Well, Sinéad O’Connor is well and truly back.
The church still doesn’t want to her preaching from their pulpits but we welcome her once more to her rightful position of the High Priestess of Irish Pop Music with open arms.
If 2012’s accomplished ‘How About I Be Me (And You Be You)’ was O’Connor’s way of dispelling the clouds of controversy that have pursued her doggedly these past few years, then ‘I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss’ is all blue skies.
This, her 10th studio album marking her 30th year in music, is a real all-guns-blazing return to form. In fact, it feels almost like a retaliation from the troublesome years she has endured and Sinead is packing an arsenal of great pop songs.
Like most of great pop music, thematically the album focuses on different aspects of love and lust. However, according to O’Connor herself, this album is not autobiographical (except for opening track How About I Be Me).
If this is the case, taking a step back from her work and keeping her musical affairs less personal really seems to be working out.
Her voice remains distinctive and untarnished by the years and she uses her iconic emotion-infused breathy vocals and impassioned howls in equal measure. It’s just disappointing that result of the occasional heavy handed production of said vocal work seems damaging rather than complimentary.
One of our favourite tracks, The Voice of My Doctor sees O’Connor as she appears on the album cover, a ballsy, PVC-clad rock ‘n’ roll mistress channelling the disgust of a lover scorned through her blazing vocal. Harbour begins life in the same vein, a gentle melody that explodes into a squall of noise, spitting fire and brimstone and taking no prisoners.
She’s no one trick pony either. James Brown (featuring Seun Kuti, son of afrobeat pioneer Femi Kuti) sees O’Connor flirting with funk and is guaranteed to set hips atwitch.
Lead single Take Me To Church is one of a pair of very fine recent Irish releases which share that same title. This perfect pop song is a solid story of redemption that’s real earworm material.
As a body of work, ‘I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss’ is simple, well considered album with a real sense of perspective. We’re really looking forward to a live airing of these songs at this weekend’s Electric Picnic.