Susanna Hoffs is honoring some of the great musicians in her life with covers of songs by Prince, Syd Barrett, The Velvet Underground, Nick Drake, and more on Bright Lights (Baroque Folk Records), out Nov. 12.
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“These were songs I admired and adored and had listened to on repeat for pure pleasure, but strangely, had never sung,” says Hoffs. “Stepping up to the mic to sing them for the first time with our incredible band was truly exhilarating if a little terrifying
Produced by Paul Bryan, Bright Lights is a collection of songs that shaped a young Hoffs and her friend, the late David Roback of Mazzy Star, when they were teens. Prince’s Purple Rain track “Take Me With U” is the sole track released after the earlier era of their musical discovery.
Bright Lights also moves through songs by the Monkees, Richard Thompson, The Merry-Go Round, Chris Bell, and Paul Revere & The Raiders, with Aimee Mann (‘Til Tuesday) joining Hoffs on Badfinger’s 1971 track “Name of the Game.”
“The artists on Bright Lights approached songwriting from a deeply emotional place and with a profound sensitivity to the world around them,” says Hoffs. “Sadly, many of them died too young. I didn’t actually see the big picture of that until I looked at the whole track list. It was subconscious. Yet I’ve always been drawn to songs that were intensely emotional.”
Hoffs adds, “The best analogy for singing a cover is, ‘does the dress fit?’ Can I wear it well? Will I be able to do it justice and bring something new to it?
Bright Lights Track List
Time Will Show the Wiser (The Merry-Go Round)
One These Things First (Nick Drake)
You and Your Sister (Chris Bell)
Name of the Game, featuring Aimee Mann (Badfinger)
I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Richard and Linda Thompson)
You Just May Be the One (The Monkees)
Him or Me – What’s It Gonna Be? (Paul Revere & The Raiders)
Femme Fatale (The Velvet Underground)
Take Me With U (Prince)
No Good Trying (Syd Barrett)