Thursday, February 23, 2012

This New Sinéad O’Connor Album is Worth It!

She's still got it! Some lines from my PopMatters review of How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? that I enjoyed writing:

Good Lord, there are moments here as bloodcurdling as anything she’s ever done.

But O’Connor doesn’t settle for [Tori] Amos’s quiet creepiness—she embodies the avenging Spirit, building and building in intensity, multitracking the different timbres of her voice into a caterwaul that combines the best elements of an air raid siren and a slap in the face.

What’s happening is that O’Connor the lyricist is getting better and better at apparent artlessness. Much like John Lennon on Double Fantasy or Lou Reed on New Sensations, O’Connor writes songs that seem like simple conduits for her personality. Her lyrics don’t put on airs and they invite derision. She writes lines that nobody aiming for the Great Irish Songbook would ever allow themselves. So, you know, her Holy Spirit really digs Energizer commercials.

But the more desperately she clings to the promise of eternal bliss, the more poignant her songs become.

Fortunately for Sinéad the songwriter, she’s working with Sinéad the vocalist, who possesses a divine gift: on any given note, she can choose from four or five different voices, all unmistakably Sinéad. Multitudes of multitudes! She moves from whispers to bleats and back again, sometimes within the same syllable.

There’s hardly anything in the way of riffs or solos, nothing to distract from the tumbling cascades of Sinéads.

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