I’ve been listening to I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss by Sinead O’Connor before I’m overwhelmed by comments and misguided reviews. Of those, I’ve read a few. Some spoke of a new maturity while others toyed with the notion of Sinead, the auteur, creating ‘characters’ with and about whom she can spin tales of forlorn romance, wanton abandon, dutiful devotion, self loathing, seduction, fear, horror, vindictiveness, persecution and adulterous husbands. Funnily, I’ve known all these Sinead’s, just as I’ve known, as many others have, the funny Sinead, the devoted mother, Sinead as well as Sinead, the incisive analyst.
This album is Faith and Courage, Part II. Fourteen years later, she’s still a woman with an aching need to love and be loved. So far, so simple, you might think until you hear of her desire to be a dutiful wife, washing, cooking and even, gasp, baking, for her man. Then she wants to be a slut, have a mad night out and be the seductress of young men and adulterous husbands. Cleverly, she has spoken of writing about ‘characters’, where she has taken the ‘I’ of old and replaced it with the third person. Make a Fool of Me All Night, one of the extra tracks in the De Luxe version is Sinead, the lover, in full flight, locking the door and the world outside and giving in to the abandonment she craves. People don’t see the humour and self deprecation in Sinead and her music. They only see the hurt. If you look for that here, you’ll find it, too. It’s in the love songs, too but it’s obvious in 8 Good Reasons and even more obvious in ‘Harbour’, which, if you reflect on it, conjures disturbing images.
I’ve always rated Faith and Courage as one of Sinead’s strongest albums and this album has all its strengths and more, particularly a musical relationship with John Reynolds, her long time musical and personal collaborator, that has matured into an innate understanding.