Sinead O’Connor is one of my heroes for the exact reason a lot of people hate her – for being an unapologetic messed-up crazy bitch. But though I admire that she sacrificed a hot career to go about the business of being her crazy self, it’s been a loss to fans. She certainly lost commercial appeal after the whole Pope incident and the craziness that followed after, and amid all that her work suffered as well. No one paid her any attention except to laugh at whatever personal crisis she was going through. That couldn’t have been exactly fruititious for her as an artist. After Universal Mother came out to little fanfare in 1994, it was as if O’Connor’s muse had abandoned her. She would periodically release an album, but usually it was something weird, like Burning Spear covers or – God almighty! – Irish folk songs. None of those albums were bad listening – O’Connor’s voice hadn’t gone anywhere – but neither did any of them burn the way her early work had. It felt like her passion was elsewhere, and she’s gone through a lot between her fame years and today. O’Connor’s mind has been on raising her children, struggling with her faith and identity, all things everyone goes through, but in her case wrought in public to much humiliation. When she contributed this haunting vocal to Moby’s album 18 in 2002, it was the widest audience she’d sang to in a decade. It wasn’t exactly a comeback, but I think it did remind listeners of O’Connor’s talents. Moby was at the height of his prime, and he should be thanked for bringing O’Connor back into the world’s eye for her music, not her adventures jumping in and out of the closet. O’Connor has released a new album this year, her most fierce and irreverent since probably before she was famous. Unfortunately, fate got in the way of O’Connor’s being able to publicize it the normal way, through touring and television. The release of coincided with the breakup of yet another relationship and a serious nervous breakdown for O’Connor, who tweeted desperately about her suicidal feelings and begged followers to recommend her a doctor. Needless to say, she had to cancel her plans to tour. A loss for fans, but a necessity for her health. All of which drama has once again overshadowed the music itself. Show some support and buy How About I Be Me (and You Be You)? – it’s Sinead O’Connor’s best work since Universal Mother.