Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#649 in the Series) is Sinéad O’Connor, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?
Simple question: Why should anyone, in 2012, care about a new Sinéad O’Connor album?
And the answer is, of course, because she’s still so damn good at making the things!
You could, of course, be forgiven for thinking otherwise though because when this lady makes the news pages these days it tends to be for non-musical reasons, the latest escapade being well documented. First she got married (for the fourth time) then announced her intention to file for a divorce mere days later, amid lurid tales of going out searching for drugs in Las Vegas. Or something. It’s hard to keep up! Now, someone of a suspicious or cynical nature may well speculate on just how convenient that whole story was, coming a mere month or so before the release of her new album. Hmmm……….
But no matter. What concerns us on these pages is the music and in that regard I’m happy to report that this time out she’s in fine form indeed, delivering as good an album as she’s made in years, since 2000′s “Faith & Courage” in fact (a fine and much under-appreciated album by the way).
It kicks off with “4th and Vine”, possibly the most upbeat tune on the album, downright jaunty in fact, a song detailing her joy and excitement about her upcoming wedding day and love for her man. A great start.
From there things slow down somewhat in tempo but certainly not in intensity.
As ever with Sinéad there are a few “issues” songs. She’s a passionate lady and unafraid to voice an opinion and say exactly what’s on her mind (just ask Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live if you don’t believe me! ). All of which comes through in her songs of course.
“Reason With Me” would appear to be about drug addiction and a plea for understanding towards those who are in the grip of it, even when they rob you! Maybe not a sentiment that too many would embrace warmly I grant you, but she’s well aware of this and cloaks the song in a quite wonderful musical setting to compensate. It’s a superb acoustic shuffle with an amazingly sad but beautiful piano figure all the way through, lovely.
There’s a truly amazing run of songs right in the middle of the album and I’m struggling to pick out favourites because the quality is so high. For now I’ll plump for “The Wolf Is Getting Married” which is just fantastic, a glorious celebration of life and being in love:
“The sun’s peeking out of the sky / where it used to be only grey……….. / your smile makes me smile /your joy gives me joy.”
There’s also a wonderful take on a song written by ex-The Czars singer John Grant, “Queen Of Denmark” and it’s easy to see why she would be drawn to his work, they share a similar aesthetic in their songwriting, raw and brave, songs in which the writer bares their soul to the world.
“(Who’s The Real) V.I.P.” is a spiritual ending and it’s a message to the modern world, a warning about how we are putting money, possessions and cheap celebrity above God and compassion and forgiveness, which can never really be a good thing.
I’m going to let you discover the rest for yourself, and i hope you do. Suffice to say that this is an astounding return to top form by a fantastic songwriter with a wonderful voice which is just as clear and strong as it’s ever been. I for one am hoping that it’s just a beginning…………more please!
- “4th And Vine” (O’Connor/Reynolds/Adams) – 3:58
- “Reason With Me” (O’Connor/Smith) – 4:02
- “Old Lady” (O’Connor/Pirroni/Constantinou)- 3:44
- “Take Off Your Shoes” (O’Connor/Reynolds) – 5:28
- “Back Where You Belong” (O’Connor) – 4:16
- “The Wolf Is Getting Married” (O’Connor/Pirroni/Constantinou/O’Neill) – 4:23
- “Queen of Denmark” (John Grant) – 4:37
- “Very Far From Home” (O’Connor) – 3:55
- “I Had A Baby” (O’Connor/Pirroni/Constantinou/O’Neill) – 4:11
- “V.I.P.” (O’Connor) – 6:36
- Sinéad O’Connor – vocals
- Justin Adams – guitar
- Kevin Armstrong – guitar
- Kenny Bogan – acoustic guitar on track 5
- Chris Constantinou – bass guitar
- Damien Dempsey – acoustic guitar on track 4
- Caroline Dale – cello
- Sam Dixon – bass guitar
- Clare Kenny – bass guitar
- Marco Pirroni – guitar
- John Reynolds – drums, piano on track 10
- Tim Vanderkuil – guitar
- Julian Wilson – keyboards
- Official Sinead O’Connor Website
- See our piece on I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
- See more albums from 2012
- Back to the Cool Album Home Page
Listen to the album below
Here’s more music that we’ve reviewed from 2012