Juliana Hatfield – How To Walk Away

August 27, 2008

With her new album, How To Walk Away, Boston based singer/songwriter Juliana Hatfield enters into Aimee Mann territory with a set of lushly, some might even say slickly produced pop songs. Hatfield worked with producer Andy Chase (Ivy, Brookline, Paco) for this one, and I mostly liked the results. Though I missed Hatfield’s gritty guitar playing, her voice and her prickly, cynical and frequently sardonic lyrics (“Just In Lust,” case in point) transplant nicely to Chase’s pop mold. (One notable exception to the pop proceedings on the album is “Now I’m Gone,” recorded and improvised in a single take by Juliana playing her guitar.) The songs are primarily about the end of relationships, presented not as tragic or mournful, but rather in the cold light of day and regarded with an often brutal realism. Though I definitely like rock Juliana more than pop Juliana, I will admit, it’s still Juliana either way, and I think this is a good change of pace for her. If you are a longtime Hatfield fan, just know that you’re in for a full on pop album, and I think you’ll enjoy How To Walk Away, perhaps more and more as you replay it. Standout cuts: “Shining On,” “This Lonely Love (featuring Richard Butler),” “So Alone” and “Such A Beautiful Girl (featuring Matthew Caws).”



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