What a Life is from Juliana Hatfield’s second solo album, Only Everything, released in 1995.
Upon its release in 1995, Only Everything was notable for its sound which was more aggressive than Hatfield’s previous work. The album drew comparisons to the work of Dinosaur Jr., with Hatfield herself sounding “as if she were possessed by J. Mascis himself.”
Produced by Paul Q. Kolderieand Sean Slade, who had previously produced Hole’s very successful Live Through This, the album is often noted for its use of a heavily distorted guitar tone with catchy pop songs.
Editor’s Note: I always think this song, and the album overall, as Juliana meets Sonic Youth meets Dinosaur Jr., with heaping sprinkles of Riot Grrrl 90’s sensibilities added for good measure. I used to play this song, full blast, while dancing around my apartment, or when driving back and forth that year from Los Angeles to San Francisco, a trek I made frequently, in ’95.
I play it now and I see Golden Gate Park, and the vintage and vinyl stores I used to haunt on the Haight, and in Berkeley. It reminds me of this blue-haired bartender that I used to have a crush on, he was a bassist in a local band, too, that I never got around to seeing.
I still love the edge and energy this song embodies.