Throughout her nearly two decade music career, singer/songwriter Lauren Hoffman has a long-held reputation for uncompromisingly refusing to be pigeonholed, as she’s released four full-length albums of artsy and knotty pop. Hoffman’s latest project, The Secret Storm is inspired by a conversation the singer/songwriter had with a young musician in which Hoffman told the musician “Pick a name that is not your own name…and stick with it.”As Hoffman explains in press notes, “As someone who has suffered from something of an identity crisis throughout my career, it struck me that it wasn’t too late to take my own advice. I’ve never felt good about recording under my own name. The ‘Lauren Hoffman’ that shows up on the credit card receipt at the grocery store and the ‘Lauren Hoffman’ who shows up on Spotify just felt like two very different things. I’ve also never really identified with ‘singer/songwriter’ as a genre, even though I am technically a singer and a songwriter. There is this folky connotation that never quite sat right with me. But the main reason for the change is that working under the name The Secret Storm creates this a psycrhological distinction between me as a person and the work itself. It’s liberating.”
Hoffman continues by explaining that one of the reasons she likes the name The Secret Storm “is that it represents this private emotional life we carry around inside of us. As a fairly rational, reasonable person, the way I talk about my life out loud to a casual friend is not necessarily the same way that my feelings might speak. Songwriting is this amazing place where you can let your feelings talk, you can express things that you have to keep hidden in your day to day life.”
“The Dragon,” the first single from Hoffman’s forthcoming EP, The Dragon feels as though it’s tapped into unspoken, unexpressed and darkest corners of the singer/songwriter’s psyche. At the core of the song is a captivating and confusing mix of palpable and urgent longing and obsession: the sort of obsession over someone, who deep down you know will hurt you — and you know that you’ll be irrevocably pulled toward it, no matter how reasonable, thoughtful and intelligent you actually are. It also makes a point that in any romantic relationship there’s a thin line between joy, love, pain and darkness — and that within any relationship that can change within a drop of a dime and it does so in a urgent, sweaty and sexy fashion.
Sonically, the song pairs dramatic and propulsive drumming, a gorgeous string arrangement with Hoffman’s sultry cooing and pleading and power chords and to my ears, the song sounds as though it drew influence from the towering presence of PJ Harvey.
The recently released official video is incredibly sexy as it features a tattooed burlesque dancer, a fire eater, and superimposes shadowy shot footage of Hoffman and her backing band playing the song over the dancers. Visually, it’s quite a site.