It’s a long wait for Sophie B Hawkins’s follow-up to her 1995 sophomore album Whaler, and no, it’s not exactly that good, much to my disappointment. In this third outing, Ms Hawkins seems to have lost her fire. How disappointing!
Indeed, the whole album, while the lyrics are openly sexual at times, lack the sensuality that characterizes the songstress’ previous music. There is no earthy sensuality like Don’t Stop Swaying and We are One Body. And while tunes like No Connection come close, many songs on Timbre don’t even have the panache of bouncy, poppy stuff like Let Me Love You Up.
So what’s left? I love Strange Thing, a song of reflective contemplation of one’s inner peace and (lack of) direction, and No Connection is lovely. And the soothing ballad Lose Your Way is pretty decent.
It is only on two tracks, The Darkest Childe and Help Me Breathe that Ms Hawkins’s latent fire burns through. The former is a vulgar but effective monologue of corruption of innocence with a wailing, haunting chorus. And in Help Me Breathe, she conveys a sense of claustrophobia so vividly that I find myself holding my breath as her sultry voice goes, “Help me…”
Her sultry voice is her greatest weapon, but Sophie B Hawkins’s star also shines when she writes openly about her favorite topics: sex and love. This time, her lyrics are openly lesbian. No bisexual ambiguity that is the lyrics in Whaler for you, oh no. On 32 Lines, she goes: I want your breasts across my back. Check out the explicit oral sex references in The Darkest Childe and French kiss in Your Tongue Like The Sun In My Mouth – you can tell she’s asking Jane, not Joe, to give her the willies.
Indeed, while she is openly more flagrant with her sexuality, it is unfortunate that the music is pretty average. A pity. Sophie Hawkins says she’s moving to a new recording company that gives her greater freedom with her music and voice. Here’s hoping she will regain her fire and thrill me with her music again.