Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ecclesiologist Rev. Sinead O’Connor at prayer

John J. Thompson, one of the best music critics ever, on the new  Sinead O' Connor album..excerpts:

Singer, priest, boss: the latest from Sinead O’Connor by John J. Thompson

Is it a coincidence that Irish alt-rock pioneer Sinead O’Connor has released a song called 
 “Take Me To Church” just as fellow Irish singer-songwriter Hozier is making waves with 
 a song of the same name?

....When she belts out “Oh, take me to church / I’ve done so many bad things it hurts. / Take me to church, but not the ones that hurt / ’cuz that ain’t the truth / and that’s not what it’s for,” it feels much more like a prayer than an accusation.

On her new album, I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss, O’Connor continues the comeback she began with 2012’s confessional, guttural and blatantly Christ-haunted How About I Be Me (And You Be You?)...

..the songs that follow underscore the truth that there is a lot more to womanhood than being with a man. The album’s journey unfolds through several musical iterations that include snarling rock, sensitive pop and even African rhythm and blues until taking a left turn in the song “The Voice of My Doctor,” which begins a set of edgier, darker tunes exploring the true underpinnings of desire. That act climaxes with the fantastic shuffle “8 Good Reasons,” in which her character defies suicidal thoughts and turns yet another corner. It is at that point that she begs, “Take me to church!”...

...As many contemporary artists reject their connection to a community of faith when its leaders make bad choices or its message becomes unpalatable to the rest of the world, O’Connor continues to call herself a Catholic despite her deep disagreements she has with many in that community. When she speaks about the “smoke screen” role religion often plays in keeping people apart from God, her words come across with the authority of a boss and the compassion of a big sister.

I’m Not Bossy is a fascinating set of tunes from one of the most consistently creative artists of the last 25 years. The fact that so many of its songs fade out before really feeling finished reinforces the idea that this discussion is far from over.

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