Just to prove that not every nineteen year old wants to be another angry Alanis, here’s one that yearns to be another self-reflective Suzanne Vega. It’s a less commercially viable role model, but it makes for better music.
Charlottesville, Virginia’s Lauren Hoffman has a knack for a sophisticated hook, and possesses a silky, intriguing voice that floats between the spaces of Vega, Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, and Lori Carson. Her vocals are so understated that at times it sounds like she’s muttering to herself in a deep dream state. With her introverted lyrics and low-key, airy production by Cracker’s David Lowery, Hoffman crafts melodic gems whose slight pop sensibilities make sing alongs of downbeat lyrics like “I hope you don’t mind, the world’s fucked up and we’re all gonna die” (it’s a quote from her dad to her as a child). Cheery eh?
Instruments, especially subtle guitars and percussion, fade in and float out, adding tiny flourishes then slipping away into the ether they were plucked from. Thankfully she dodges the self-important pretension that often goes smug hand in snug glove (see Fiona Apple) with nineteen year old prodigies, even going so far as to mock the hero worship of rock stars in the song of the same name.
On Megiddo, Hoffman’s too understated to qualify for rock star status, but she’s got a no nonsense manner, cool blue songs to back up her prodigy status, and most importantly, she cannily avoids the dreaded Alanis clone curse.