How About I Be Me (and You Be You)?

"I bleed the blood of Jesus over you," declares Sinéad O'Connor on "Take Off Your Shoes," a gospel-rock indictment targeting the recent Catholic Church child-abuse scandals. From a singer who tore up the pope's photo on Saturday Night Live and who tends to get filed under "bat-shit crazy," the viscera isn't surprising. What may be is the empathy, wit and beauty on this focused LP. The naughty reggae-folk "4th and Vine" channels the Dixie Cups' "Going to the Chapel," and "Queen of Denmark" is a wickedly hilarious lover's rant. On the power ballad "I Had a Baby," O'Connor cops, "I was always crazy" – true, perhaps. But it's a condition still fueling fierce art.

Listen to "Take Off Your Shoes":

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