Juliana Hatfield

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‘Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John’ Illuminates the Legend’s Timeless Songcraft | Albumism

Juliana Hatfield opens Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John with the evergreen 1974 ballad “I Honestly Love You,” its string-sweetened arpeggio intro substituted with the buzz of a pair of distorted electric guitars, giving it an uncharacteristic crunch. Hatfield’s voice is markedly saltier than Newton-John’s whipped chiffon soprano, but when the familiar first verse arrives (“maybe I hang around here / a little more than I should / we both know I’ve got somewhere else to go”), the earnestness and vulnerability of the original still gleams. It’s proof that the substance of a well-constructed song will resonate regardless of how it might get bent and reshaped through interpretation.

This is the greatness of Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John: the depth and quality of the British-Australian chanteuse’s catalog linked with Hatfield’s indie-rock lens affectionately magnifying its versatility...

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juliana hatfield sings the hits of 'old friend' olivia newton-john | NPR Weekend Edition

Juliana Hatfield was a darling of the '90s indie music scene. She played with Blake Babies and The Lemonheads and had a hit with the edgy pop song, "My Sister." Hatfield released a string of alternative albums since those days, full of distorted guitars and strong vocals. But now, longtime fans may be surprised at the gentler influence of her latest album, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John.

Hatfield says that she's considered Newton-John's music an inspirational thread for most of her creative life. The 14-track album, which was released earlier this month under American Laundromat Records, houses Hatfield's interpretations of many of Newton-John's best-known hits like "I Honestly Love You" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You" from the soundtrack of 1978's Grease, one of the films that helped make Newton-John a star. When asked if she identifies more with the character of Sandy Olsson, she says her idea of being viewed as the good girl has changed over the years.

Continue reading – and listen to the interview – here.


The Rumpus mini-interview project #132: Juliana Hatfield

Think back to your first records: not the records your parents had sitting around, but the first albums you really wanted—the ones that made it on to your Christmas wish lists. At some point, you probably grew out of those records, or at least pretended to, abandoning them for the cooler, perhaps more detached, tastes of an older friend or sibling, or maybe the local DJ. But not me, and not Juliana Hatfield.

“I have never not loved Olivia Newton-John,” she explains in a press release for her new album, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John. “Her music has brought me so much pure joy throughout my life.”

Pop music has long been reinterpreted by alternative artists, from Sonic Youth’s Madonna-inspired side project Ciccone Youth to Ryan Adams’s song-for-song reworking of Taylor Swift’s 1989. But Hatfield’s project isn’t intended as ironic. It’s a sincere tribute, and a perfect pairing of two distinct musical sensibilities.

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Juliana Hatfield: Pop, Punk—and Olivia Newton-John? | The Wall street journal

The cult favorite’s new album is a surprising tribute that reinvents songs from the 1970s darling in her own style.

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Few fans of Juliana Hatfield might have guessed that Olivia Newton-John is one of her favorite singers: Ms. Newton-John’s name appears once, in passing, in Ms. Hatfield’s “When I Grow Up: A Memoir,” and her 2012 self-titled covers album included songs by Ryan Adams, Liz Phair, Nada Surf, Teenage Fanclub and classic rockers—though no Ms. Newton-John.

But Ms. Hatfield’s new “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John” (American Laundromat), out now, is such a loving tribute that it makes her admiration clear. Ms. Hatfield takes 13 songs from the singer’s impressive catalog and remakes them in her own signature style in which pop, punk and indie rock unite.

A joy in itself, “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John” demands a fresh visit to the body of work of both artists—one of whom  found a cult following amid a rocky, three-decade-long career, the other achieving global acclaim with unpretentious charisma...

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New Music Friday: April 13 | NPR All songs considered 

NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers join host Robin Hilton for a quick run-through some of the most essential new albums out on April 13, starting with the Korean surf-rock band Say Sue Me and their wistful and gritty album Where We Were Together. Also on the show: Singer Juliana Hatfield's inspired and uplifting tribute to Olivia Newton John, the distorted chaos of A Place To Bury Strangers and more.

Featured Albums:

1. Say Sue Me: Where We Were Together
2. Juliana Hatfield: Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton John

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine 

When Juliana Hatfield was a kid, Olivia Newton-John was the first pop star to cast a spell upon her. The spell never lifted, not when Hatfield fell for punk as a teen, nor when she became a rocker herself in the 1980s, so there was only one path she could choose: to record an album where she could pledge allegiance to her idol. Make no mistake, 2018's Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John isn't ironic, nor is it an attempt to turn a perennially uncool pop singer hip...

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10 New Albums to Stream Now | Rolling Stone

Juliana Hatfield, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John
Pop supernova Olivia Newton-John and alt-pop heroine Juliana Hatfield both possess winsome sopranos, and this delightful album filters Newton-John's biggest hits through Hatfield's slightly grungier sensibility. Hatfield's obvious affinity for the source material is evident throughout, with her coy take on the late-Seventies smash "A Little More Love" and her heartfelt version of the Grease showstopper "Hopelessly Devoted to You" being particular highlights. Hatfield has been on a creative tear in the past few years – she's collaborated with Matthew Caws in the moody Minor Alps, released 2017's pointedly political Pussycat, and reunited her old bands Blake Babies and the Juliana Hatfield Three – and this reverent, yet loose-limbed tribute continues that streak. Maura Johnston


Pick Five: Juliana Hatfield | Cover Me

In Pick Five, great artists pick five cover songs that matter to them.

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Juliana Hatfield is an old hat at making an unlikely song her own. Earlier this year, she made both our Best Cover Songs of January and March roundups. A couple years before that, her version of “Needle in the Hay” was a high point of a Wes Anderson tribute album. A couple years before that, she released a terrific self-titled covers album of her own. I mean, how far back do we want to go here? Hell, she even made our Best Cover Songs of 1996 list! Suffice to say, she knows how to crush a great cover.

That’s why we were so excited to hear about Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John. It more than lives up to our high expectations. Hatfield takes on hits like “Physical” alongside plenty of deep cuts that prove this is not some gimmick; she’s a genuine fan.

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Juliana Hatfield Indulges Her Sweet Tooth on New Olivia Newton-John Covers Album | Paste 

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In song, as in romance, one never forgets a first love. No matter how cheesy or childish it may seem later, the memory of that initial encounter with music’s emotional power never goes away. For me, it was Paul McCartney and Herman’s Hermits; for you, maybe it was *NSYNC or Hanson. For Juliana Hatfield, it was Olivia Newton-John.

But Hatfield never committed the betrayal that most of us are guilty of. She never spurned her middle-school crush when she got to high school. I may have mocked Herman’s Hermits; you may have mocked Hanson, but Hatfield stayed true to Newton-John. She embraced punk rock as an older adolescent, but...

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On 'Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John,' A Boston Icon Makes A Case For The Pop Diva | WBUR

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Anyone who knows Juliana Hatfield probably remembers her from the ‘90s, when her band The Juliana Hatfield Three was a mainstay on alternative rock stations and MTV. Her biggest hit was a song called “My Sister,” a lean, pugnacious number that encapsulated the scraggy sound Hatfield became famous for.

The album art for “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John.” (Courtesy)

So some might be surprised to learn about Hatfield’s latest endeavor: an entire album of covers of Olivia Newton-John, the English-Australian singer and actress best known for her star turn as Sandy in the hit 1978 film “Grease” and for a string of treacly soft rock gems in the ‘70s and ‘80s. 

Continue reading — and listen to the WBUR interview — here.


Quiet Storm: Why Juliana Hatfield's Hey Babe Roared As Loud as the Riot Grrrls | The Guardian

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Nineteen-ninety-two was the inaugural year of the “women in rock” era: a stretch of several years when artists from Courtney Love and PJ Harvey to Meredith Brooks unwittingly formed a cohort of so-called girls with guitars and the phrase “girl power” seeped into the popular lexicon from the underground precincts of the riot grrrl scene.

Juliana Hatfield was at the heart of this zeitgeist. In 1992, Hatfield had just broken up her college band Blake Babies and released her solo debut Hey Babe on Mammoth Records...

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Juliana Hatfield on Her Olivia Newton-John Covers Album: 'I Wanted to Escape From All the Horrible Negativity' | billboard

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From her days as a member of indie anchors Blake Babies and Lemonheads up through her ongoing solo career, Juliana Hatfield has been a quietly steady presence in the underground pop-rock world. While it’s been a while since she hit the commercial heights of her ‘90s peak when the Juliana Hatfield Trio's Become What You Are and her 1995 solo effort Only Everything landed her on the Billboard 200, she has maintained a dedicated fan base thanks to steady touring and a consistency of vision as she combines personal explorations with more universal concerns.

More recently, her 2017 release Pussycat was an album-length rebuke to our current president, with sharp lyrics and a welcoming musical jangle...

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SONGS WE LOVE: JULIANA HATFIELD, 'A LITTLE MORE LOVE' | NPR

Once we reach adulthood, it's easy to dismiss childhood musical obsessions as frivolous rather than formative. That enthusiasm can be seen as embarrassing, or some form of misguided, or infantile, admiration. It's far more challenging to take the uncynical view and honor the passion behind the musical fixations of our youth.

For Juliana Hatfield, one of those enduring artists is Olivia Newton-John, the musician and actress whose supple, golden voice made her a country and pop megastar. The Boston-based musician's forthcoming album, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, is a heartfelt tribute, with an emphasis on Newton-John's '70s and '80s high points...

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Kyle Meredith...with Juliana Hatfield

Listen to this September 2017 interview with Juliana discussing Pussycat and the 25th anniversary of Hey Babe and her solo career.


"Pussycat is the kind of bluntly political record Hatfield used to be knocked for shying away from. At the height of her 1990s stardom, Hatfield was dismissed in the more activist corners of the music world as a lightweight (never mind that her songs frequently explored the ways society needles and dismisses women). She's spent her career in an often thankless middle ground, too feminine for the masculine music press, yet not punk enough for the riot grrls. But Pussycat lends the case for a critical reappraisal. Now would be an ideal time for one..."
Pitchfork


"Hatfield's fury works in her favor. Even when the tempos are slightly slow or the guitar hooks charm, there's a nerviness to the performance that's bracing. And, beneath that kinetic energy lies a wealth of smart, barbed songs. What impresses about Pussycat overall is how there's no separation between the personal and the political...the specificity of her outrage makes Pussycat an unusually powerful protest album." 
All Music


"The current resident of the White House will likely inspire plenty of angry art..credit Boston indie-rock institution Juliana Hatfield with landing the first full-force blow. Pussycat is a relentless, unabashed and unvarnished reaction to the Trump presidency; a frequently gruesome, sometimes funny and even occasionally hopeful assault on the assaulter-in-chief."
Paste


"Pussycat..is not so much a response to Donald Trump as it is a channeling of the long-held, easily-accessed, unassuageable fury one feels in the dominant culture of sexism, abuse, lookism, and degradation which Trump—though it of course predates him—has come to represent, perpetuate, minimize, sanitize, and reinforce. The fourteen songs that comprise Pussycat are not arguing for the newness or the arrival of anything; they are phoenixes rising from the known and familiar fire of what it is to live in a recursive, crushing, enduring patriarchy. Which brings me to my second point: to classify Pussycat as "anti-Trump" or even to characterize it less generally as "a political album" is to imply, however tacitly, that such subject matter is somehow new terrain for Hatfield, whereas any student of the music she's put out into the world in the thirty years she's been a performer will tell you: she's never been anything but political."
—Vincent Scarpa, Performer magazine