Sinead O'Connor performing at Zaragoza in Spain.Courtesy Juan Antonio Perez Vela / Demotix / Corbis
Sinead O'Connor performing at Zaragoza in Spain.Courtesy Juan Antonio Perez Vela / Demotix / Corbis

Album review: Sinéad O’Connor - I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss



Sinéad O’Connor

I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss

(Nettwerk)

Four stars

It’s not easy being a Sinead O’Connor fan.

Part of the price of following the mercurial Irish singer is that you have to be, at best, willing to accept her musical wanderings.

As an example of the 47-year-old's adventurism, the past 15 years have seen her release a solid pop album (Faith and Courage in 2000), covers of traditional Irish folk songs (2002's Sean-Nós Nua), a reggae collection (2005's Throw Down Your Arms) and a set of spiritual waltz tunes (2007's Theology), before going back to the direct sincerity of her classic 1980s period with How About I Be Me (And You Be You) in 2012.

Strangely, another change of direction is not on display here with her latest release I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss. Her 10th album basically picks up where the previous one left off in that it's another collection of straightforward songs that are heavy on hooks.

The opener How About I Be Me – the title even pays homage to her previous release – has a sense of beginning. The gentle wash of keyboards recalls an image of a sunrise, before O'Connor arrives over a gentle digital drum beat to announce "I wanna be a real full woman".

The energy picks up steadily in the twangy Dense Water Deeper Down, the first of a handful of tracks showcasing I'm Not Bossy's bluesy and country flavours. O'Connor is positively charming here – she harmonises over herself and the track hits that sweet spot where melody and poignancy meet.

She turns rocker in Kisses Like Mine, the track reaching smouldering levels when she croaks "See, I'm special forces/They call me in after divorces/To lift you up" over gnarly riffs. The album's big winners are found in the second half.

Harbour may initially sound like a gentle piano-led lament, however it steadily builds to explode into a raging rocker – that moment when the guitars crash through and O'Connor's voice transforms from ache to roar is hair-raising stuff.

The afrobeat saxophonist Seun Kuti guests in the funky James Brown – which, ironically, sounds more like a tribute to the Bee Gees.

The single Take Me to Church would be a fine radio hit if the lyrics didn't sound like a fiery inner monologue.

The album ends in the solemn contemplation that is Street Cars – the glockenspiels chime as O'Connor comes to terms with love and vulnerability: "There's no safety to be acquired/riding streetcars named "desire'".

The hunger, the pain, the passion is all here. Nearly 30 years on, O’Connor is still a boss.

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Akeed

Based: Muscat

Launch year: 2018

Number of employees: 40

Sector: Online food delivery

Funding: Raised $3.2m since inception

Brahmastra: Part One - Shiva

Director: Ayan Mukerji

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Retirement funds heavily invested in equities at a risky time

Pension funds in growing economies in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East have a sharply higher percentage of assets parked in stocks, just at a time when trade tensions threaten to derail markets.

Retirement money managers in 14 geographies now allocate 40 per cent of their assets to equities, an 8 percentage-point climb over the past five years, according to a Mercer survey released last week that canvassed government, corporate and mandatory pension funds with almost $5 trillion in assets under management. That compares with about 25 per cent for pension funds in Europe.

The escalating trade spat between the US and China has heightened fears that stocks are ripe for a downturn. With tensions mounting and outcomes driven more by politics than economics, the S&P 500 Index will be on course for a “full-scale bear market” without Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts, Citigroup’s global macro strategy team said earlier this week.

The increased allocation to equities by growth-market pension funds has come at the expense of fixed-income investments, which declined 11 percentage points over the five years, according to the survey.

Hong Kong funds have the highest exposure to equities at 66 per cent, although that’s been relatively stable over the period. Japan’s equity allocation jumped 13 percentage points while South Korea’s increased 8 percentage points.

The money managers are also directing a higher portion of their funds to assets outside of their home countries. On average, foreign stocks now account for 49 per cent of respondents’ equity investments, 4 percentage points higher than five years ago, while foreign fixed-income exposure climbed 7 percentage points to 23 per cent. Funds in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are among those seeking greater diversification in stocks and fixed income.

• Bloomberg

THREE POSSIBLE REPLACEMENTS

Khalfan Mubarak
The Al Jazira playmaker has for some time been tipped for stardom within UAE football, with Quique Sanchez Flores, his former manager at Al Ahli, once labelling him a “genius”. He was only 17. Now 23, Mubarak has developed into a crafty supplier of chances, evidenced by his seven assists in six league matches this season. Still to display his class at international level, though.

Rayan Yaslam
The Al Ain attacking midfielder has become a regular starter for his club in the past 15 months. Yaslam, 23, is a tidy and intelligent player, technically proficient with an eye for opening up defences. Developed while alongside Abdulrahman in the Al Ain first-team and has progressed well since manager Zoran Mamic’s arrival. However, made his UAE debut only last December.

Ismail Matar
The Al Wahda forward is revered by teammates and a key contributor to the squad. At 35, his best days are behind him, but Matar is incredibly experienced and an example to his colleagues. His ability to cope with tournament football is a concern, though, despite Matar beginning the season well. Not a like-for-like replacement, although the system could be adjusted to suit.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Hydrogen: Market potential

Hydrogen has an estimated $11 trillion market potential, according to Bank of America Securities and is expected to generate $2.5tn in direct revenues and $11tn of indirect infrastructure by 2050 as its production increases six-fold.

"We believe we are reaching the point of harnessing the element that comprises 90 per cent of the universe, effectively and economically,” the bank said in a recent report.

Falling costs of renewable energy and electrolysers used in green hydrogen production is one of the main catalysts for the increasingly bullish sentiment over the element.

The cost of electrolysers used in green hydrogen production has halved over the last five years and will fall to 60 to 90 per cent by the end of the decade, acceding to Haim Israel, equity strategist at Merrill Lynch. A global focus on decarbonisation and sustainability is also a big driver in its development.