Juliana Hatfield

From: Boston, Massachusetts

Active: 1987-present

I first heard her: when she went on 120 Minutes in 1993 to promote "My Sister"

Sound: Juliana Hatfield is a girlish-voiced singer-songwriter who sometimes rocks out and sometimes doesn't. She's very easy to make fun of. I mean, she writes songs about finding a dying baby bird and thinking, "Humans only wreck the world!", and about how supermodels are, like, so fake. Or at least she did; I lost track of her career in the late '90s. But the fact is that while most of the songs I listened to in college had lyrics like "I got so high I scratched till I bled" and "When I was a teenage whore", it meant something to hear songs about being a timid virgin listening to Nirvana CDs in your dorm room — about a life I recognized. I would listen to a couplet like "Why are simple things so hard / Nothing ever goes too far" and think, "Yes, Juliana. Sing me the songs of our people."

Listening station: At first I just listed my three favorite Juliana Hatfield songs, and then I decided to add one more. It's got her trademark not-remotely-oblique lyrics, but even as part of me is wincing, another part is insisting, "But, but, this is awesome."

"Everybody Loves Me But You" (1992)
"The Lights" (1992)
"Bottles and Flowers" (1995)
"Give Me Some of That" (1997)