October 19, 1992 12:00 PM

Sinéad O’Connor

Her first two fresh and original albums had intensity, bile and wit. This album has a concept instead. “These are the songs I grew up listening to,” she has explained. “They are the songs that made me want to be a singer.” Unfortunately she sings them as if she were still a little girl daydreaming in her room in Ireland.

The listless big-band arrangements would put most children, not to mention adults, asleep. She drifts through the vocals, her voice often just a breathy whisper. The flat, affectless “I Wanna Be Loved by You” (immortalized by Marilyn Monroe) is outdulled by her “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and a soggy, silly, endless “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” The songs don’t cohere as a group either, don’t amplify and complement each other.

The only time O’Connor seems to be anything but childlike is in her “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home,” first made popular by Loretta Lynn. One can only hope she goes back to writing her own songs or using those by people like Prince, whose work she has truly possessed in the past. (Ensign/Chrysalis)

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