For the People, By the People
The title of Juliana Hatfield’s There’s Always Another Girl may refer to romance, but it may also speak to something else: her career. The singer-songwriter spent years bouncing between labels before launching her own Ye Olde Records in 2005—when, for the first time, there wasn’t another person affecting her creative decisions. There’s Always Another Girl takes the independence one step further, using PledgeMusic to raise funds directly from her devoted fans. They met an astounding 489% of her goal.
Given that background, one would hope that this twelfth solo album would be a standout, a chance for Hatfield to truly spread her wings. Instead, There’s Always Another Girl doesn’t even rock the boat. For every song that delves deep into feelings of personal failure (a clear running theme), there’s another that seems remarkably superficial—like “Batteries,” for instance, which combines grating electronic buzz with an uninspired electronics metaphor. Its concluding refrain, “The batteries are dead, completely fucking dead,” feels tired rather than impassioned.
There are times in which Hatfield’s forthright delivery sparkles. The title track speaks candidly of gender double-standards, while “Someone Else’s Problem” paints a poignant portrait of someone who’s given up. “Don’t Wanna Dance” is another album highlight, mixing straightforward lyrics with true nineties-rock ‘tude. It strikes the proper balance, while other songs—the aforementioned “Batteries,” “Candy Wrappers”—feel over-produced, or lack the right amount of oomph.
There’s Always Another Girl is hit and miss; it tries to bring together the many incarnations of Juliana Hatfield’s impressive career. Though the album has clear themes, it covers too much stylistic ground to feel truly cohesive. There are some lovely and authentic moments, but one couldn’t help but hope There’s Always Another Girl would reach new heights.