Perhaps I’m in the minority here (and I’m sure you’ll tell me about it in the comments if I am) but I don’t think I’ve actually heard a Sinead O’Connor song since sneaking into my sister’s bedroom to steal her I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got tape in 1990. I always look at her the same way I look at another artist from roughly that same time period, Edie Brickell, who I know continued to work long after her initial brush with fame, but certainly not on anything that’s ever crossed my desk.
Over the past couple days, though, there’s been a little bit of talk about O’Connor’s forthcoming album, How ‘Bout I Be Me (And You Be You)?, which is currently streaming at NPR. There’s something almost Elvis Costello-ish about it: stately and shuffling, it has a traditional Celtic feel to it at times, but also a wider-reaching worldliness that feels far more welcoming than it should. The songs are rich and empowering, melodically strong and steadfast in their refusal to resort to clichés. O’Connor has a subtle sense of humor and a real knack for astute, plainspoken observations, along with a delivery that’s refreshingly unique and self-assured. I don’t know if there’s another record I’ve enjoyed more so far this year.