Sophie B. Hawkins "The Crossing"
On first listen, none of the seventeen tracks here jumped out and grabbed me. Numerous hearings later and this is still the case. In eight years out of the limelight Sophie B. Hawkins has moved on at the expense, it seems, of her music.
The banality of Hawkins’ contemplations of life and love is matched by the underwhelming AOR style production which brings to mind eighties night on Magic FM. From the political media war inspired opener “Betcha Got a Cure For Me” to the collection of acoustic and demo versions of previous tracks and former glories, it’s clear that it’s going to be a long and insipid couple of hours.
On the plus side Hawkins’s voice is, as ever, superb. When murmuring soothing ballads such as the sultry jazz tinged “Dream St and Chance” she brings Chicago to your living room and in the throes of passion her rasping overtones take us as close as we will ever get to Janis Joplin again. Unfortunately a strong voice does not an artist make, and 'The Crossing' is below the standard that she set in her chart topping nineties heyday. Hawkins’ has had a turbulent past and largely triumphed in the face of adversity. However there is a feeling that this album is more a confrontation of personal and political conflicts than a tribute to musical progression.