Ladies and Grrrls, I believe you’ll have a blast bopping to Juliana Hatfield’s latest album, Weird. Hatfield has previously made music with Blake Babies, Some Girls, The Juliana Hatfield Three, and The Lemonheads, known within the indie scene for writing raw, emotional, and accessible feminist socially-aware tunes. Juliana Hatfield admirably crafts a confessional, solid pop punk rock album that truly deserves and demands attention. My favorite lyric from the first track, “Staying In”, is “If I go out, somebody might take me for a functioning human being,” and the line “breakfast in dark” demonstrates the relatively simplistic, yet vivid imagery that defines the album.
I think many of us can see ourselves in this album, with themes such as expectations and failure heavily weighing down upon everyone. I also love how Juliana Hatfield unabashedly recognizes her flaws, which are comparatively a lot less significant in respect to the ridiculous societally-imposed standards women are burdened with. She is definitely not afraid to call people out for being oppressive, either. There is a sense of urgency to her work, and a desire to be understood as not only a musical artist, but a woman and human being.
Quite a few of Hatfield’s songs can be considered anthemic, and I find them unique in the sense that she can discuss serious social issues yet still remind us that it is okay to have fun, especially if you are directly affected by such issues. The album ends with a tune entitled “Do It to Music,” reiterating the therapeutic qualities of music, or passions in general. Instrumentally, this album is also incredible, guitar and noise both supporting Hatfield’s radical inquiry. During “Broken Doll,” my fave track, there’s a distorted piano?! How awesome is that!
If you are into screamy, dancy, wonderfully whiny riot grrl-esque, pop-punkish rock, this is an album you’ll want to hear. Please, please, listen to Weird! Here is a short description of each song for your reading pleasure.
- Staying In - Love the instrumentals, good for any rock playlist.
- It’s So Weird - “‘Don’t you need romance?’ And I told him no, I don’t.” “Then he asked me ‘don’t you ever need someone to put your arms around?’” An anthem for women who want the world to know they are doing just fine on their own. “You can do anything that you want when you don’t belong to anyone.”
- Sugar - “Sugar it’s so hard to hold on, it’s so hard to let go.” Relatable content.
- Everything’s For Sale - Good social commentary, but not the best song on the album in my opinion.
- All Right Yeah - I feel like it could have had more energy, but the lyrics are kind of fun. It has a lot of potential but flopped a bit. I was expecting something incredibly riotous to happen and it did not.
- Broken Doll - Love at first listen. Everything is wrong in life and she is not trying to hide it at all. Essentially she is exposing herself and revealing a layer of humanity. There’s definitely some noise going on, and it one point a distorted piano sound comes in. So far it is my favorite off the album.
- Receiver - Nice steady beat in the beginning, soft yet sinister sounding. She is asking us to question ourselves, who we trust, our relationships, etc. I love the guitar towards the end, I think that these expertly instrumentals support Hatfield’s inquiry.
- Lost Ship - A song about wanting to live in your own world, without outside influence or oppression. She describes her ideal existence, in which she can demonstrate self-control and autonomy. A real funky tune with a great message. I might be over-analyzing it from a literary and feminist perspective but I don’t know! Bleeds into the next song.
- Paid To Lie - Ahhhh! A spade truly is a spade! She is telling it how it is! “You can call a spade a knife but anyone can see you’re paid to lie.” Calling out oppressors, politicians, and singing in the interest of those broken, beaten, and held down. Wonderful! Oh my!
- No Meaning - Comes in so strong and pleasantly loud. Almost sounds a bit like Sonic Youth. I like her vocal inflections in this song, it’s like a whine or plea. Sophisticated and interesting lyrics paired with thought-provoking instrumentals. It sounds like both she and the guitars are crying for “some kind of meaning or purpose.”
- Do It to Music - A love letter to music, how it can make sex, celebration, cleaning, crying, and everyday drudgery better. It’s a fun tune, sometimes corny and laughable but still good. Get up and dance.