music review: Juliana Hatfield

Juliana Hatfield
Peace & Love
Ye Olde Records

When I profiled Juliana Hatfield six years ago, she told me: “My instinct is that I want people to cry. It sounds pretentious but it means the song has power.” Hatfield has always written about some of the most tenuous moments in one’s life: rejection, unrequited love, regretful decisions and longing. Her songs resonate because she can be so frank and honest. Her voice plays a part in the message as she changes it to fit the mood. And the layered combinations found in the melodies drive home the messages even more.

Hatfield captivates her audience with a unique flair for being honest and straightforward in her craftsmanship and in her songwriting. I’ve always liked Hatfield’s moody songs as I can easily relate to the topics Hatfield frequently sings about. Peace & Love definitely sounds much more mature than earlier releases– completely introspective, open, and quieter. It’s a stripped down, simpler Hatfield. The Berklee College of Music graduate writes and sings in a style which embraces her faults and weaknesses. She’s not resigned to these emotions, but seems more accepting of herself and exudes confidence. Stand-outs include: the wistful, melodic “Why Can’t We Love Each Other,” the haunting, jangly “What is Wrong,” the bittersweet twang of “Evan,” and the lilting, contemplative “I’m Disappearing.”

Hatfield sings from an experienced, tattered heart. I can listen to Peace & Love repeatedly [and DO], it is just that first-rate. She also did everything herself: songwriting, performing, recording, engineering, and mixing. Hatfield continues to impress with her musical prowess. She is a true talent– a unique, vulnerable yet street smart treasure.

Juliana’s website

Thank you to Bobbie Gale of Big Hassle Media for an advance copy of Peace and Love
[and apologies for taking so long to write my review].

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