New sounds from close to home
JULIANA HATFIELD THERE’S ALWAYS ANOTHER GIRL
To borrow from the title of Juliana Hatfield’s latest solo work, there may indeed always be another girl - to fill stadiums, pop charts, and reality shows, but it’s become clear the woman herself is not so easily replaced.
With each album, the Cambridge-based singer-songwriter has ever more firmly staked out a steady, sure path marked not by fluffy frivolity (in other words, she won’t be filling stadiums, topping the pop charts, or shopping with the Kardashians anytime soon), but by the keen-eyed perspective of an artist whose talent has finally outstripped her fame, rather than vice versa.
Hatfield has described her 11th studio album as being organized around the theme of failure (there’s even a song named after that sad state, and the semi-autobiographical title track has been dedicated to embattled actress Lindsay Lohan). “People love it when a beautiful woman self-destructs,’’ Hatfield muses over the song’s plaintive melody.
The irony, of course, is that Hatfield has again delivered a crisp collection of tunes that mostly succeeds (the synth-soggy plodder “Batteries’’ and a trifling “Sex and Drugs’’ are exceptions). We get trenchant indie pop (“Wasting Time’’); low-slung, Stonesy poses (“Don’t Wanna Dance’’); even a slurry Rickie Lee Jones-style boho ballad (“Vagabond’’). Longtime cohorts Ed Valauskas (bass) and Pete Caldes (drums) lend solid support throughout, while Hatfield handles all of the electric and acoustic guitars. See? Not so easy to replace after all. (Out next Tuesday)
Juliana Hatfield plays at Brighton Music Hall tomorrow, 9 p.m. Tickets: $14. 800-745-3000. www.ticketmaster.com