Checking In With Sinead O'Connor

On her raw new LP, music as therapy and worshipping Dylan

February 20, 2012 12:00 PM ET
Sinead O'Connor attends the 'Albert Nobbs' soundtrack release party at Palihouse in West Hollywood.
Sinead O'Connor attends the 'Albert Nobbs' soundtrack release party at Palihouse in West Hollywood.
David Livingston/Getty Images

After a five-year break from recording, Sinéad O'Connor is back with her strongest album in years, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? "I'd prefer to call it How About I Be Me and You Fuck Off," says the Irish singer, "but Walmart wouldn't stock us."

Hard Times It's been a tough winter for O'Connor, who wed fourth husband Barry Herridge in a quickie Las Vegas ceremony in December, split with him after two weeks (they later reconciled) and reportedly attempted suicide in January. "I'm really unwell and in danger," she wrote on Twitter. But she seems to be feeling much better now. Says the singer, "Music is therapy."

Mixing It Up The tunes on How About I Be Me showcase O'Connor's range – from "4th and Vine," a pretty folk-rock love song, to "Reason With Me," a harrowing junkie confession. "I only write very rarely, but these came from a concentrated time of writing," she says. "There are some romantic songs, there are some character songs and there are songs which are more spiritualized and more politicized."

What About Bob? O'Connor's website features a "Letters to Bob Dylan" section where she airs her thoughts about her all-time favorite musician ("Despite your main feature being sexeliciousness, you're also not a bad oul' sayer of songs"). "I'm sure he doesn't bother reading my bloody website, but it's important to thank the man," she says. "He didn't give a shit what people thought, and early on he was good at tuning out his critics. Whereas I'm a fucking idiot, and it's taken me 25 years."

This story is from the March 1st, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone

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