A decade of inconsistent, spotty, or simply confusing output from iconic Irish singer/songwriter Sinéad O'Connor was redeemed with 2012's refreshingly focused and honest effort How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? That album saw O'Connor effortlessly creating the same type of emotionally charged yet easily melodic fare that constituted her earliest, most popular work, and positioned her for a graceful return to form. Two years later, I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss follows the impassioned pop framework of its immediate predecessor, branching out into even more vivid stylistic dimensions and retaining all the energy, controversy, and fire that have come to define O'Connor as both a musician and a political figure. Taken at face value, the songs here are vibrant and multifaceted. The album opens with a song that curiously shares a title with the record that came right before this one, a smooth alt-pop production about desire and a quest for sweetness, driven by a melancholic chord progression and multi-tracked vocals of soft, swaying harmonies. A blues structure guides tracks like the country-flavored twang of "Dense Water Deeper Down" as well as the shuffling, heavy guitars of "The Voice of My Doctor." Saxophonist Seun Kuti shows up for a guest spot on the snaky funk of "James Brown" and Brian Eno is also somewhere on the album adding synth textures in a way no one else can. When Sinéad switches into a pop mode, the results are buoyant and beautiful, as with the yearning sentiments and hooky chorus of "Your Green Jacket" or the strident, building guitar pop of "Take Me to Church." Circumstances outside of the recording studio creep into I'm the Boss. Though none of the songs overtly address the issue, the months leading up to this album saw O'Connor writing an open letter to Miley Cyrus warning her of the exploitive nature of the music industry waiting to chew her up and spit her out as she spun out into an increasingly cartoonish public persona. Cyrus responded with aloof sarcasm and distance, picking at O'Connor's issues with shaky mental health and possibly missing the point that someone who experienced the slippery road of stardom before her could offer a valuable perspective. Instead of choosing to fire off against Miley in a venomous diss track, O'Connor turns her gaze inward, reasserting how problematic the music industry can be on "8 Good Reasons" with lines like "You know, I love to make music/But my head got wrecked by the business." Despite the controversies that have swarmed around her since the beginning, unfriendly or unfair press, and a history of musical wandering that fans couldn't fully get behind, Sinéad has rarely catered to anyone. That I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss continues a string of strong, entirely enjoyable releases is a bonus for Sinéad's audience, but as evidenced by liner notes that proclaim "this album is dedicated to me," she's still doing it for no one but herself.
Performance CreditsSinéad O'Connor Primary Artist,Vocals
Caroline Dale Cello
Brian Eno Keyboards
Graham Henderson Keyboards
Tim Oliver Keyboards
John Reynolds Drums,Keyboards
Brooke Supple Acoustic Guitar
Clare Kenny Bass
Seun Kuti Saxophone,Guest Appearance
Ruby Reynolds Piano
Technical CreditsGraham Henderson Composer
Sinéad O'Connor Composer
Justin Adams Composer
Rupert Cobb Trumpet Arrangement
Graham Bolger Engineer,Vocal Engineer
John Reynolds Programming,Producer
Graham Kearns Composer
Fred Gibson Trumpet Arrangement
Ruby Reynolds Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I¿m Not Bossy, I¿m the Boss based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Rock icon Sinead O'Connor and her collaborators have created a massive, brilliant musical concept album. It's quintessential Sinead: sensual, powerful, loud, soft--but this time there's a good dose of playfulness and romanticism. 'How About I Be Me' is a beautiful R&B proclamation of confidence. 'Dense Water Deeper Down' is a country-flavored crowd pleaser that should be played at bars everywhere. 'Harbour' is a slow burning epic that explodes out of the speakers--should appease fans of her early work and fans of modern metal. 'James Brown' deserves to be played at the club on the weekends; those unfamiliar with Sinead being capable of getting down should be surprised. '8 Good Reasons', one of the few autobiographical songs on the album, is a catchy anthem for keeping on in the face of adversity. Every song is a strong piece of work. Some may have issue with the popular decision to layer her vocals, as opposed to letting her singular voice shine on its own, but all in all the album is a Grammy worthy work of art. If you're ready to stop letting the mainstream tell you what to like and to remember what music and singing and songwriting used to be--please check out Sinead O'Connor's very accessible album. If you like what you hear, disregard All Music Guide's standard disregard of most of O'Connor's earlier work and check them all out, most notably How About I Be Me (and You Be You)?, Universal Mother, Throw Down Your Arms, and Sean-Nos Nua.