WHO IS SHE? The eternal cult heroine of alt-rock. The onetime member of Lemonheads and Blake Babies. The sometime member of Some Girls, Minor Alps and The I Don’t Cares. The singer-guitarist who survived a brief tenure as a mid-’90s It Girl, thanks to hits like Universal Heart-Beat and My Sister. And the prolific, hard-working artist who continues to challenge both herself and her audience nearly three decades into her solo career.
WHAT IS THIS? Exactly what the title says it is: Covers of a dozen hits and deep cuts by one of her favourite bands, the ’80s reggae-rock gods The Police — and the second instalment in a tribute-disc series Hatfield kicked off with last year’s moodier and more intricate album Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The work of an artist who is honest and open enough to embrace the guilty pleasures and influences of her past — but far too creative and confident to resist remaking them to suit her present.
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Back in Force.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On vinyl. Preferably in a stack with some of your other favourite tribute albums.
WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Respectful, scrappy, stylish, rough-hewn, DIY, noisy, reflective, detached, austere, intriguing.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The ones she reworks the most drastically — Next to You is recast as dreamy, shoegazing indie-pop; Roxanne is turned into a noisy, pleading dirge; Hole in My Life is converted into a waltz; and Murder By Numbers is turbocharged into a slamming punk salvo.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? “This is great — but it would be even better if it had four or five more songs.”
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? More often than the last few Sting albums.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE CLOTHES, WHAT WOULD IT BE? A pair of leg-warmers being worn non-ironically — by someone who makes them seem cool again.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? You won’t regret your purchase. But if you’re not a Hatfield fan, you could try before you buy.