Sophie Hawkins
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Tongues And Tails , 6/10
Whaler , 5/10
Timbre , 6/10

Sophie Hawkins, ex attrice performance di Manhattan, cui Tongues And Tails (Columbia, 1992), e in particolare l'hit Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover, e` contrassegnato da una superproduzione quasi da synth-pop, da ritmi etnici e dal suo mezzosoprano caramelloso, un incrocio fra Laura Nyro e Stevie Nicks, ma soprattutto da una sessualita` disinibita alla Madonna. Le dense architetture di Carry Me e Mysteries We Understand nascondono anche una profonda sensibilita` femminile.

La Ballad Of Sleeping Beauty, dal successivo Whaler, e` un fedele auto-ritratto di questa sfrontata seduttrice.

Sophie Hawkins, a former theater actress and performance artist with an education in jazz and african percussion, started playing the Manhattan clubs in the late 1980s, with a provocative and rebellious persona clearly inspired by sex-liberated Madonna.

Tongues And Tails (Columbia, 1992) continues her fusion of rock and funk and latin and jazz. The main difference is that Hawkins is a real musician, who can program and arrange her own music. She relies on acrobatic polyrhithms and on atmospheric electronic keyboards in a personal manner that Madonna could never conceive and that recalls the most melodramatic excesses of synthpop. Her sugary mezzosoprano, halfway between Laura Nyro and Stevie Nicks, drives the sensual odes of Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover, her first hit, California Here I Come, Before I Walk On Fire. The busy harmonies of Carry Me and Mysteries We Understand hide a disturbed feminine sensibility.

On Whaler (Columbia, 1994) Hawkins shows a far more calculating approach to music. While Hawkins is still original in the way she packages her songs, the hit As I Lay Me Down is conventional high-tech rhythm and blues of the 1990s. But the slow Ballad Of Sleeping Beauty is the best self-portrait of this unrepentant seducer.

Hawkins returned after a long hiatus with Timbre (Columbia, 1999 - Rykodisc, 2000), an album that sounds almost baroque and that frequently adopts a robotic/electronic stance. Catchy and sumptuous, Walking In My Blue Jeans (originally titled Strange Thing), Bare The Weight Of Me, Mmm My Best Friend and I Walk Alone could make Jane Siberry envious. Propelled by poignant lyrics, her smoky voice resonates deep inside long after the music has done its job of blowing an ethereal breeze of melancholia. Ebullient strings endanger the frail 32 Lines and The Darkest Childe, and The One You Have Not Seen disappears in a musical black hole, but overall the balance between arrangement, voice and text is impeccable.

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