Picks and Pans Review: When You're a Boy

UPDATED 02/25/1991 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/25/1991 at 01:00 AM EST

Susanna Hoffs

Nobody should expect operatic voice quality, but Hoffs's first solo album displays an ingratiating, chirpy-puckery kind of dance-pop style, appropriate to her background as a former singer for the Bangles.

She cowrote most of the album's 12 songs, working with such pop veterans as Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg. They're usually stronger melodically than lyrically: "I made a heart and I colored it red/ Cause I want you here on my side of the bed."

"Wishing on Telstar" has a nice, high-tech romantic tone, though, "it's Lonely Out Here" is a more mature package of sentiments for the 31-year-old Hoffs: "The sun is shining on the green, green lawns/I'm stuck outside a postcard, I can't find home." Hoffs also recycles the David Bowie-Brian Eno song "Boys Keep Swinging" with a feminist twist. (The album title comes from a line in the Bowie-Eno tune.)

If the world has to muddle along without the often enjoyable pep-pap-pop of the disbanded Bangles, Hoffs solo is a decent substitute. (Columbia)

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