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Juliana Hatfield: Beautiful Creature
Juliana Hatfield: Beautiful Creature
turnover time:2024-06-25 05:56:02

In the early '90s, thanks to Guns 'N Roses and Bruce Springsteen, it briefly looked like releasing two albums simultaneously would become common practice among artists with enough material to fill two conceptually divergent discs. The habit never really caught on for any number of reasons, not the least of which was that songs recorded at the same time don't lend themselves to being split up. But that hasn't stopped Juliana Hatfield from going the two-album route, making the conceptual split between Beautiful Creature and Juliana's Pony: Total System Failure apparent immediately: Creature is a wispy, quiet solo album, while Pony finds Hatfield performing with a full, loud band. The problem isn't a lack of cohesiveness; it's that the reflective Creature is filled with tracks that start well and go nowhere. Hatfield possesses an evocative voice and a gift for memorable phrases ("I say it's me or drugs / You choose drugs," from "Choose Drugs"), but her songs almost invariably improve when accompanied by a fuzzy rock band. There's fuzz in abundance on Pony, which should sound instantly familiar to anyone who lost track of Hatfield after her early-'90s flirtation with commercial success. It peters out after a while, but during its best moments ("Metal Fume Fever," "Breeders"), it finds the traction and propulsion that Creature lacks. It's nice to have the choice, but only Pony features Hatfield in top form.

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