Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sinéad O'Connor: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got [Chrysalis, 1990]
Without a doubt this is subtler and more durable than most slow, long-winded records, and half of it is terrific. She has her own sound, her simulated plainspeech strikes a blow for directness and honesty without committing her to any one thing, and if you think "Nothing Compares 2 U" cuts Taylor Dayne on the radio, wait till you hear "The Emperor's New Clothes" cut Aerosmith. Not since Patti Smith has anybody had a better chance of defining rock-not-pop in a specifically female way--she's just the right mess of emotion and savvy, crudity and sophistication, fury and independence and love. If there's anything that's older news than a 20-year-old who's angry at the world, it's a 23-year-old who's discovered life is worth living. But all that means is that if she can withstand the media flood, this won't be all that hard to top. How can she possibly know what she wants when she's only 23? B+