Juliana Hatfield

Weird

American Laundromat

Jan 25, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


The last few years have seen something of a career revival for Juliana Hatfield. After years of self-releasing albums of varying tones and tenors on her own Ye Olde Records, Hatfield returned in 2013 with her outstanding Minor Alps collaboration with Nada Surf's Matthew Caws. In 2015, she resurrected The Juliana Hatfield Three for the stellar Whatever, My Love, and two years later she released the politically motivated and intense solo album Pussycat.

After last year's idiosyncratic covers album, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, Hatfield opens 2019 with another fantastic solo album. Weird is billed as an album about solitude or, as she describes it in the album's liner notes, "contentment in a small space." It also contains all of the soaring melody, introspective examination, and sly self-deprecation that characterize Hatfield's most moving work. Cases in point: On the album's opening track, the driving "Staying In," Hatfield sings, "If I go out, somebody might take me for a functioning human being." On "No Meaning," she sings, "Look under the surface, try to find some kind of meaning, reason, or purpose." As usual, Hatfield's underrated guitar work shines throughout, as in the stinging "All Right, Yeah," the raucous "Broken Doll," and the fuzzy "Lost Ship." Few artists can meld delicacy and fury quite like Hatfield. And the album ends with a danceable rave, the jubilant "Do It to Music," which finds Hatfield dancing, alone and redeemed by the power of song.

In all, listening to Weird brings to mind Hatfield's 1995's album Only Everything. Coming after her breakout album Become What You Are, with The Juliana Hatfield Three, Only Everything took the mold and stretched it. The melodic touch and lyrical examination remained but there was something new, something more eccentric, something, to steal her own album title's word, weird. The pleasures of Weird reward frequent listening. It is an album that begs repeating as soon as one reaches the last bouncing notes of "Do It to Music." (www.julianahatfield.com)  

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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PB
January 25th 2019
8:45am

Juliana also released an album with Paul Westerberg as The I Don’t Cares In 2016.  She’s a busy lady.

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January 28th 2019
1:37am

I like the album cover. Gotta find this song. Thank you for sharing the reviews.