Juliana Hatfield “Weird”
Six months ago, if you’d ask us about Juliana Hatfield we would have been at a loss. But, having fallen in love with The Lemonheads “It’s A Shame About Ray” (on which she appears) we have gone down a rabbit hole of listening to her (extensive) back catalogue and falling in love with it. We therefore couldn’t believe our luck when we heard she was releasing a new album.
To people who aren’t fans already it may be surprising to learn that, despite all her experience, there’s an almost sense of ‘insecurity’ to the opening two numbers “Staying In” and “It’s So Weird” (hear that song here). They are the usual smart pop songs but have a raw almost ‘demo’ feel to them. Then suddenly the album bursts in to life with the more uplifting sound of “Sugar”. Together with “Lost Ship” and “No Meaning” they are brilliant examples that Juliana hasn’t lost her knack for crafting fine ‘pop’ flavoured songs. Although there remains an element of spiky punk on “All Right, Yeah” and “Broken Doll”.
The other key feature with any release from Juliana Hatfield is the smart lyrics which often accompany (and contradict) the sweet melodies. That’s apparent on “Everything’s For Sale” “Receiver” and the very appropriate for these times “Paid To Lie”. That’s not to say there isn’t a sense of fun throughout the album, although it’s only at its most blatant on the excellent “Do It To Music”.
Juliana Hatfield already has a fan base full of extremely devoted fans and there is absolutely no doubt that they will love this. What’s really interesting is just how relevant and current her sound is (even though it follows a style she has had for years). Given how huge an act like Courtney Barnett has become, it makes you think that this release could attract a whole new group of younger fans. Which would be great as not only will they get to hear this, but it may also lead them down a path of discovering all her other brilliant albums. Those devoted fans may like the idea of keeping her a ‘secret’ but her talent deserves to be discovered by as many people as possible.