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weird.jpg

Weird (2019)


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Weird (2019)


Weird (2019)

Juliana Hatfield

  1. Staying In
  2. It's So Weird
  3. Sugar
  4. Everything's For Sale
  5. All Right, Yeah
  6. Broken Doll
  7. Receiver
  8. Lost Ship
  9. Paid To Lie
  10. No Meaning
  11. Do It To Music

Bonus 7" Track List

  1. On Your Feet
  2. The Family Stain

A video was released on December 14, 2018. Lost Ship was directed by Rachel Lichtman and filmed in Deer Island at Winthrop, Massachussetts.

A second video for All Right, Yeah was released on January 17, 2019. Animated, Colorized, and Directed by Jed Davis, the video premiered at Consequence of Sound, where Juliana offered thoughts on the origins of the song.

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.

From American Laundromat Records blog post when announcing the album:

Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Sunshine Boys) and Todd Philips (Lemonheads, The Juliana Hatfield Three) each played drums on multiple songs while Hatfield played all of the other instruments (and some additional drums).

Availability

Weird was released worldwide by American Laundromat Records on January 18, 2019 through the usual download and streaming services.

Vinyl, CD, Cassette, and Bonus 7 inch vinyl was available in a variety of specialist bundles at https://www.alr-music.com/products/juliana-hatfield-weird There was also availability through Cargo Records in the UK.

Album Bio

Laura Fisher wrote liner notes as an "Album Bio", which was effectively the first review. An excerpt:

Why wouldn’t you want to block out the world? Hatfield asks us. Outside the home are people who misread your facial expressions (“Staying In”), whose gestures of love feel like efforts to possess you (“It’s So Weird”), who drag you into a vortex of lies and gaslighting (“Paid to Lie”), and who have allowed every last shred of human experience to be commodified, from dignity, religion, and privacy to fake IDs and opioids (“Everything’s For Sale”). Outside the glowing orb of independence are other people’s demands, their power plays, their lies and misinterpretations. Who needs it?

Reviews

Adrian Breeman, Cryptic Rock (4/5):

Nearly two years later > > [after Pussycat]> > , with other projects mixed between, Weird is no less powerful, and the topic—Hatfield herself—is no less important. The melodies on Weird are more inviting, even if the topic is more personal and cathartic.

Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald :

Explorations of threats from the outside world fill up “Weird.” And Hatfield sets them all to her expected, absurdly consistent hooks and bright, tight melodies. She has written plenty of personal songs in 30 years (over nearly 30 albums from half a dozen bands), but this one shines in the hot spotlight of intense intimacy. Sometimes over sad chord changes, more often over sparkling indie pop, she sings about wanting to be alone, the comfort of a solitary life.

James Weiskittel, Soundblab (10/10):

...with Weird, Hatfield has impressively channeled a potent combination of her trademark angst and a ‘singer/songwriter’ vibe into what is easily her strongest batch of songs in a decade

Bank Robber Music:

Hints of everything good about rock music here, from the Crazy Horse noodling that ends “Staying In” to the new wave synth hits of “Sugar” to the chunky Cheap Trick chords of “Paid To Lie.”

The Soul Of A Clown:

Juliana Hatfield already has a fan base full of extremely devoted fans and there is absolutely no doubt that they will love this. What’s really interesting is just how relevant and current her sound is (even though it follows a style she has had for years). Given how huge an act like Courtney Barnett has become, it makes you think that this release could attract a whole new group of younger fans.

Barry Divola, Sydney Morning Herald (3/5):

...two highlights are All Right, Yeah and Do It To Music, both joyous testaments to strapping on headphones and dancing alone to make everything a whole lot better

Laura Snapes, The Guardian (3/5):

On Pussycat, from 2017, Hatfield wrote captivatingly horrible songs about Donald Trump that included a graphic vision of him having sex and a demand to melt Kellyanne Conway’s face off. Weird turns inwards, detailing the 51-year-old’s enduring awkwardness with a self-effacing candour – expressed in her forever young voice – that matches youthful successors such as Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy. Her hair’s not right; her shirt is stained. Everything’s for Sale lists society’s shopping list (“altered DNA, self-cleaning ovens”) over a stubborn, choppy guitar that intimates Hatfield’s refusal to sell out.

Chris Parker, No Depression:

Weird is an infectious listen with perhaps the deepest batch of winning melodies in Hatfield’s career, and fine, world-wizened lyrics that capture the feeling of helplessness and confusion endemic to modern life. In a strange way it feels to me like a distant answer to Liz Phair’s 20-something provocation Exile in Guyville, confirming that we’re still expats and that the strange/awful feeling in your stomach is perfectly normal.

Dan Potter, BeatRoute:

Feelings of being out of step with the world emanate from the mellow track “It’s So Weird.” Between the sedate classic rock influenced chord choices are stories of awkwardness and relations that have gone sour over time, sung for all to hear like a big celebration of the alienation. This uneasy mellowness continues on “Sugar” as Hatfield croons “Sugar, I hate your guts, Sugar I love you so much” as the acoustic guitar picking seems to quote George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.”

Elle Henriksen, mxdwn:

Hatfield closes out the album with “Do It To Music,” a comment on her rebellious attachment to music: “When I wanna block out the world, I do it to music.” She lets us in on her secret coping mechanism, her self-instructed education, her infinite mentality. Music just might be the universal language that we can all understand.

Jedd Beaudoin, Spectrum Culture, (3.25/5):

Weird is ultimately about the ties that don’t bind and the binds that we find ourselves in, whether romantic or personal, and Hatfield seems like the best candidate to deliver that state of the (dis)union.

Russ Holsten, SLUG Magazine:

The truth of the matter is that Weird is a guitar record. Hatfield is the real deal. She can give you the hollow echo of Jerry Garcia, the pre-grunge sludge of Crazy Horse and the pop drive of Girlfriend-era Matthew Sweet. But make no mistake, Hatfield has her own unique guitar sound, and she lets that sound rip through this entire record. The best example of this is on the stunning track “Lost Ship.” She sings: “I wanna ride in a spaceship in my mind.” Just when you settle in to that pure sugar buzz a blistering guitar arrives halfway through the song—it’s lush, fuzzy and atmospheric with plenty of precision. It drives the Hatfield sound safely home.

Michelle Lindsey, Highway Queens:

Weird is the sound of an artist embracing herself and who she has become with pride and grace. It’s a refreshing and reassuring listen for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. Weirdos of the world unite.

Frank Valish, Under The Radar, (8/10):

In all, listening to Weird brings to mind Hatfield's 1995's album Only Everything. Coming after her breakout album Become What You Are, with The Juliana Hatfield Three, Only Everything took the mold and stretched it. The melodic touch and lyrical examination remained but there was something new, something more eccentric, something, to steal her own album title's word, weird. The pleasures of Weird reward frequent listening. It is an album that begs repeating as soon as one reaches the last bouncing notes of "Do It to Music."

Lee Zimmerman, Paste, (7.3/10):

...Weird provides an apt analogy for those who feel out of touch with a world that’s so askew. To some degree, it should also provide assurance for all those who feel the same.

Closed Captioned:

The hooks are still there on songs like “Receiver” and on “Lost Ship,” but Hatfield seems determined to show us another side and it’s all wonderful in its representation. Whatever compelled Hatfield to return to releasing music on the regular, we welcome it if albums like Weird are the end result.

Interviews

From an Albumism interview with Grant Walters:

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.


Radio interview with Garry Foster begins after 22 minutes:

Artwork

T-shirt Designs

T-shirts available from American Laundromat Records.