Release Date: Aug 30, 2011
Record label: Ye Olde Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Jangle Pop
Bankrolled via the crowd-sourced funding site Pledgemusic, There’s Always Another Girl shifts away from the sparely introspective Peace & Love without returning to the lusher textures of How to Walk Away. Appropriately enough for a record financed by fans, There’s Always Another Girl hearkens back in its sound and spirit to Juliana’s earliest indie recordings -- both solo and with the Blake Babies -- with Hatfield finding plenty of colors in nothing more than layers of guitars and voices accentuated by the occasional keyboard; yet this isn’t a retreat to the past, it’s a continuation of the excellent, mature work she’s done in the new millennium. This shares a strain of weathered weariness with Peace & Love, particularly on the closing stretch, but it’s a richer record sonically and emotionally, possessing a variety of textures and feeling within Hatfield’s recognizable signature.
Sometimes it’s impossible to figure out exactly how Juliana Hatfield wants us to feel about her. Are we supposed to celebrate her as an artist who kept her head above water by striking out as an independent when her star began to fade at the end of the ‘90s? Or do we show her sympathy for the very same reason? Like many of her Alternative Nation-era peers, Hatfield got burned by the game and vowed never to play it again. She founded Ye Olde Records in 2005 and has been quietly releasing music on her own schedule ever since.
For Juliana Hatfield fans, the release of There’s Always Another Girl should feel like an accomplishment. The songwriter’s been in a near-daily conversation with them about the album’s recording process through her PledgeMusic website and raised money by selling unique items and experiences on the site. Things fans could “pledge” for through the site ranged from a personal Skype session with the singer to the downright-weird “certified” lock of hair.
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.
Juliana Hatfield is something of an indie pop survivor. In the 20 (yes, 20) years since the dissolution of the Blake Babies, she has continued plugging her huskily sweet, solo-girl pop on any label that will have her. The long years of label-hopping have perhaps led us to this point: the self-released (on Hatfield’s Ye Olde imprint), fan-funded There’s Always Another Girl.