Susanna Hoffs and the unreleased Columbia album from 1994

In 1994, Susanna Hoffs was due to release her second solo album, the follow up to January, 1991’s debut effort, ‘When You’re A Boy’. That album included ‘My Side Of The Bed’, a top 40 Billboard single, as well as the Cyndi Lauper penned, “Unconditional Love”. The album also included a cover of “Boys Keep Swinging,” the 1979 song written by David Bowie and Brian Eno. The album achieved moderate success, reaching 83 on the US album charts. The album did include John Entwistle on bass guitar. As anyone who has followed Hoffs’ career will know, she is far more than a one trick pony, and as a song writer and lyricist, is among the top tier. Her recent collaborations with Matthew Sweet are further evidence of this. Yet 25 years back, 1994 to be exact, her second album for Columbia Records was not released. Her style has changed and it was in many ways it was almost a ‘grunge influenced’ album. Yet that comes as no surprise to those who know. As wel las a fan of 60s pop, Hoffs was a punk original, having seen the Pistols at Winterland – so her rock credentials were never challenged by those of us in the know. If you think she was a pop princess associated only with ‘Eternal Flame’ you need to do some revision. Her second album was rejected by Columbia Records – who wanted to keep her as the pop princess, something more along the lines of ‘When You’re A Boy. The label ordered her to return to the studio to re-record the songs. She refused, was released from her contract – but in a rare move, Columbia also turned all of the songs’ rights over to her (which usually they prefer to hold onto to them to capitilize on any future success she might have for another label).She signed with London Records where she recorded a new set of songs for the album that would later appear in 1996. Three of the songs here were redone for that album. “Enormous Wings”, which is almost an identical version, “Darling One” and “Happy Place”, with alternate lyrics. Subsequently “Catch The Wind” and “Turning Over” were released as bonus tracks on the 4-track CD single “All I Want”. The album features the amazing musical talents of Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse. In my opinion, this album is way better than 1996’s album – and contains some of her finest work. Check out the killer tune below ‘Without You’ co written with Marty Wilson Piper of The Church.

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