The primary purpose of Tails, Lisa Loeb’s debut album, is to prove its creator isn’t just the bespectacled lucky duck who landed a song on the Reality Bites soundtrack because she was a chum of Ethan Hawke’s and ended up with a No. 1 tune, the winsome, disarming ”Stay.” That No. 1 single closes out Tails, and by then, it’s nice to be able to say, Loeb has certainly proven she’s no one-hit wonder.
But she’s no blinding original, either. Loeb’s plaintive quaver echoes the warbling of Sheryl Crow and Jane Siberry; her boyfriend kiss-off ”Do You Sleep?” is a polite version of Alanis Morissette’s ”You Oughta Know.” To be sure, Loeb doesn’t sport those windowpane eyeglasses or name her band, Nine Stories, after the J.D. Salinger short-story collection, for nothing; the lyrics for Tails bespeak a reader of books, complete with sustained metaphors that include a dandy clean/dirty one about a musician’s sexual prowess (”I will not judge you by the way you play your instrument,” in the song ”Lisa Listen”).
Above all, Loeb has an undeniable gift for creating an air of intimacy and vulnerability, which may well be enough for ”Stay” fans looking for additional doses of contemplative melancholy. B-