While many will have enjoyed Sinéad O’Connor’s recent schooling of snot-nosed pup and bad advert for young women in music Miley Cyrus, few will have given a second thought to what she’s been doing in her own musical career.
I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss
Although she’s worked consistently in recent years, her name has only usually surfaced in an above-the-radar context when a bold statement has been made or a salacious personal detail picked up on.
Oddly, for the work of a woman who seems so bold and forthright, this record is one which mostly plays to the consensus, a procession of jolly country rockers in the main.
It will perhaps be most pleasing to those fans who feel closest to O’Connor the person and hang on her words, for it’s in the lyrics that it’s most notable. The opening How About I Be Me (And You Be You) balances this tension, its pleasant mid-paced tones referring to a woman who’s “always gotta be the lioness” imploring someone unnamed to “don’t stop me talkin’ ‘bout love”.
In its naked desire for male affection it doesn’t exactly come across as stridently feminist, although other references to a male other may be religious in nature, such as he who “has my love in the palm of his hand” in Dense Water Deeper Down.
The best feature of both O’Connor’s voice and her muse throughout is this tension between the sexual (the overwhelming come-on of Kisses Like Mine) and the spiritual (Take Me To Church’s easily confused meaning), and while it was ever thus there’s a greater experience here which lends richness to these songs, from the balladeering mantra The Vishnu Room to the Seun Kuti-featuring Afro-country of James Brown. David Pollock