After eight years, Sophie B Hawkins finally releases some new music, but The Crossing isn’t exactly a dramatic comeback of an album. It’s a mellow, laid-back collection of tunes that take a while to stick to the mind. Interestingly enough, she sounds so hoarse here, it’s like listening to the earnest songbook of a chain-smoker.
Well, it had been a while, so it is only appropriate that Ms Hawkins comes back with some different types of sound. So there’s Sinnerman, a chaotic but lovely kind of cacophony that has me feeling like I’m in some kind of feverish tent revival. Gone Baby is a lovely anthem that is just… big. Ms Hawkins has demonstrated hints that she is taking her music down a mellow, bluesy feel in the past, but she goes full out. Unlike the overt production values in her previous effort Wilderness, here the songs are mostly just Ms Hawkins with the guitar, some piano, and drums.
Lyrically, it’s a continuation down the path of love and loss with Ms Hawkins. The hippie, who once reveled in taboo and sensuality, is now more about deeper introspection and finer feelings. However, things can get awry once a while, such as in The Land the Sea and the Sky. That song has a pleasant melody, but the lyrics are so overblown and melodramatic, as Ms Hawkins demonizes corrupt politicians and land developers, declaring that she will never “bow to evil” and the beautiful children will rise again. Or something like that. This song is just one unicorn short of being an utter embarrassment.
Anyway, The Crossing takes a few listens to get used to. Even then, there aren’t any particular stand-out tracks here. They are all pleasant to listen to, some see Ms Hawkins branching out into a different type of sound or scale, but there is nothing here that makes me sit up and go, “Wow!” Still, it’s all right with me.