I admit, like everyone else, I kind of figured that Sinead O’Connor was done. I had put her away with musicians that I would always love but from whom I didn’t expect too very much. Though, I was probably one of the twelve people who loved some of the songs from her album Theology, out in 2007. In particular, the song “Something Beautiful” has become one of my all-time favorites — though for some reason I associate it with Christmas time, and always put it on my holiday mixes.
Wow, I’m off topic. This should come as no surprise to those who know me well. Let’s get back to what I really want to talk about, which is her latest, brilliant, wonderful album How About I Be Me (And You Be You). I’ve had the album on constant rotation since an acquaintance of mine (hi, Scott!) mentioned that he couldn’t stop listening to it. Apparently, ‘can’t stop listening to it’ is catching.
One of the main things I noticed about album, and the live performances coming out of it, was that she was in much better voice than I’d heard in recent years. Check out this lovely live performance of one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s an upbeat, beautiful song, and it fills me with happiness whenever I listen to it. I have actually cried thinking about the lyrics of this song. Um, that is because I’m a massive sap who is ridiculously lucky in my life, and I’m fully aware of it. So I am apt to cry, yes, from gratefulness and joy simply hearing this woman sing:
Your smile makes me smile
Your laugh makes me laugh
Your joy gives me joy
and your hope gives me hope
That’s relationship, and love, and live, and I look at my husband and my daughter and I get all teary about it. I hope you do, too. I hope that every last person reading this has someone in their life that they can look at and feel this way about. Because it’s beautiful and every single one of you deserve that with someone — with your child, your mother, your friend, your boyfriend. Someone.
The production of the album is also fantastic. This is probably best demonstrated on the song “Take Off Your Shoes“. But I’m only linking to it instead of posting it here, because the photograph used in the video is one from at least fifteen or twenty years ago, and it’s a pet peeve of mine to see new, awesome songs by aging female (or male) artists associated with older photographs, as though their aging appearance is unacceptable or a turn-off. But I know that’s just me. Regardless, if you want to hear a beautiful, powerful, spell-binding song with lovely production values click above.
Instead, let’s talk about the next song. The cover of “The Queen of Denmark” by John Grant. Here we have our pissed off Sinead, the one that no album by her would be complete without, but there’s something quite grown-up about this anger, even as it discusses doing something as immature as pissing in someone’s coffee. There’s just this world-weary attitude, this ‘been there, done this ten times’ feel to the anger that feels older to me, less like a person who is thrashing about in massive ‘victim’ mode, or whining that their life just isn’t what they want it to be. Instead, it’s got this legitimate, exhausted anger, and I love it. “Why don’t you take it out on somebody else? Why don’t you bore the shit out of someone else? Why don’t you tell somebody else that they’re selfish?” (Also, I’m not entirely sure that all of this is directed outward. I suspect that Sinead — and many of us — aim such horrible crap at ourselves on a pretty regular basis.)
The last one I’m linking in this blog post is “Old Lady” and it rivals “The Wolf Is Getting Married” for my favorite song on the album. There’s a lot of kind of creepy stalker lyrics in the verses, hahaha, but the chorus just makes me smile my damn head off. And, for some reason, I just kind of get over the stalker lyrics pretty quickly, because the fact is my husband makes me laugh like an idiot and so I get it, Sinead. I do.
I feel like I’ve failed utterly in explaining why this is a great album. It just is. Go buy it. You’ll probably end up listening to it way too much, just like I have.
Oh, and, uh, not from this album, but who wouldn’t love this version of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him“?
Sinead, I’m sorry I doubted you. You rule the world. Thank you for getting older and staying your bad-ass self. I love you.