By Kenneth Miller
Jessie J released a tangy, practically swinging track entitled “Do It Like A Dude” on her 2011 debut album “Who You Are,” which caught kids totally off guard, leaving most completely stumped within their own gender frustrations and fantasies. In reality, however, the tune hadn’t taken flight until 2015, when London-based singer-songwriter Sofia B covered it, and consequentially, put some honest meaning to an otherwise atypical pop hit with her signature electrifying folksy androgynous flare.
It’s been a little over a year since fans and Internet surfers were exposed to Sofia B’s rustic Jessie J cover, but alas, the wait has come to an end. Before the turn of the New Year, Sofia B dropped her second EP “In The City,” which swings listeners through trials of love, identity and loss. Unlike her debut album “Once Upon A Time,” which featured a majority of pop-driven tracks like “Friendly Little Ghost,” Sofia B changes gears a bit with slinging acoustics that propel listeners into states of awe throughout her latest release.
The softly spun Tegan and Sara-esque lyricist, who has had her work featured in a variety of queer publications including Curve Magazine and SheWired, seemingly ditched her diluted synthesizer and picked up more heavily influenced jazzy guitar licks, like in the heart wrenching lullaby-like second track on the album, “Hurricane.”
With each song treated as an amassing of once-unexpressed now-spoken feelings, listeners go into teeny inner dialogues Sofia B seems to have been trying to work out for quite some time without ever knowing what the real dilemma is. You may speculate Sofia B was dealt unearthing trials of unrequited love in tracks like “Ice Cold Love,” but her pensively abstract wording guards her true expression. With that, passerby fans are able to connect more readily to said lyrics like “From a lifetime of love and deceiving / I won’t be sorry / I’ll never stop grieving,” and interpret them freely, without any strict guidelines.
In the end, her lyrics are majestic; her bouncy compositions even more so.
Look at the album’s first single, “Solders.” Inside, listeners acquaint themselves with a coming of age story wherein our narrator realizes that—yeah, we’re all perpetually in a war and cannot every truly stop fighting to maintain our sense of dignity and worth till it’s all over. In an almost Ingrid Michaelson manner, Sofia B chants “We’re just soldiers in a war,” and ultimately pushes out a question to her listeners: When is it ever okay to stop fighting for what you desire so badly, even when it essentially becomes a necessity?
Leaving us with some bruised up, but hastily healing battle wounds, Sofia B takes us through the sands of a windy beach, hoping we too will begin to understand our lives and surroundings more thoroughly with each passing day. And even if you don’t fully understand your existence by the end of the 17-minute long EP, you’ll most definitely fade into your own space and forget about the rampant demands consuming your body on the daily. And that’s all you can ask of music, anyways.