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Sinéad O'Connor

How About I Be Me (And You Be You?)

Sinéad O'Connor
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. The fantastic rockabilly-tinged opener, "4th and Vine," promises she's going to put her pink dress on and "marry my love/and we'll be happy for all time." The happiness is short-lived, however, moving into the devastating "Reason With Me," where she pleads, "I don't want to waste the life God gave me/It's not too late to save me." The confessions keep coming, offering enough material to keep armchair psychoanalysts busy for days. But that doesn't mean one should ignore the music. O'Connor doesn't always make terribly accessible pop rock songs, but they are catchy and crafted with wit and purpose, such as "Take Off Your Shoes," which is at turns snarling and ethereal, picking up momentum with the kinds of pulsing drums that elevated Lykke Li's last effort. There's no doubt that O'Connor's talent is often eclipsed by her personal drama. As of this writing, she's lying low following another suicide attempt and a stint in rehab. But her talent is so vivid here; it's visceral, raw and painful. When her remarkable voice soars on anthem "The Wolf is Getting Married," it's impossible not to invest in O'Connor's simple, sweet, impulsive dream that maybe love can conquer all, even the worst of her many demons. (One Little Indian/Universal)
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