It’s a confusing time in music when an artist as well known and established as Juliana Hatfield has to take donations to bankroll her new record. You wonder why a label wouldn’t be willing to underwrite such a gifted songwriter. But then track 12 comes on, in which Hatfield moans the dreary chorus “The batteries are dead, totally dead, completely dead” about a cellphone and you remember that she probably did too many drugs with Evan Dando and is now slightly out of her mind.
But it’s not all bad. Many of the other 13 songs on her 11th studio album (financed by pledgemusic, with a percentage going to animal shelters) show flashes of the melodic brilliance of her early 90s output, like the sweetly sung Failure, the easy groove of Thousands Of Guitars and the bluesy boogie of Don’t Wanna Dance. They create goodwill that songs like the title track, a plea to go easy on Lindsay Lohan, work hard to destroy. There must be something about continual self-sabotage that Hatfield can relate to.
Top track: Failure