Some artists release their definitive album right out of the gates, only to fizzle and fade down the stretch. For other artists they spend an entire career making music with varied amounts of success only to wait for the stars to align just right for that career defining album to hit the streets. Case in point the new solo album from Susanna Hoffs.
Most would immediately argue that Hoffs, the former front-woman of 80's pop sensations The Bangles, has already had her career defining moments ten times over with her former group. Fair enough. 1986's Different Light album went to #2 on the U.S. charts and its 1988 follow-up, Everything, peaked at #15. Five singles over a four-year span cracked the Top 5 in the U.S. alone. There's no denying the profound influence that Hoff's former band has had on the pop music landscape as it sits today. But it could also be argued that The Bangles (and even Hoffs herself) never released an album as beautiful, as personal and as potent as Hoffs' most recent solo effort, Someday.
This is not to discount any of her previous work. Someday is just that good. The ten songs on this album are 60's influenced pop hearkening back to all the great female voices of a generation before Hoffs first became a regular visitor in everyone's living room on MTV. The album fluctuatues between a Spector-like Wall of Sound and more introspective moments. But the best instrument of them all is Hoffs herself. That voice. That beautiful, beautiful voice, dripping with honey and sunshine even on the gloomiest of days. She was never as sultry sounding as say Dusty Springfield, nor was she ever as innocent sounding as say, Joni Mitchell. Her voice always lay somewhere in that range of the girl next door that seemed so charming and alluring, yet so mysterious and even a little dangerous at the same time.
It's hard to believe that there was a 16 year gap between solo albums but the wait was worth it. Someday provides the perfect stage for some of her best moments as a professional singer/songwriter. Tracks like "One Day" and "Raining" are some of the best pop songs you'll hear right now and stand tall against all the great singles her former band produced. The latter of which should be tearing up the charts since this album's release last Summer if radio stations knew what the hell good pop music sounded like.
The hope here is that Hoffs eventually takes this album on the road. The chance to hear this material in the live setting with a full band behind her would be one not to pass up. In the interim we'll have to "settle" for Someday through headphones, which is like "settling" for chocolate cake when you've run out of ice cream. I highly recommend you spend the next three minutes of your life taking in the video for the track "Picture Me".