Beautiful Creature

Beautiful Creature

by Juliana Hatfield
     
 
Juliana Hatfield's baby must have done a bad, bad thing. On the simultaneously released BEAUTIFUL CREATURE and TOTAL SYSTEM FAILURE (credited to Juliana's Pony), Hatfield delineates the desperation, frustration, and anger that love produces. BEAUTIFUL CREATURE is the more polished and accessible of the sister albums and one of

Overview

Juliana Hatfield's baby must have done a bad, bad thing. On the simultaneously released BEAUTIFUL CREATURE and TOTAL SYSTEM FAILURE (credited to Juliana's Pony), Hatfield delineates the desperation, frustration, and anger that love produces. BEAUTIFUL CREATURE is the more polished and accessible of the sister albums and one of Hatfield's best since her days with the recently reconvened Blake Babies. It highlights her singer-songwriter side, with echoes of Jill Sobule (who has a similarly girlish voice) and Aimee Mann (who writes with similar precision about emotional turmoil). For this album, Hatfield enlists a variety of sidemen (including singer-songwriter David Garza for lead guitar and coproduction on several tracks) and producers (including Scott Litt), although Hatfield's skilled guitar work, often acoustic, anchors each track. Even when there's an underlying bitterness to the lyrics, BEAUTIFUL CREATURE is a sweetly melodic and catchy album. "I don't want to pine my days away but I miss your body," she sings to the lover whom she otherwise can't forgive -- or forget -- in "Don't Rush Me." The seemingly soothing "Choose Drugs" ends with a failed ultimatum to an addicted lover: "I say it's me or drugs/You choose drugs," and the effect is heartrending. Radio-friendly hooks and ringing choruses slyly mask the heartbreak in "Somebody Is Waiting for Me" and "Cry in the Dark." The tension between the seductive and sophisticated music and the forthright and often unsettling lyrics make BEAUTIFUL CREATURE a beautiful creation.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Considering that Juliana Hatfield hadn't been a serious contender for either the alt-rock charts or critical acclaim since 1995's Only Everything, her simultaneous release of two new albums in the spring of 2000 was slightly puzzling. Surely, her dedicated cult would purchase both at once, but it was too much music for anyone outside of her hardcore following. To her credit, Beautiful Creature and its sibling Total System Failure was not one album spread over two lengthy records, but two albums with their own distinctive characters. Beautiful Creature is a return to classic, Hey Babe-era Hatfield, whereas Total System Failure is a loud rock album. It was almost as if Hatfield couldn't decide which approach would make for a stronger comeback in 2000, so she put them both out. Of the two, Beautiful Creature is not only the superior record, it's the best album she's made since made since the heyday of Hey Babe. Melodic, wistful, whimsical, reflective, yet clever, the album showcases Hatfield at her peak, crafting fragile, endearing post-jangle pop songs that reveal themselves shyly and sweetly. Her girlish voice and almost painfully introspective vantage may still be an acquired taste, but she hasn't sounded as focused and consistently tuneful as she has here in many a year.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/16/2000
Label:
Zoe Records
UPC:
0601143101120
catalogNumber:
431011

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Juliana Hatfield   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Mike Hale   Percussion,Drums
Andy Kravitz   Drums,Keyboards
Scott Litt   Drums
Wally Gagel   Bass,Guitar,Drums,Keyboards,Recorder
Jim Boggia   Guitar,Background Vocals
Davíd Garza   Bass,Guitar,Piano,Drums
John Thomasson   Bass
Jason Sutter   Drums
Duke Roth   Cello
Michael Hale   Percussion,Drums
Brian Brown   Electric Piano
Damon Richardson   Drums
Todd Philips   Drums

Technical Credits

Juliana Hatfield   Producer
Andy Kravitz   Producer,Engineer
Scott Litt   Producer,Engineer
Wally Gagel   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Matthew Ellard   Engineer
Davíd Garza   Producer
Brian Brown   Engineer
Keith Floyd   Engineer

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