Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Feeling Good: After a Year of Revealing Tweets and Racy Blogposts, Firebrand Sinead O'Connor Is Holding Nothing Back on Her New Record, Her Ninth Studio Album in an Unconventional 25-Year Career

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Feeling Good: After a Year of Revealing Tweets and Racy Blogposts, Firebrand Sinead O'Connor Is Holding Nothing Back on Her New Record, Her Ninth Studio Album in an Unconventional 25-Year Career

Article excerpt

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"WITH HER DOE EYES, close-cropped hair, and perennially otherworldly appearance, Sinead O'Connor today looks very much the woman she was at 23, when her fearless rendering of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" lit up MTV for months in 1990. She looks the same, save for a few wrinkles and a couple of pounds, all doubtless the result of raising four kids, enduring three divorces, and speaking out earnestly for more than two decades under the harshest media spotlight.

But when O'Connor begins to sing, "If I love someone / I might lose someone," as she does in "Reason With Me," a track from her new album, it is as if time melts away. Sure, she's made headlines by talking of suicide, bashing politicos, and searching for marijuana on the night of her most recent wedding, but ironically, when she belts out that sparse and haunting song about addiction, O'Connor seems like a woman who finally has it all together. The song, she says, isn't about her. It's about someone she knows or, rather, an amalgamation of people she knows.

This record's slightly different," she says of the album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? The album varies from her previous recordings, not in melody (in fact, one of the standouts, "Take Off Your Shoes," has the fire and clarity of one of her best early songs, "Mandinka") but lyrically, in that much of the music was not based on her own experiences. "I don't know why it happened, it's pure accident. I think it's because maybe I've dumped off a lot emotionally already, singing all over the world for 20-something years. So I got to a point where I had to write songs from a different place inside myself. Once I finished having to write songs for the purpose of healing myself necessarily, I began to be able to write songs about other shit, other people."

The new album was originally titled Home, but after a very public year, O'Connor realized the name needed to change. The musician had been particularly visible, writing about sex and relationships on her personal blog with such frankness that she garnered thousands of fans who weren't familiar with her before.

An unfiltered O'Connor has blossomed in social media. "I was trying to get in touch with that part of me, actually. Perhaps it is easier just to share who the real you is nowadays because you can do shit like Twitter and blogging and everything." For O'Connor, this meant spending a lot of 2011 talking about sex, a topic that's still rather taboo in her home country. This new platform brought out some critics in the Irish media who attacked her for humorously discussing anal sex, masturbation, and her theory on how mandatory interracial sex could solve racism in Ireland.

When did she decide that it was OK to just be herself? "I was 44," laughs the 45-year-old crooner.

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"It was actually as a result of writing those articles about sex ... and people's response to it," she says. "I had another title for the album originally, but when I was dealing with all of that, I was lying in bed at night and it just seemed to cross my mind. I am just [tired] of opinions of what one should be and one shouldn't fucking be, you know? And everyone's busy ramming them down your throat and no one knows how to be themselves, and I'm figuring, well, there can't be any harm here [in being myself]. …

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