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Review Fix Exclusive: Blake Babies’ Juliana Hatfield and John Strohm Talk Vinyl Re-Release And More

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Review Fix Exclusive: Blake Babies’ Juliana Hatfield and John Strohm Talk Vinyl Re-Release And More

Patrick Hickey Jr, with a great interview for Review Fix with John and Juliana reflecting on the recently reissued 1993 Blake Babies compilation:

Review Fix: What made this album special for you when it was originally released?

JH: Well, it was a compilation of a lot of stuff that had already been released so for me personally it wasn’t so crucial that it was even put together. But I think it was nice for a lot of people out there who maybe hadn’t heard the original albums to be able to grab one single overview that contained a bunch of songs from a bunch of different places so that they could get a taste of the band.

JS: I enjoyed compiling this album, but it was intended to be a sort of retrospective once the band was in the process of breaking up. It was really emotional for us at the time, but I think we all believed we were on our way to more significant career accomplishments after Blake Babies. It was true for each of us I suppose, but not necessarily in the careers we intended. But I think it’s undeniable that our band launched Juliana as a force in popular music in the 90s, and any ambivalence I might have felt at the time has resolved into feeling very proud of what we all did together.

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Fave Five: Juliana Hatfield | PopMatters

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Fave Five: Juliana Hatfield | PopMatters

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Evan Sawdey, writing for PopMatters:

...for 2019, Hatfield continues her potent brand of catchy songwriting but marries it to lyrics dealing with ennui, alienation, and the difficulty of fitting into modern society with her new studio album Weird. In many ways, the vibe of the album is a bit of a throwback to her early-2000s records, but her maturity and wit is on full display even as she juggles some treacherous topics, just as her idols like the Kinks and the Merge Records family have done before.

So to celebrate the occasion, PopMatters asked Hatfield to fill out her own "Fave Five", this time choosing the topic of "Top Five Albums That Were Spun the Most on the Record Player of My Pre-Pubescence". Given how much she nods her heroes on Weird, it was as fitting a tribute as we could've asked for.

Find out which 5 albums Juliana mentions in the article:

https://www.popmatters.com/fave-five-juliana-hatfield-2627933426.html

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Interview -  Alone with her guitar, Juliana Hatfield embraces confusion on Weird | GuitarPlayer.com

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Interview - Alone with her guitar, Juliana Hatfield embraces confusion on Weird | GuitarPlayer.com

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Jim Beaugez, interviewing Juliana for GuitarPlayer.com:

[JB] Were there times on Weird when you dug particularly deep into the guitar tones?

[JH] Yeah, there were lots of sonic experiments, like the solo on “Lost Ship.” We recorded the guitar solo direct into the Neve console. No amplifier. That’s how I got that cool sound.

That’s also how Nirvana did “Territorial Pissings” [on Nevermind].

Oh, did they? I love the sound of it. It sounds like something’s broken. In the song “It’s So Weird,” we did the solo through a Leslie speaker, which I haven’t done much on my records. My favorite pedal was a Zvex Fuzz Factory, which I played on some stuff on this album. It’s my new favorite pedal.

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Revolutionary Punk - Interview with Juliana Hatfield | Weird Magazin

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Revolutionary Punk - Interview with Juliana Hatfield | Weird Magazin

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Christine Stonat, interviewing Juliana about Weird for Weird:

weird: As to be heard on your new album “Weird” your music might sound a little more “pop” today but still has this revolutionary rock punk attitude that comes with your voice and sound and often poetical lyrics. If you look back on over 25 years of your solo music what would you say has changed the most within your music?

Juliana Hatfield: I think my voice has changed a little — it has gotten a little bit lower (but not a lot). And I think my lyrics are a little less about me and all of my feelings and a little more about how I see the world around me. But I am still a revolutionary punk!

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Interview - Can’t Help Myself: a Conversation with Juliana Hatfield | Talkhouse

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Interview - Can’t Help Myself: a Conversation with Juliana Hatfield | Talkhouse

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Juliana is interviewed by Chris Collingwood (of Fountains of Wayne) in an article at Talkhouse:

Chris: It seems like whatever you’re singing about, you have an inherent tunefulness. Even on Pussycat, where you’re singing about horrible things, it’s catchy and it draws you in with great melodies.

Juliana: I can’t help myself. I can’t change who I am. I’m more appreciating it now. I’ve been frustrated like anyone. You feel like you’re repeating yourself, and I have these habits, and I can’t break the habits but really it’s just who I am. My musical persona—I was born with it, I think. Sometimes it feels frustrating because I can’t really alter it, or if I did it would probably come across as inauthentic.

Chris: Is it ever the case that the narrator in your songs isn’t you?

Juliana: In most of my songs, when people assume I’m talking about myself, they’re usually right. I don’t really take on other personas. Generally, I don’t put myself in the mind of people that are not me. The new record is all me, totally. Everything on this record is very personal.

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Interview - How the Awesome Power of Solitude Fueled Juliana Hatfield's New Album, 'Weird' | AllMusic

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Interview - How the Awesome Power of Solitude Fueled Juliana Hatfield's New Album, 'Weird' | AllMusic

Chris Steffen, interviewing Juliana for AllMusic:

AllMusic: "It's So Weird" really lays bare your contentment with and inclination towards solitude.

Hatfield: I was intending to have it be an album about the comfort of aloneness, or the comfort of living in a small space and not venturing outside of a small radius, outside of a few blocks. I was going to focus on all of the things that went on in this small apartment. I know from experience that there are people out there who don’t really understand how being alone can be a wonderful experience. For me, I really love solitude, and it’s like medicine. After I’ve been with other people, out in public, I always feel a little bit weakened, and I need to go be alone, and that gives me my strength back. I think a lot of people are afraid of being alone, they don’t want to be alone, a lot of people have the goal to find a partner to share their lives with, but I’ve never been like that. I understand that it makes certain people uncomfortable.

That song starts with a conversation I was having with my brother, and he was asking me, “Don’t you ever need your arms around someone?” and I’m like, “No, I don’t. Is that weird?” I’m a little sensitive about it, because I think people are going to think I’m weird, or they’re not going to believe me. There are always people who are like, “You just haven’t found the right person yet,” and people who say that to me just don’t understand what it is to be content, alone.

The excellent interview continues to expand upon the solitude theme of Weird. Recommended.

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Video - All Right, Yeah

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Video - All Right, Yeah

The second video from Weird is animated, colorized, and directed by Jed Davis.

Juliana, speaking to Consequence of Sound, where the video premiered today:

The repeated “All Right, Yeah” in the choruses was my attempt to write a big, dumb hook that people could sing along to at hockey games or football games or other sports events. I was thinking of Blur’s “Song 2” and its “Woo Hoo!” choruses. I want to be the song that comes on in the stadium after a big goal, or touchdown, or whatever. I also had an alternate image of drunken pals with their arms around each others’ shoulders, jumping up and down and yelling “All Right, Yeah!” all together as a group, at some celebratory gathering like a wedding reception or graduation party. I wanted this song to work in these kinds of contexts. I don’t know if I succeeded. Probably not. My dreams for my songs are often at odds with the world outside of my head.

Read the whole article in Consequence of Sound's Origins series - "a new music feature in which we give an artist we like a chance to dig into what inspired their latest song":

https://consequenceofsound.net/2019/01/juliana-hatfield-origins-all-right-yeah-video/

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield Blocks Out the World As We Know It and She Feels Fine - Albumism

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield Blocks Out the World As We Know It and She Feels Fine - Albumism

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From an excellent interview by Grant Walters for Albumism:

GW: You mentioned this sort of default mode that you adhere to when you’re writing songs. I’m curious to know as an artist where and when your observations of the world around you engage? What ignites your motivation to create a piece of music?

JH: Well, I guess it depends on where my head is at while I’m writing. When I was making Pussycat before ...Olivia Newton-John, I was caught up in national current events, and that was kind of all-consuming at the time, and that’s just what was on my mind. It was my reaction to everything going on coming up to the presidential election. And then, when I was younger, I was just totally self-absorbed in writing about my own angst and anguish and my emotional problems. I was just really wrapped up in that.

I think now, rather than just looking inward, I’m trying to place myself in the context of the world around me a little bit more—just talking about how I see things, how I see myself in the world as it is today. With the new album, it’s seeing myself as kind of an outsider in society. It started out as wanting to make an album about the comfort of living in a very small space, and not venturing out much and having a very small radius of an existence—like, a five-block radius outside of a small apartment. And just how comforting that can be rather than isolating.

I mean, that was the concept, and it became a little bit more than that, but it was coming to terms with a solitary life and trying to see it in a positive way rather than any other way.

Grant also puts Juliana on the spot to pick her 5 favourite records of all time.

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Interview - Goldmine

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Interview - Goldmine

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Juliana is interviewed by Warren Kurtz for Goldmine, who are also giving away a couple of copies of Weird if you're happy to enter a draw by subscribing to their mailing list.

The interview covers various aspects of the new album recording and ends with a question about the UK shows in May. Juliana:

It will be with a band. I haven’t been there with a band in a long time. Todd will be playing drums. Dean Fisher will be on bass, who some remember from The Juliana Hatfield Three. In the meantime, I am working on two more videos and a short film, all from the album.

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield's hopeless devotion to Olivia Newton-John: 'Everything I do is influenced by my love for her' | Yahoo Music

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield's hopeless devotion to Olivia Newton-John: 'Everything I do is influenced by my love for her' | Yahoo Music

Lyndsey Parker, writing for Yahoo Music at the conclusion of an interview with Juliana focused on the Olivia Newton-John covers album:

Hatfield’s next album of originals, Weird, comes out Jan. 18. So, will Weird be influenced by Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John? “I think everything I do is influenced by my love for Olivia Newton-John,” Hatfield answers. “She has an authenticity and a humility that you don’t always see in every megastar. Yeah, she put on the costumes and the hair and makeup and all that jazz, but she was never pushing it too hard. It seemed like she always had this sort of quiet confidence in who she was, and she didn’t have to pretend to be anything that she wasn’t. I will always respond to that in some way.”

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Interview with The Safes on their Juliana Hatfield Tribute

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Interview with The Safes on their Juliana Hatfield Tribute

Huge thanks to long term friend of liveontomorrow.co.uk and regular contributor Carlos Lopez for conducting this interview with Frankie O'Malley of The Safes:

Chicago's garage power pop multi instrumentalists and band of brothers, The Safes, have recently released a heartfelt tribute to the one and only Juliana Hatfield. A limited red coloured 7" on American Laundromat Records with covers of fan favorites 'Universal Heart-beat' and 'I See You' with accompanying vídeos for both tracks that have received the seal of approval from Juliana herself.

(CL) Juliana Hatfield has a very extensive musical career. It goes back to her start in Boston's thriving music underground scene in the mid 80's with The Blake Babies. How did you discover Juliana's music and become a fan?

(FO'M) We first heard Juliana Hatfield played on the best radio station in Chicago, WLUW, regularly when "Hey Babe" came out. We all just loved the songs and the singing so much! We’ve been fans ever since!

Were any other songs considered besides 'Universal Heart-beat' and 'I See You' for the tribute?

No, not really... I mean doing "My Sister" and "Spin the Bottle" was talked about a little after we made our decision to record the other two songs. But it was really an afterthought. So we just went with our gut picks!

Learning these songs was a challenge; Juliana Hatfield has so many gifts as a songwriter!

How did the rehearsals go learning the songs as a band before recording?

Ha! For The Safes, rehearsals for this recording session were particularly unique! We had asked Ted Ansani and Mike Zelenko of Material Issue (one of our all-time favorite bands!) to be our rhythm section for this single. And working with them was such a thrill! Very easy! Very laid back and 100% professional and tons of fun! Not everyone just gets to pick a lifetime favorite and have them be into it and for it to work so well! It really was special and super fun! Ted and Mike are aces! And learning these songs was a challenge; Juliana Hatfield has so many gifts as a songwriter! The chords in "I See You", speaking for myself, I know I learned some new fingers for that one! Also she can change the melody on every verse and have the melodies improve saving the best for the last verse. This skill of hers is a super unique thing about her songs! Not everyone does this, most songwriters have a melody for the verse, one for the chorus, maybe a bridge but Juliana Hatfield has these songs where the verse melody changes every verse. It's so cool I love it! My brother Patrick writes songs like that too; I wish I could. And learning the left hand keyboard part for “Universal Heart-Beat” was very difficult!

Every bass run is just little different from the other and they are all so on the money.

Whose idea was it to work with Steve Albini who has worked with so many legendary bands like Pixies and Nirvana?

Mine! Seemed such a natural for this single and turned out to be hands down a very good call if I do say so myself!

How did the recording process go compared to your previous experiences making a record?

Um, I'd say very similar in most ways! The Safes are always prepared to knock it out of the park in the studio. No fussing about. Steve was awesome! Very professional, fast, very smart, very easy to work with. Gotta say it was one hell of an experience to record two Juliana Hatfield songs with Steve Albini and Ted & Mike. It's hard to express exactly but it was pretty magical I'll say!

American Laundromat Records have been very supportive of Juliana's recent recordings. Were you surprised at the opportunity to work with them?

I wouldn't say I was surprised because our dear friend Nicole Anguish of Daykamp Creative does a load of artwork for American Laundromat Records and got our music to the label owner, Joe Spadaro! But I was thrilled to find out that Joe liked The Safes enough to release a single of us doing a tribute to Juliana Hatfield for sure!!! Very happy about that!

Your videos for both tracks on the tribute are really fun to watch. Did the band had any input on the concepts or did you let the director surprise you with ideas?

We had zero to do with the music videos other than knowing and being lucky enough to be friends with two super-cool and mega-talented artists who both did amazing work making these videos!

Wendy Norton of Norton Videos created our “Universal Heart-Beat” video:

James William Glass created our “I See You” music video:

From what I have read Juliana really liked your takes on her songs. How did that make the band feel?

Well, we were over the moon when we heard that. Juliana Hatfield gave us such great feedback on our versions of her amazing songs! I mean, that really made me feel great I must say! And I know the rest of The Safes feel the same. Super rad! Thank you Juliana!

Besides Juliana what other bands have inspired The Safes?

So many it's impossible to list them all but here are some that come to mind Andalusian Dogs, The Breeders, Fetchin Bones, The Cramps, etc...

I know you have been touring recently. What's next for the band?

Well I'm proud to say The Safes have maintained a very steady schedule; write songs, record songs, release music and tour in support! So continuing to do that next should always remain what’s next for The Safes until the end of time!

Thank you Frankie for your time and sharing your memories. All the best to you and The Safes.


links for the single:
Buy the 7 inch single at American Laundromat Records
Listen at Apple Music
Listen at Spotify

other The Safes links:
Bandcamp
thesafes.com
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

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Interview - 'Become What You Are' — How An Album, Born Out Of Boston’s Early 90s Music Scene, Became A Gen-X Anthem | WGBH

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Interview - 'Become What You Are' — How An Album, Born Out Of Boston’s Early 90s Music Scene, Became A Gen-X Anthem | WGBH

Stacy Buchanan, for WGBH:

Juliana Hatfield Three’s Become What You Are just turned 25. It's hard to believe that one of Boston's most beloved albums is all grown up (and old enough to rent its own car). Reliving our own summers of '93 through the album sent us down the rabbit hole – and right to Ms. Hatfield's door.

Juliana Hatfield grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Berklee. By the time she formed the Juliana Hatfield Three with bassist Dean Fisher and drummer Todd Phillips, she had already been musically involved with the Blake Babies and the Lemonheads, as well as having a solo career. But the Juliana Hatfield Three birthed Become What You Are – and with a little help from some of the best (you just had to be there) minutes from the 90s, it charted on the Billboard 200, and its single, “Spin the Bottle," charted on the Mainstream Top 40. The album also turned Hatfield into a cultural icon, a hero for a generation of women that didn’t always see a place for themselves in the alt-rock boom of the early 90s.

It's 2018, and Hatfield is still at it. She just released her 15th studio album, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, and will be performing at the WERS Wicked Good Festival on Saturday, August 18. We caught up with her to recall the memorable Gen X moments that came from that first studio album – and the difficulties of being thrust into the limelight as a female artist, where commercial success did not connote respect.

 

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Interview with Juliana Hatfield - Goldmine Magazine

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Interview with Juliana Hatfield - Goldmine Magazine

Juliana, interviewed primarily about the Olivia album, by Warren Kurtz for Goldmine:

GM: You also taught me a few songs I didn’t know. Because of you, I finally bought the Xanadu soundtrack so that I could hear the original version of “Suspended in Time.” I also must have missed “Make a Move on Me” in 1982 on the radio, when I was listening to Quarterflash, Joan Jett and The Go-Go’s instead.

JH: “Suspended in Time” is most like a song I would have written. I love the chord progression and it felt most natural. “Make a Move on Me” was a big hit from the Physical album. You know, the album cover photo with short hair and a bandana. I changed it up to be a 4/4 rock song.

 

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Interview - Cryptic Rock, Juliana confirms she is working on a new album

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Interview - Cryptic Rock, Juliana confirms she is working on a new album

Juliana, interviewed by Cryptic Rock, with some new album news:

CrypticRock.com – You have this new album, and you have continued to keep yourself busy through the years. Just in 2017 you released Pussycat, which was another really wonderful selection of original songs balancing youth and maturity. You mentioned you always have new ideas popping up, that in mind, are you working on any new music?

Juliana Hatfield – I am. I have already recorded some tracks with drums. I started work on my next album, I am writing it, recording it, and going to go back to the studio in early May to keep working on it. It’s all originals. 

CrypticRock.com – Excellent! That is a very quick turn over between album. Is it safe to say creative inspiration is flowing freely for you?

Juliana Hatfield – Yea, I feel good about the creative part of me, it’s in really healthy shape. If I want to be a working musician, I have to work, like anyone else. That’s how I survive, that is how I make a living. I have to keep working; just because I had a record come out recently, doesn’t mean I should just sit around and toss myself with champagne. I have to keep working, that’s what people do. 

 

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The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #132: Juliana Hatfield - The Rumpus.net

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The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #132: Juliana Hatfield - The Rumpus.net

Juilana, interviewed by Allyson McCabe for an excellent article in The Rumpus:

Rumpus: I think you can even see it at the end of Grease, in her transformation from Sandra Dee to Sandy, although it takes the form of a makeover and a cigarette and some spandex pants.

 

Hatfield: I choose to look at the end of Grease in a different way. It’s too depressing to think, Oh, you just have to whore it up and you’ll get everything. You’ll get the man. You’ll get the happiness. I think at the end of Grease it’s more like she’s acknowledging that this is just a role that girls play, it was a wink, and just playful. And I think that’s what saves the ending of Grease. It’s a role she’s playing, but we’re all in the know.

Having said that, I think another part of why I have such an affinity for Olivia Newton-John is because I have had my own struggles with being perceived as a “good girl.” She’s really seen as someone who’s cute and sweet, and people have put her in that box, and I feel like some people have wanted to put me in that same kind of box. Sometimes I also feel like I’m limited by my own sense of right and wrong.

Rumpus: Tell me more.

Hatfield: Sandy’s character was kind of cursed to be a good girl, not just being perceived that way, but actually that is her nature, and she can’t escape it. And I felt that way too, like I was an outcast in high school because my peers were drinking, and having sex, and doing drugs, and I wasn’t and I couldn’t. I still wanted to hang out with these people, and they were my friends, but I felt like an outcast because I was not breaking the rules.

If you read just one of the interviews Juliana has given on the Olivia Newton-John covers album, make it this one.

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield talks about ‘exciting challenge’ of covering Olivia Newton-John | The Current

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield talks about ‘exciting challenge’ of covering Olivia Newton-John | The Current

JG: Do you think that your fans listening might reassess your catalog as well, listening to it alongside these Olivia Newton-John songs?

 

JH: Maybe they will discover, as I am, that I have been more influenced by her musically than I ever realized. I thought I just loved her music, but, now when I go back and listen to my stuff, I can see similarities in some of the ways that I layer vocal harmonies against melody, and the way I orchestrate some of the backing keyboards and guitars and things. I think theres a Olivia Newton-John influence in some of my music. Just melodically, I love really pretty, melodious tunes and that’s something I love about her. I love the kind of melodies that move a lot. Yeah, I think there are similarities between us.

 

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Interview  - Juliana Hatfield Brings the 'Magic' to Her Olivia Newton-John Covers Album - PopMatters

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Interview - Juliana Hatfield Brings the 'Magic' to Her Olivia Newton-John Covers Album - PopMatters

Juliana, interviewed by David Chiu for PopMatters:

PM: Did you have a particular criteria in selecting the songs?

JH: It was stuff that I knew. I was choosing [songs] from those five albums that I know well and spent the most time listening to. And then it was either the songs that I liked or the songs that I liked the most, or the songs that I think I can shake up a little bit and give a new spin, like "I Honestly Love You", "Dancin' 'Round and 'Round", or "Totally Hot". The songwriting is still great, and there's something in them that I thought I could make the songs my own.

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