Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Juliana Hatfield: How To Walk Away

Juliana Hatfield once said that happy lyrics don't come naturally to her, and her slick, mellow eighth album offers little to contradict that statement. How To Walk Away features a series of unsentimental examinations of what it means to be alone, to be left behind. In "This Lonely Love," over a sturdy piano, Hatfield sings about a love that lacks "the touch of flesh and blood." (Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs sings in the background, but his distinctive rasp is lost in the gloss.) "Now I'm Gone" is the closest thing to a full-bore rocker: Meaty guitar punches through the aural varnish as Hatfield gives an aristocratic lover the kiss-off. In "Remember November," the simple rhyme of the title efficiently expresses the resignation felt by someone filled with pleasant memories of a short, passionate, necessary affair. The song finds Hatfield playing a libidinous alpha female who enjoys playing with her boy-toys. If only there was more of this devilish grit on How To Walk Away. Here's hoping Hatfield can find a future middle ground between her twin passions for clean pop and dirty rock.

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