Juliana Hatfield - Peace And Love
I think I speak for pretty much every teenage boy who was into alternative music in the early '90s when I say, I love Juliana Hatfield. Plain and simple. That's why I was devastated to hear that 2008's How To Walk Away was being billed as her farewell album. Imagine my excitement then when I caught wind of the Hatfield's new album Peace and Love.
In How To Walk Away, Hatfield delivered one of, if not the, strongest albums of her career. It was a big, bold and confident sounding record with one memorable track after another. On Peace and Love she has definitely dialed that back.
The new album is far more minimal in arrangement than its immediate predecessor. Many of the songs, like the title track, consist of precious little more than Hatfield's vocals and a strum. While her vocals are as heartfelt as ever, betraying nary a hint of her years, they simply aren't strong enough to carry track upon track on their own.
There are a handful of songs with hooks and interesting flourishes. The instrumental "Unsung" does a wonderful job of storytelling with sound alone, while "Let's Go Home" gives us a toe-tapping boom-chick-boom.
While How To Walk Away featured prominent thread of defiance, the new collection of songs has a far more introspective and vulnerable feel. Songs like "Evan" (a note to Evan Dando) and "The End of the War" are touching emotionally, but that doesn't make you want to listen to them repeatedly. More engaging are Hatfield's songs of redemption such as "Faith In Our Friends". Unfortunately, those songs are few and far between here.
I'm glad to have Juliana Hatfield back and making music. She is a very important voice in music and an icon of my teenage years. However, Peace and Love is not essential for any but the most diehard Hatfield fan.
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