Lisa Loeb, “A Simple Trick to Happiness” (Furious Rose)
Lisa Loeb’s 15th release — yes, it’s been that much music since her seminal 1994 hit “Stay (I Missed You)” — will fit all the sweet spots for her well-hewn fan base. The songs on “A Simple Trick to Happiness” are thick with pluck, offering words of encouragement for the challenges of life and bound by dependable melodies.
For all of Loeb’s varied interests, from songwriting to producing to acting, there is continuity to her music, perhaps at the expense of creativity and exploration. There’s a certain sameness to her sound and consistency to her approach that will always have a spot on long drive playlists.
“Another Day” speaks to plans that go awry, as tomorrow’s plans are never truly promised. The message gets a little blurred in the hook, which essentially reminds us that we’ll all eventually die so take each day as it comes. The pace is pep-less, but the melody lingers nicely enough.
“For the Birch” delivers more of the same, a track inspired by an old black and white photo of a reliable female family figure. We could write off this as one of many sentimental tracks on “Happiness,” but it likely speaks to Loeb’s view of herself as a songwriter. She offers tender tunes about the thorns of life that give way to hope and perseverance.
The best track here is “Shine,” which reminds the listener that they have everything inside they need to radiate the life they desire. Loeb continues to radiate a caring approach to her craft, with “A Simple Trick to Happiness” as the latest evidence.