In her signature roles, she was the ingenue. And while it may not be fair to compare Molly Ringwald the actress with Molly Ringwald the singer, it is hard to ignore the genuineness seen in her characters that also flavors this collection of jazz standards called “Except Sometimes.”
Ringwald’s voice is unaffected, clear and, at moments, vulnerable. She challenges her range, and coaxes complexity from her honeyed mezzo-soprano. The strongest songs are those with minor inflections that balance her sunny nature, such as “Sooner or Later” and “I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes).”
Her debut album is less even elsewhere. On “I Believe in You,” her earnestness belies lines referencing “gin and vermouth.” On “Ballad of the Sad Young Men,” there is scant expression of sorrow.
Ringwald is backed by a skilled quartet that is beautifully arranged and gives full focus to her voice.
A surprise for the 45-year-old’s fans comes at the album’s close: a fresh interpretation of “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” the melancholic theme for her 1985 film, “The Breakfast Club.” It is impossible to not hear Ringwald as Claire, perhaps a more mature Claire, but an ingenue still.