just searching for some addictive new music - you will most certainly not be disappointed. Cheers to Sinéad and her new release.
on 28 March 2012
Review originally published on [...]
When Sartre talked about the role of the intellectual and the artist with the world we live in, he was surely not imagining that the compromise with social causes and issues has become somehow selective depending on the artists. Some of them, no need to mention names, fight for peace, human rights, African famine, and so on. But of these little have some kind of opinion about the issues of the western world or their own countries. But we are lucky of having someone like Sinéad O'Connor, the brave singer who cared about the child sexual abuse by the church being at the highest point of her career. Her voice, strong as usual, powerful and full of emotions yield and cried reporting something that today has turned to be totally true. What should think those people in that concert who attacked her?
The easiest option would have been to disappear, but she is so strong that no one could silence her voice and even less the content of what she says, because the irish singer never speaks in vain. Her new album stands still close to compromise. The title, How About I Be Me (And You Be You) ? may refer to the non-stop attacks from the media about her private life, but I am not going to write about that matter, I'm going to take the question-title as an answer, and answer to those musical critics who are not able to look the other way, who are always labelling and who judge according to the stigmas they have created. The album is an answer not because its content, but because Sinéad is just Sinéad, one the most strongest and wonderful vocalist of our time, who still has a voice, and what a voice!
As usual, Sinéad O'Connor is able to reach the emotions as well as the notes, and able still to communicate with her audience the lyrics of her songs with the appropriate feeling. As a whole the album is maybe her best to date, full of honesty and talent, setting apart the musical merits which should be obvious to anyone who listens to it.
The opening track 4th and Vine is a pop-reggae song which talks about love, as many of the songs of this album. Reason with me introduce Sinéad playing the character of a junkie, and portrays his way out of the hell of drugs, sung with efficacy and with a sound background which marks a kind of coherence to the whole album, and remembers the sound of her firsts albums. Old Lady is a song of hope and friendship, where the lines "Make me laugh like and idiot/ Don't be so serious" are delivered in a way they reach our memory awakening our own hopes and fears.
OK, now is the time, you reader ask me what is wrong with this review? Why are you talking about hope and love in an album of Sinéad O'Connor? Yes, I'm talking about those because the album is a whole, as her, with its emotionally ups and downs, but still, a voice is not only the means for complain, it must be also the mean to touch our lives, to get to that place somewhere in our brains where they stay and they come out when you don't expect them to come back. But Sinéad's voice is more than that. What makes her unique is precisely the way she can hug compromise, emotion, rage and courage.
Take off your shoes is a song about faith and true religion, about how we can experience religion as something inside ourselves, and is a powerful criticism about the Catholic Church and the scandal about child sex abuse. All in all, Sinéad plays the character of the Holy Spirit answering to that fact to the Vatican. It's my favourite song of the album, because it plays with double meanings. Could we consider the children's bodies and dreams holy ground? I do. But there is something else, the song does not mention abuse neither rape, and can be interpreted as a complain against the Church, not only because what we know already about them, but also about other aspects of their politics and history which are totally reproachable. Her voice is at her best in this song and goes straight to the bone when she sings "I bleed the blood of Jesus over you". That blood that was suppose to redeem all of us, that blood that they have polluted into something else, something close to danger and wound.
Back where you belong is another character songs where Sinéad performs the letter of a father killed in war to his son, full of hope of pain, concealing the tone between the farewell and the wish of happiness. A song which works so well thanks to Sinéad's special talent for the detail.
The wolf is getting married is the chosen single of this album where almost all the songs could be a single. It is another love song, which title, as explained in the Limited Special Edition comes from something Sinéad listened to from a muslim drivers and which explains the phenomena when the sky is totally gray and you can see a bit of sun though it. Sinead uses the saying to build up a powerful hymn to ability of love of putting aside other problems and disasters, like the bit of hope we experience when watching that sunny speck over the grey clouds. Queen of Denmark is a cover of the amazing homonymous song by John Grant, and for me, it has been a bit disappointing, being the weakest point of the album although her version is able to re-work the song for her own voice and her own purposes, amplifying with rage the parts of the song where in the original there is irony and outburst.
And we reach now two songs that have a biographical background. The first one is the beautiful Very Far From Home which talks about loneliness and being far from what you love. The second one is another character's song, Sinéad disguises herself in the figure of a single mother who is afraid to tell the father the child is him, but which talks also about the difficulty of rising a child alone. In this song the single mother blames herself when she is supposedly questioned by the child about the father "but I had a baby so beautiful he, he's been the making of me".
In V.I.P. Sinéad sings about herself, about her voice and her compromise, and reports the indifference of those who are famous and a model of behaviour and hope for most people and who does not rise their voices to defend their audience, to change that world that seems impossible to change. This song is Sinéad herself, is the chronicle of her career, by explaining by normal V.I.P. do, she sets apart from them.
A masterpiece for many, many reasons. My only advice is give yourself the chance of listening to. And think about the topics she is touching here: love, universal love, war and its consequences, child sexual abuse, the role of the powerful, the role of the artists you admire, the loneliness, the happiness. Allow yourself to this reflection. Think what you could do when seeing injustices and cruel things around you, what you could say if someone else than those around you are paying attention.
Thanks God for the voice of Sinéad O'Connor.
on 10 May 2012
Sinead is generally thought of as someone a few pence short of a pound coin. Perhaps she is - and perhaps she has to be in order to put out an album like this. It's stunningly good in so many ways. Ten songs, all great, all sung so beautifully, and every one of them clicked with me immediately. It's all there emotionally - vulnerability, neediness, love, passion, anger, regret, and a few more besides. Everything felt by your average human! Every word Sinead sings can be clearly made out and sometimes her lyrics are so in your face that they make you wince. Literally. Brilliant stuff musically and lyrically. Your heart will be touched and your own emotions roused. Fully deserving of a 5 star review. A supremely talented lady.
on 15 April 2012
Sinead would never do an album that does not match its predecessor's honesty and magic, "How About I be Me And You Be You" is simply another master piece from a woman who could never get away from speaking the truth about the world, its dreams and its nightmares, its good and its evil; it was exciting to finally see "our woman" get back into her old style of music, mixing in one album, themes of love, God, existence, age, discrimination, fake people, etc.
Probably the best song on this album that reminds us of her early masterpieces like Troy and Fire On Babylon (which is a masterpiece that could never be repeated ever) is "Take Off Your Shoes", when she screams out: "You're running out of battery", telling everyone to wake up and get back to their faithful nature; Sinead in thus album makes her triumphant comeback, it is not an album that can be valued by its success as a chart topper, but rather as a collectible item that could stand the test of time, and show us that good talent is something that never fades with time, especially that this album marks the artist's 25 years in the music business, a career that had been filled with ups and downs, and after all these years Sinead has still kept her loyalty to her music and to her fans; showing the whole universe that she could still do it at 45 just like she did it when she was 20 years old with the same enthusiasm and energy, same golden voice, and the same unmatched creativity.
thank you Sinead for giving us this beautifully carved jewel among all the mess we are surrounded with these days int he music industry.