* omitted from vinyl version
The liveontomorrow.co.uk Review, 2011:
In 2010 Juliana released the home-made acoustic album Peace & Love, followed by a project of privately recorded acoustic songs for fans at $1,000 each. The subtext was clear. In 2008 she really had been musing on How To Walk Away from music (or at least the industry part). Although there were artistic, creative factors behind these two subsequent acoustic projects, the finances of making and selling music were a key part of the story. She might be quitting for real this time.
It all turned out good in the end though. The custom song project led to Juliana proclaiming a rediscovery of her mojo. Winter 2010/11 found her playing some unexpected acoustic shows with Evan Dando and writing a tour diary bloggy thing where she announced that she was "starting to like music again".
Come the start of 2011 she resurrected her Twitter and Facebook presence and then boom! announced that a new album was coming.
It turned out to be a fan funded affair. There are flaws in such projects and they don't always make sense for some artists. PledgeMusic however, has proved a perfect fit for Juliana.
There's Always Another Girl might never have been made without it.
When the project launched on April 5, 2011 us fans lapped it up. To fund the album, pledge incentives included signed CDs, Skype chats, t-shirts, guitars and variety of Juliana's paintings. Within a few hours of the project going live, the target was reached, setting a PledgeMusic record in the process.
Juliana reacted with genuine shock but for the fans, the project's immediate financial success was no surprise. The honor system had worked well since 2004, the $1,000 songs had sold, she'd succesfully auctioned her guitars. PledgeMusic was always going to work.
Within a few short months, Juliana had prepared the songs, posted frequent updates on the recording project, videos from the studio, added more pledge incentives to meet demand and There's Always Another Girl was complete.
It was released to pledgers on 27 July 2011 and to the rest of the world on 30 August 2011.
In the press release, Juliana said it "was loosely based on the concept of failure" - a tagline that could easily be applied to any of her albums.
A theme which stands out from this album, if not in the lyrics, is a celebratory one. Juliana making music. People listening to it. Fans paying for it. Everybody happy. How to not walk away.
To the songs:
From Juliana's tweets and PledgeMusic comments it seems the track order was random. If so, let us all pray to the gods of song sequencery as Change The World is PERFECT as an opener.
Similar in tone to the 2010 acoustic songs and lyrically the 'failure theme' is set up.
i was gonna change the world but i’m not gonna change the world i was gonna change my ways but i have not changed
Simple. The acceptance of who we are and what has passed - a repeated topic in Juliana's songs of recent years - gets another angle.
Taxicab breaks the acoustic familiarity with energetic full on band rifforama. As the studio video showed, yes sir she can boogie:
Only in the studio, mind. Take Juliana to one of those new fangled beat disco youth night club things and you'll get a different response. She'll want to go home. The music's too loud. She certainly Don't Wanna Dance.
Track 4 is the title track. There's Always Another Girl is a familiar tune to many fans, having debuted as a demo in 2009 when it had the suffix of "For Lindsay Lohan". Back then Juliana told Stereogum:
It's so gross and nasty for people to be watching and waiting and almost cheerleading for Lindsay to relapse, or get in a car crash or whatever. Horrible.
The Lohan reference may be gone in 2011 but the song is largely unchanged as is its relevance to any other (there's always another) girl.
Changing the album title (from Speeches Delivered To Animals And Plants as originally planned) to match this track was also wise in many ways, not least the suitability to the artwork.
Candy Wrappers is a new uptempo head nodding version of Where I'm Going from the 2009 downloads.
The acoustic album had no artificial reverb. Someone Else's Problem does its best to make up for this with Juliana's vocals sounding like they were captured in a deep cavern with a 1980's dictaphone. The song has a mid-90's post grunge sound that Juliana hasn't visited since, err, the mid-90's.
Sex And Drugs has been well received by fans and critics. Time will tell if its monotony will lend to repeat plays.
Stray Kids will also be familiar to completists, being a reworked version of Bringing You Down Again from the 2009 honor downloads.
Failure is this reviewer's favourite track. By far. As pivotal as the title track - conceptually and sequentially. Managing to summarise Juliana's sounds of the last decade or so, yet still being fresh.
shooting blades of grass shadows move so fast all the things i thought i knew now where do i go and what do i do
The melody and tone that carries the above lines is the best few seconds on the entire album. A little gem.
Vagabond lowers the pace with a meandering ode to a female drifter.
After that, it's time for Juliana to mess with us. Our first listen on track number 11 offers a 'huh?' moment akin to the first time we heard This Lonely Love.
Despite being a totally different slowed down take on Candy Wrappers, the familiarity to that song 6 tracks back (it is the same song) causes a proper kerfuffle. It's called And Again. Oh I get it - And Again. From the track order obviously. Oh no, wait, it's from the lyrics. Or is it?
Give up and move on to the next song.
Batteries is a synth laden complaint against the power expiration of handheld electronics. Except it isn't. Towards the end of the song there's a struggle to complete it and Juliana resorts to exhausted profanity. A metaphor for all energy sapping traits we pick up with age.
The penultimate track is Wasting Time - a song so Dando-esque, it sounds like a cover from It's A Shame About Ray. Hanging with Evan has it's rewards. Proper old school indie-Hatfield.
We finish with Thousands Of Guitars. Perhaps addressing Juliana's own regret over the sale of her guitars in recent years, and placing such irrationality into context. The lyrics reassure and the album ends with a lovely upbeat message:
hold on to your soul never give it away and you'll always be alright
As an album There's Always Another Girl sits somewhere between its two predecessors. Lacking some of the post-production polish of How To Walk Away and, inevitably, a more eclectic collection of noises than on Peace & Love.
Lyrical repetition becomes, um, repetitive on this album, perhaps more than ever in Juliana's work this side of a Some Girls album. Arguably it isn't one of Juliana's strongest records in that respect.
Juliana's last three full solo albums - Made In China, How To Walk Away and Peace & Love - are easily identified by style, theme and context. There's Always Another Girl falls short here. It's a collection of songs, a few of which perhaps seem half-finished in comparison, to these ears at least. Those previous albums set such a high bar. To fall short is no surprise or complaint, especially given the speed at which this project was completed.
More than anything this album is a joy because it's a result of Juliana doing what she loves - making music, something she can focus on without the burden of excessive promotion and touring. For those of us who have spent years, and in many cases, decades listening and loving what she does, and selfishly wishing it wouldn't stop, There's Always Another Girl is reason to celebrate.
A covers album may be next. Bring it on.
The batteries are recharged.
There's Always Another Girl was released digitally to PledgeMusic subscribers on July 27, 2011.
A general release followed on August 30, 2011 on download and CD with a vinyl version a month later. Due to size limitations the vinyl version omits Candy Wrappers and And Again.
The CD sold out in October 2011 and although Juliana indicated that no more were to be made, further 'pressings' were made to coincide with 2012's covers album and again in 2015 for the Juliana Hatfield Three reformation, with copies made available at juliana's official site.
The album remains available for download from the usual suspects in most territories:
this album is the perfect blend of everything that Juliana already does best, while amping up the melodies, harmonies and moods to degrees that even some of her most ardent followers probably couldn’t have predicted.
Marc With A C, The Real Congregation
Having made her name producing sardonic jangle-pop tunes with sometimes uncomfortably honest lyrics, Hatfield has wisely gone back to those roots for There’s Always Another Girl. Recapturing the golden-age of ’90s female-fronted indie, the album feels startlingly retro at times.
Terry Mulcahy, wears the trousers magazine
The innocent voice may be a little raspier with age, and the heart may be a little more ragged and roughed up by experience, but the soul of Juliana Hatfield remains strong.
Juliana has written a song full of truth. 'There's Always Another Girl' will leave an impression on you and you'll want to go back and re-listen to make sure you heard every word she uttered. "Don't you love it when a beautiful woman self destructs?"
Nothing says open mic night more than singing lyrics such as “The batteries are dead/Totally, completely dead [...] Completely fucking dead.” It’s bad enough to recall another buried mid-’90s memory: Phoebe Buffay’s agitating coffeehouse performances on Friends.
Austin Trunick, Consequence Of Sound
the keen-eyed perspective of an artist whose talent has finally outstripped her fame
Jonathan Perry, The Boston Globe
The pretty-girl trap and bad-boy misbehavior are longtime Hatfield themes, but she's rarely delivered them with such directness and authority.
Mark Jenkins, Blurt
...It’s moments like these that show Hatfield’s ability to take advantage of her own intentional, focused ideas and meld them with spontaneous moments of creative opportunity.
Tyler Kane, Paste
While her fellow graduates from the class of ’93 have been content relive past glories, Hatfield has matured into a distinguished, risk-taking songwriter who continues to surprise and occasionally confound listeners.
Daniel Tebo, PopMatters
Many of the other 13 songs on her 11th studio album (financed by pledgemusic, with a percentage going to animal shelters) show flashes of the melodic brilliance of her early 90s output, like the sweetly sung Failure, the easy groove of Thousands Of Guitars and the bluesy boogie of Don’t Wanna Dance.
Jason Keller, Now Magazine
In a time where it is possible for acts who made their careers in that early-90s cauldron of independent creativity to reform and remake themselves, it seems a cop-out to make such a risk-free album, especially since Hatfield had full creative control.
Chris Kein, Tiny Mix Tapes
There’s Always Another Girl doesn’t pack the same emotional punch that How to Walk Away did but it’s a gem nonetheless.
Adrienne Urbanski, Short and Sweet NYC
I left wanting at least one crack at a track where the instrumentals were the rusted gears, pushed through by Hatfields well oiled smooth sound.
Ania Roginska, MVRemix
a continuation of the excellent, mature work she’s done in the new millennium.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic
(the album) is best when she lightens up a bit, or least gets wry, such as in the otherwise wistful look back at "Change the World", neat little procession "Sex and Drugs", and kiss-off "Batteries".
Ted Chase, QRO Magazine
There’s Always Another Girl is hit and miss; it tries to bring together the many incarnations of Juliana Hatfield’s impressive career.
Katie Caroll, mxdwn.com
She's the kind of artist you can get very attached to over the years. I know I have
Steve Smart, Rabbit Hole Urban Music
Juliana has often said that her albums are a reaction to their predecessors.
This century she has released the demos turned indie-pop songcraft one, the alt-metal noisy one, the polished AOR one, the abrasive angsty one, the live one, the country collaboration one and the ambitious multi-layered statement of genius one.
It follows, almost naturally, that 2010 is time for the DIY acoustic one. Say hello to Peace & Love.
The sound of the album will be familiar to fans who downloaded songs from Juliana’s Honor System project in 2009 and her contribution to the Mark Mulcahy tribute album.
Created exclusively at home, with apparently no external influences, this is Juliana’s most personal album in every sense.
As much as it is a reaction to How To Walk Away it still shares that album’s overwhelming message. This is an artist at peace with her work, more confident than ever with her talent and unashamedly proud.
The sleeve proclaims that the album was “composed, arranged, performed, produced, engineered and mixed by Juliana Hatfield.” As much a statement of confidence as it is fact.
It is an album of largely minimal instrumentation but with just enough nuances in texture and creative techniques to avoid sounding bland after its 12 songs - a risk that any acoustic album has to take.
Juliana’s trademark multilayered vocals are used extensively, and in the limited acoustic setting this effect is noticeable and often used for inspired harmonic appeal. The electric guitar makes an occasional, if understated, appearance too.
The album opens with the title track Peace and Love. The theme of the record is captured here. As the lyrical tone expands to familiar Juliana territory of personal introspection over the following 11 songs, Peace and Love is significantly placed at the start to inform the listener that whilst hurt, pain and frustration remain such emotions can be accepted if not embraced.
“I won’t give up on Peace and Love”
If acceptance was also key to the lyrical success of How To Walk Away, this album expands this to emphasise hope. As an album opener it is an inspired choice and as good a scene setter for the acoustic and harmonic subtleties that follow.
The End Of The War is a reflective look on confrontation and its life affirming qualities, matched by the music’s subdued rhythmic energy.
Why Can’t We Love Each Other introduces a simple piano and drum machine rhythm section. Lyrically there’s no surprise given the song’s title. It’s Juliana gone hippie - you know, all Peace & Love.
Some fans will already be familiar with Butterflies from the previous year or two, not least as it has previously appeared on a Daytrotter session. As Juliana mentions in her track by track notes, the song was inspired by a dream where she was surrounded by butterflies. Here, she brings them back to life. The music captures that ethereal dreamworld quality with delicate touches and her voice hitting some near breathless high notes.
Juliana returns to behavioural introspection commonplace throughout her career on What Is Wrong. She doesn’t have an answer for sadness or lack of communication in herself and others. But this is not despair. It just asks the question - why?
By track 6 we hit a first for Juliana. An instrumental, appropriately titled Unsung. Pedants who have pointed to 1993‘s Batwing and 2007‘s This Is What I Think Of You should note that there are vocals if not words on them. Unsung is her first instrumental. Blah. There’s electric guitar here too, but not how you’d expect.
A pleasant little diversion before the album reveals its most surprising lyrics as it moves on to Evan, dedicated to Juliana’s frequent musical collaborator for more than two decades and Mr Lemonheads himself, Evan Dando. There’s no ambiguity about the perspective of the songwriter or who the song is intended for. Juliana has never written lyrics quite like this before. Somehow, with its delicate tone and bittersweet lyrical touch the listener avoids feeling like an aural voyeur and is drawn into the content with affection and warmth. It’s one the most beautiful songs Juliana has ever written.
“I’ve tried to write you off but can’t so I’ll give up.
Evan, I just love you I guess.”
After a delightfully casual electric guitar solo, Juliana returns with vocal emotion to repeat the last line.
Let’s Go Home is the most ‘DIY’ sounding track on the album with a simple drum machine loop prominent in the mix. Unlike the other tracks it doesn’t sound quite finished and to these ears is the most disappointing song here. These ears are not James Parker’s though who describes the song positively in his evocative style that spreads across the rather splendid liner notes.
Then to I Picked You Up, already an established fan favourite after its appearance on 2008’s Live at Lime session. Some fans wondered if it would survive Juliana’s selection for the album given its genesis in her personal past, but with hindsight it just had to appear on Peace & Love. A song about fate, love and hope it fits perfectly. It still sounds gorgeous.
Faith In Our Friends is perhaps the album’s most accessible song with an immediately catchy melody, driven by an acoustic guitar rhythm in parts and some nice little dynamics. Again, the theme suits the album. In times of need, in times of sadness, there is always your friends.
Hatfield aficionados / trainspotters / nutcases will note that I’m Disappearing contains musical traces of I Wish from the 2009 Honor Downloads.
The trackfinds Juliana, not for the first time in her career, singing about anorexia. She’s written and sung about her personal suffering from the disorder before. One hopes that in the future she may not need to revisit this theme but if so her audience will again be there to listen and empathise. Whatever you need, Juliana.
The album closes with Dear Anonymous addressed to a stalker from the recipient’s point of view. With a mix of questions and wish to understand the stalker’s motive the song on first analysis appears a curious choice for the last one. However, as it reaches its own conclusion so does the album’s overall theme:
"I’m just singing into the void, just trying to say my piece/peace
I thank god I got no real enemies
I killed them all with kindness so we could live in peace"
As Juliana once sang:
Forever and ever.
"I've never done a record without an engineer before. I've always wanted to do something completely alone to see if it was a different experience, and it was. It was very freeing. I just felt really unencumbered by anyone else's opinions or anyone sort of pointing me in any kind of direction. It wasn't really planned, the end result. It just kind of came out of me, and that's the dryness of it: The raw production is a result of me not really knowing what I was doing. Not using a lot of the technology that I could've used gave a new aspect on things. There is no reverb or anything on any of the tracks." (Juliana Hatfield, January 2010)
Read more on the album's themes and the recording process in a Q & A interview at Boston Magazine.
You can listen to a phone interview with Juliana at The University of San Diego Student Radio, although a word of warning - there is a loud extended burst of white noise at the end of the interview (turn it off after Juliana says goodbye 25 minutes in if you value your ears)
Juliana also talks about the recording process of Peace & Love in another phone interview with Patrick Ogle for Gearwire.
"it’s been a long time since Hatfield put out a record so warm and affecting, so hopeful in its examination of loneliness and pain, and just plain comforting."
Michael Fortes, Popdose
"what makes her so unique is that she has one of the purest and prettiest voices in the rock genre and manages to marry it perfectly to straight-up guitar riffs"
"Modest atmosphere, fearless honesty"
"Her songwriting and performances are unforced like never before in her career and her voice has never sounded better"
"Hatfield is at her best when she's in full-on confessional mode" 3/5
Jonathan Keefe, Slant
"Peace and Love has a real organic feel to it throughout, filled with strummy acoustic guitars and Hatfield's rich, emotive voice that add up to a collection of heartfelt, intimate songs." 7/10
Tim Hinely, Blurt
"What might seem at first to be a darkly solitary album turns out to be subtly strong and affirming." "4/5
Neil Carver, Eat Sleep Drink Music
"As Hatfield as always done, she seems content to produce music from within herself in this effort. With the grittiness of the '90s washed away, the album reveals a soft honesty."
Michelle O'Brien, Ink
"An admirable change in pace, it sounds sparse but crystal clear, with Hatfield’s radio-friendly vocals having a very pure quality." 3/5
Terry Mulcahy, Wears The Trousers Magazine
"it flows as a proper old-fashioned album, shifting tones subtly over its 12 songs"
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic
"A girl and a guitar can be a powerful thing. If that girl is Juliana Hatfield, you know that it will be an enjoyable experience. " 3/5
Robyn Gatsby, The Fire Note
"the songstress revisits some familiar themes in her deceptively straightforward compositions, underscoring mournful realizations with bonhomie" 3/4
Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times
Peace And Love, Juliana Hatfield’s latest album, will be released on February 16, 2010 on Ye Olde Records. Hatfield, of course, has a long history of DIY endeavors – from her trailblazing days with Boston indie band the Blake Babies to her recent releases on Ye Olde Records, the label she founded in 2005 – but with Peace And Love she reaches a new level of independence. She produced and engineered the album herself and played all the instruments, including acoustic and electric guitars, piano, harmonica and drum machine.
“I’ve produced records before but I was always in a studio with professional engineers. So it was definitely a learning process for me,” says Hatfield, who was ready to strip things down after her critically acclaimed 2008 album, How To Walk Away, which was a full studio production. “I always like to try things I’ve never done before and I‘d been yearning to record myself.”
Hatfield had just purchased her brother’s eight-track digital recorder and moved into a Cambridge apartment with a back room that had excellent natural acoustics, so the time was right. “I was able to follow every instinct without worrying that anyone was going to think it was a kooky idea,” she recalls. “I just wanted to do something simple.”
The result is an incredibly intimate collection of songs, expertly capturing the loneliness and collateral damage borne of broken relationships yet adamantly refusing to remain broken. In the liner notes, Boston Phoenix music writer James Parker gives it a name: “Survivor-music – because even at their most palpitatingly fragile, your songs have always been built to last. Well-made, strong-boned, fit to be played on streetcorners and station platforms.”
Just as Hatfield stripped down the recording process, the characters that populate Peace And Love are ready to shed their convoluted lives. The lilting “Why Can’t We Love Each Other” answers its own question by acknowledging that love is a choice: “we can make our lives a song/will it be a blues or a hymn/a dirge or a psalm/it could be so simple.” But there’s the rub, of course: it could be so simple…if it weren’t for our propensity to muck things up.
From the plucked Elizabethan chords that introduce the opening “Peace And Love” and the feedback-drenched “What Is Wrong” to “Unsung,” Hatfield’s first-ever instrumental, and the closing “Dear Anonymous,” written from the point of view of a victim who finds empathy for her stalker, the collection is both compelling and surprising. “Faith In Our Friends” celebrates those who “think you’re just right the way you are” while Hatfield gains fresh perspective on her complex relationship with longtime friend Evan Dando on the exquisite, ethereal “Evan.”
Peace And Love is Hatfield’s 11th solo album and follows last year’s How To Walk Away, which was hailed as “rueful and gorgeous,” by Entertainment Weekly, which gave the album an A-. “After 20 years, the songstress still packs a wallop on her 10th album, featuring edgy tales of heartbreak sung with that classic sweetness,” said Newsweek, naming it a “Checklist” pick of the week upon its release while Spin pronounced it “vital,” awarding it three out of four stars. Her autobiography, entitled When I Grow Up, was published by Wiley & Sons in September 2008.
Hatfield first came to prominence in her teens as a founding member of the Blake Babies. After four independent albums with the group, she signed to Atlantic as a solo artist and had a string of modern-rock hits (including “My Sister,” “Spin The Bottle” and “Universal Heartbeat”). She left the label in 1998, signing to Zoe Records (a Rounder Records imprint) and releasing four well-regarded albums, including 2004’s In Exile Deo, named as one of that year’s 10 best albums by The New York Times’ Jon Pareles. In 2005, Hatfield came full circle, returning to her independent roots and founding Ye Olde Records.