I would wager that many people still regard New York’s Jill Sobule as a one-or-two-hit wonder, referring to her brief rush with mainstream fame which occurred during the mid-90s and sparked silly controversy.
Perhaps those same people would be surprised to see (and hear) what the original “I Kissed a Girl” girl has been up to.
Since those whirlwind days, Sobule has been steadily churning out gem after gem, releasing works that are chock-full of her cheeky observations on life, relationships and politics and often delivered with a tart cadence. Her songs can be goofy and sweetly simple one moment and at other times, painted with somber and bittersweet arrangements. And of course, sometimes, they can consist of both. As a songwriter, Sobule has deftly mastered the art of merging her quirky personality into songs that can easily incite smiles as well as poignant storytelling.
On her latest, California Years, Sobule continues to excercise this winning formula.
Many of the songs that make up the new album have been released in demo or live formats via Sobule’s website over the last few years. And her many fans will undoubtedly find immediate comfort and joy in hearing final cuts of these songs.
Standouts include “Nothing To Prove,” a hilarious ode to the youth-obsessed business and “San Francisco,” a song in which Sobule describes a session at a massage parlor and the masseuse’s longing to visit the City by the Bay.
And while the album contains its fair share of chuckles, there are some less funny moments, too. “League of Failures” and “While You Were Sleeping” are but two examples that demonstrate that Sobule’s talents aren’t limited to a lyrical punchline.
On the closing track, simply titled “The Donor Song,” Sobule can be heard name-dropping the fans who’ve generously donated money to fund the production of California Years, but is delivered in what can only be described as her ‘Sobulian’ way.
The nineties were but a small chapter in Jill Sobule’s musical career. And although the limelight may have dimmed a bit, her songs since have proven over and over again that she’s no one-hit wonder. Her California Years is another fine album that proves things have only gotten better.
Let’s see how Katy Perry holds up in 15 years.