1993, Music

Become What You Are (1993) by The Juliana Hatfield Three

For some reason Hatfield’s voice reminds me of a flatter, punkier Lisa Loeb. Anyway…

This is a collection of fairly catchy, pretty literate power pop songs posing as alternative rock. If you don’t listen to a lot of alternative rock from the era you might be fooled into thinking it’s pretty “alternative,” but so much of that lies in Hatfield’s delivery.

Hatfield has a strong sense of melody and every one of these songs is at least a little bit catchy, which is good because, as I’ve hinted, she’s not necessarily the most charismatic performer you’ve ever heard. And Hatfield’s lyrics are definitely above average, with some good lines and even a James Brown reference! I’m not necessarily in love with her lyrics, but they’re definitely better than a lot out there, and “Supermodel” could have easily been written about a lot of celebrities in the 21st century too.

The band is decent enough and the three of them give the songs a bit of an alternative veneer. But I wish they would be a little more musically interesting, as I would likely enjoy the songs more than I currently do.

Though the production is a little slicker than the “alternative” tag would suggest, it’s mostly the backing vocals that are slick, everything else is just there, and professionally recorded but not to the point of being completely clean.

But as someone who doesn’t love power pop, there’s just not enough going on in this record for me to really get excited about it. Hatfield’s a decent songwriter but I think I’d rather listen to a better band perform these songs.

6/10

All tracks written by Juliana Hatfield except where noted.

  1. “Supermodel” 2:52
  2. “My Sister” 3:22
  3. “This Is the Sound” 3:01
  4. “For the Birds” 4:14
  5. “Mabel” 4:09
  6. “A Dame with a Rod” 2:55
  7. “Addicted” 3:16
  8. “Feelin’ Massachusetts” 4:11
  9. “Spin the Bottle” 2:23
  10. “President Garfield” 4:38
  11. “Little Pieces” 3:05
  12. “I Got No Idols” (Hatfield, Dean Fisher, Todd Philips) 2:16

  • Juliana Hatfield – guitar, vocals
  • Dean Fisher – bass
  • Todd Philips – drums

Additional Musicians


  • Denny Fongheiser – percussion
  • Peter Holsapple – keyboards

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