Album Review: Sinead O'Connor, 'How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?'

84 Billboard Rating

Sinead O'Connor
How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?
Producer: John Reynolds
Label: One Little Indian
Release Date: Feb. 21

With Sinéad O'Connor's propensity to generate sensational headlines, we sometimes forget just how exceptional and original of a singer/songwriter she can be. Her ninth studio album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, is a slap-upside-the-head reminder, a collection of heartfelt confessionals, evocative insights and provocative position statements. The lattermost is heard on the charged "Take Off Your Shoes" and hymn-like "V.I.P.," responses to the 2009 Murphy Report about child abuse in her native Ireland's Catholic school system. The opening "4th and Vine" gives us the lyrical image of O'Connor donning a pink dress and putting her hair up (as if) and getting married (well, OK . . .), while such tracks as "Old Lady," "The Wolf Is Getting Married" and "I Had a Baby" start softly and ultimately carry a big, rocking stick. A cover of John Grant's "Queen of Denmark" gives the set a requisite bit of nasty, but there's plenty of gentle positivity here-proof that good things can happen when we just let O'Connor be O'Connor.

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