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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Sophie B. Hawkins

The Crossing

Review by Gary Hill

Musically this one covers a wide range of territory. For my tastes not everything here works exceptionally well, at least from a musical point of view. The truth is, though, even when the music falls a bit short, Hawkins’ vocals make up for it. She’s got a great voice and puts in a stellar performance throughout.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Betchya Got a Cure for Me

With a slow groove, this is a killer soulful bluesy number. Hawkins vocals seem to channel Janis Joplin a bit. This, though, is no retro tune, even though it’s got some classic elements in the mix. It’s an awesome tune that really does a great job of starting things off in style.

Sinner Man
The percussion is quite pronounced on this piece. It’s a mellower tune, but the tempo is energetic. There are symphonic elements at play and this one almost qualifies as progressive rock. The vocal arrangement is awesome with multiple layers of voices really driving it.
The Land the Sea and the Sky
With a mellow and melodic balladic concept, this one has a lot of blues in the mix. It’s another strong tune and brings more variety to the table.
Georgia
A melodic and energized pop rock tune, this is good, but not as strong as the tunes that preceded it. It’s just a little too mainstream.
Missing
Another ballad-like piece, this is a step back up. Hawkins’ vocal performance is great.
Heart and Soul of a Woman
Here’s another bluesy tune. It’s another great piece of music, too with yet another stellar performance from Hawkins. The arrangement gets very powerful as this continues.
Life Is a River
Somehow the mellow music on this calls to mind Vangelis again. It’s only Hawkwins’ voice that pulls this off. It’s too mellow and too rooted in the soft rock, adult contemporary sounds of the 1970s.
Miles Away
Starting on piano, this mellow ballad isn’t bad, but it’s pretty generic. Hawkins’ vocals manage to elevate it, but this is really nothing all that special. It suffers even more because it sits right after a far too similar type of tune.
I Don't Need You
This is more like it! It starts with something not that far removed from mellower Pink Floyd. It grows out later into a blues jam that’s potent. Hawkins certainly channels Joplin on this tune.
Gone Baby
Here we get a great bluesy ballad. It gets a lot of energy as it builds and Janis Joplin is certainly an influence here, too. It’s one of the most dynamic and complex songs on the disc. It’s also very cool.
A Child
This is a jazz ballad and a nice change of pace.
Dream Street and Chance
The jazz continues on this number. It’s got a more rocking arrangement, but is pure jazz in terms of instrumentation and delivery and Hawkins outdoes herself here.
Red Bird
A mellow, keyboard dominated tune, this is very much like progressive rock. It’s also very powerful. I like it a lot.
Betchya Got a Cure for Me (Long Version)
This is an alternate version of the earlier tune.
Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover (Acoustic)
A mellow, balladic number, there are a lot of symphonic elements here. This is really quite powerful, both through the string arrangement and Hawkins’ performance.
Missing (Demo)
As the title suggests, this is another version of the earlier piece. I like this one a lot.
As I Lay Me Down (Acoustic)
Hawkins vocal performance really steals this show. It’s a mellow number, but she brings all the power and passion to it. It’s a cool way to end a strong album.
 
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