Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Juliana Hatfield - Only Everything

I waited ten years to get this CD.

Juliana Hatfield has a uniquely addictive sound. Kind of hard to describe, you just need to hear it for yourself. Imagine a sugary pop voice with an edge. Then add an electric guitar, but not too much metal, electric that's sort of acoustic-like. Songs that are sweet, yet angry and smooth at the same time.

You get lyrics like this (from 'Live on Tomorrow'):

A heartbeat says you haven't died.
You gotta try to stay alive
Leave me to the vultures
Throw me to the wolves
I'll live on tomorrow
And purity of soul

Dump me in the ocean
Tied to a piano
But you forgot to rip my heart out
Before you let me go.

Or how about a song with one of the most creative titles of all time, called 'OK OK'.

Why you asking?
That's the last thing
Untrusted, not busted
What what what what what what what what

What a cheap shot. I did not.
Just believe it. Just leave it.
Shut up, shut up, shut up,
Shut up, shut up

OK, ok, whatever you say.
OK, ok, I did it but I didn't.
OK, ok, don't make me get crazy.
OK ok, ok, ok, ok.

Well, you get the idea.

Lots of good stuff. 'What a Life' sings about a feeling of angry pathetic desperation. 'Fleur de Lys' is sung entirely in french, and you get the sense that Hatfield doesn't know the meaning of the words she wrote. Good instruments too. I don't usually like electric guitar but this one is cool.

'Dumb Fun' sounds like some deranged verse with the words 'dumb' and 'fun' repeated over and over. I haven't figured out exactly what it means. I suspect it doesn't really mean anything, it's just dumb fun.

'Bottles and Flowers' is another good one. It slows down the pace, then does the technique of extending the syllables to match the melody. For example, the line "She's so alone" becomes "She's so alo-hone", only in a cute way.

One of my favorite songs of all time is here, 'Universal Heart-Beat'. I first heard it in 1995, and it still kicks ass today as it did then.

Beauty can be sad. You're proof of that.
When the damage is done, you're damaged goods.
That's not to say it's not okay.
I wouldn't have it any other way.

This song is almost perfect. Great intro, music and words. It marks a period of my personal music reawakening in the mid 90's. I'll definitely listen to more of Juliana Hatfield's work in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars * * * *
Great music, very innovative sound.

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