American singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield has accumulated a huge number of different musical experiences throughout her intense career, and she has achieved a relevant reputation in many different genres of music: from the alt rock she used to play with the Blake Babies to the power pop of The Lemonheads, passing through the indie rock she did with Some Girls. Therefore, every new release from Hatfield brings with it a moderate curiosity about the style and the influences that we will find in the record. Last year I had some perplexity in front of her solo album “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John (contrarily to the average reviews of the official critics): it seemed to me that the LP was lacking the capacity to communicate genuine emotions to those who were not familiar with the discography of the Aussie singer. This year Hatfield is back with a new LP called Weird, and I feel that the new album is definitely stronger and more effective than the previous one.
From a musical point of view, Weird oscillates between a sparkling and catchy rock and roll and a mainstream-oriented indie pop. It’s thus difficult to classify Hatfield’s new album into one single category: the style of her music today is truly the expression of an artist that has matured her own way to write and play, and she does it with extreme confidence. At the same time, it’s worth to remember that with her new LP Juliana Hatfield has now arrived at the seventeenth studio album of her career, and this number includes only her solo works. At every new release, she has the opportunity to take the best from all that she learned during such a valuable journey into music.
Sonically speaking, most of the tracks of Weird are built upon the basic combination of a clean electric guitar and Hatfield’s voice, with the rhytmic section that has the only role of keeping the pace of the song. The result is a sequence of melodic, cheerful and absolutely engaging ballads which still maintain an “indie” feeling.
One thing that I liked very much about the LP is that sense of freshness and immediacy of the songs. Weird seems to have been composed through a spontaneous and natural process, and we get the feeling that Hatfield experienced a moment of significant creative impulse when conceiving the record, as if the songs came out from her mind with relative ease. Despite the intimate and sometime pessimistic lyrics, the overall mood of the LP is substantially cheerful and positive, and you can enjoy its songs in many different moments of your day.
If I should give a rating to the album, I would go for a 7/10.
The album can be streamed on Spotify.
My favorite songs of the record are: Staying In (which is the opening track and maybe the strongest song of the LP), It’s so Weird, and Paid to Lie.
Juliana Hatfield’s song Staying In is now featured in CREST OF WAVES, “the Softer Side of Music”. Check it out and follow it, the playlist is continuously updated.