Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles - 11/5
at City Winery New York City
Susanna Hoffs’ new solo album, Someday, is an intensely personal song cycle that doubles as a musical love letter to the music of the 1960s, which, she says, “has always been my reference point for everything.” Produced and orchestrated by Mitchell Froom, the LP is heartfelt and immediate, oozing refinement but without a trace of pretense. On an album full of stylistic surprises, including the summery groove of “This Is the Place,” the evocative “November Sun” and the lilting “Picture Me”, with its Bacharach-style sophistication, lush retro arrangements and modern state-of-the-art production enclose Hoffs’ one-of-a-kind voice in an aural tapestry of velvet and lace.
“The album was inspired by my yearning to sing songs that were as melodic and emotional as my favorite music of the 1960s,” Hoffs says. “We recorded ten original songs, eight of which I wrote in a flurry over a period of a few months with Andrew Brassell. He’s a 27-year-old musician from Nashville, who’s been on the indie club scene there since he was a teenager. So the project started with me, this talented boy from Nashville, two guitars and a reverb pedal. The first song we wrote was ‘Picture Me,’ though the original version sounded more like a country duet, in the style of Johnny Cash and June Carter. From there, we just wrote.”
During the time leading up to this album, Hoffs reflected on her lifelong fascination and obsession with art. “This record takes me back full circle to the very beginning,” she says. “I’d always been involved with art in some form since I was a young girl—painting, drawing, dancing, film, theater and music—but it wasn’t until I was an art student and member of the dance company at UC Berkeley in the late ’70s that I became immersed in the punk-rock movement and my path became clear. When I saw Patti Smith at the Winterland Ballroom, I realized that being in a band was the ultimate art project.”
Hoffs goes on to describe her first band with then-boyfriend David Roback as “John and Yoko meet the Beach Boys.” Although they never played any shows, they wrote songs and made recordings that Susanna eventually played for the Bangles. After graduation, she returned to L.A., where she placed an ad in the Recycler, which led to the formation of the Bangles and her 30-year career with them, which was broken by a solo turn in the ’90s, as well as starting a family with film director Jay Roach. Someday is a captivating embodiment of art for art’s sake. As vital as ever at the age of 53, Susanna Hoffs is writing a bold new chapter in an illustrious career—a solo album that encapsulates a lifetime immersed in the arts.