Artist: Juliana Hatfield

Album: Peace and Love

Reviewer: Stephen Deusner

Pitchfork, 2010

Writing Disorders: Detachment Syndrome, Scorn Disease, Jargon Palsy








Gross: “her kid-sister inflection might seem to undermine the maturity of her recent output”




Stephen, congratulations are in order. You’re the first music critic to be featured three times on RipFork. Bravo, league leader. You pulled ahead of a strong field of music writers who’ve made double appearances: Brent DiCrescenzo, Amy Granzin, Nate Patrin, Conrad Amenta, and Matt Wendus. If you bring the glasses, I’ll pop the bottle of André.

Nah, I’m just joking. I don’t trust myself with older men and the bubbly. Let’s just probe your latest disaster instead, shall we? You really did go Mike Dukakis apeshit here, shooting dull barbs at this Hatfield woman for not writing music pleasing to the 36-year-old dudes in the room.

Peace & Love sounds like that stalest of 90s relics…”

Ooh, a riddle! Wait! Don’t tell me! Is it a 20-something Stephen Deusner?!

“…the unplugged album”

Damn, wrong guess. Yeah, I suppose just about anything has more flavor than that dreadful acoustic Nirvana album. That one’s a tooth breaker, no doubt. By the way, after the last dry turd you pinched out of Pitchfork, I think it’s pretty funny you used “stale” to describe any bread other than your own. Any of these rocky crumbs ring a bell?

“occasionally that beginner’s aesthetic leads to some nice moments”

“her songwriting sags with too many awkward rhyme schemes, clunky line meters, and come-together pronouncements”

Oh, here’s my favorite:

“In fact, it seems to be defined by Hatfield’s limitations rather than her strengths”

You know, Stephen, for all the folks harping on me for being an atrocious writer, at least I haven’t yet used the phrase “in fact, it seems.”

In fact, it seems like there’s a pattern forming here. I’ve read a clutch of your junk over the years, and there’s always been the same brown stripe smeared through it. You treat what you do as AP-ready journalism. You know, there IS a difference between writing an article about troop movements in the Marjah Offensive and writing how you think a Pipette’s song is “pop without the pop.” Yet whenever you’ve decided to claw the skin off people who play music that doesn’t quite give you a boner, you do it behind the shield of the third person, as if somehow you’re giving an objective take on events instead of your opinion of something entirely subjective.

Now why do you do that? Is it because you’re afraid of sounding like a complete dick if you put “I” in front of any of your reasons for rating someone’s art into the dirt? Are you anxious that it would blow your gravitas over if you wrote anything that resembled a man’s personal thoughts about music? After 13 years of writing this tepid slush, are you just incapable of owning up to it?

Regardless of your reasons, I think something you wafted out on a keyboard is a sorry-ass reason for artists to get shafted. Congratulations on the hat-trick though. I have no doubt you’ll raise the bar yet again. Nice scarf, btw.