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How can a personality as big and volatile as Sinéad O’Connor’s be contained in the brief confines of a song? It’s a problem the Irish singer has struggled with throughout her career, from apotheosis with her Prince-penned 1990 hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” (whose title casts an ironic shadow over the rest of her songs) to her bold but fitful subsequent passage through Celtic folk, reggae and pop.

I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss – named after Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s campaign to ban the use of the term “bossy” in relation to girls – is hamstrung by the mismatch between O’Connor’s forceful presence and the uneventful music trailing behind her. Mid-tempo rock predominates, a dull chug that fails to live up to declarations like “I love you more than I have ever loved a man” while fleeting glimpses of the sort of power O’Connor can achieve – as on the unsettlingly direct “8 Reasons”, her tone at once angry and vulnerable as she recounts past wrongs suffered – only add to the frustration.

Sinéad O’Connor

I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss

(Nettwerk)

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