“Walk Like An Egyptian!” “Manic Monday!” “Hazy Shade Of Winter!” “Eternal Flame!” I love me The Bangles. However, in 1991 when I heard Susanna Hoffs’ solo song “My Side Of The Bed” for the first time, I was like “The Bangles who?” Her first solo album When You’re A Boy is one of my favorite albums of all-time even thirty years later. Her new album, Bright Lights, is only her fourth solo album. I guess she’s a big believer in quality over quantity.
Susanna has done a trilogy of cover albums (Under The Covers Vols 1-3) with Matthew Sweet where they cover a decade of music from the 60’s to the 80’s per album. As much as I love her colab-work with Matthew and The Bangles, it’s solo Susanna that has my heart. She took all her personal musical history and combined it with generations of musical styling to make the eclectic covers album that is Bright Lights. I don’t know any of the original versions of these songs, so they’re all new to me.
Bright Lights is the album that The Beatles would have made had they let John leave with Yoko and brought on Karen Carpenter. “Femme Fatale” has a total “Sing” by The Carpenters vibe and “No Good Trying” will take you on a Magical Mystery Tour. Bright Lights might have a retro sound but the voice is all Susanna’s, that familair voice that was featured on many of The Bangles hit singles, is just as distinct as ever. Back in 2012, I got to see Susanna perform solo for my first and only time, fingers crossed that this album that inspired her to release new music will also inspire a tour.