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Juliana's Pony: Total System Failure

4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 16, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

After recording her Beautiful Creature album, Juliana Hatfield wanted to kick it up a notch. Recruiting pals Mikey Welch (Weezer) and Zephan Courtney, the trio quickly banged out Total System Failure, easily the loudest work Hatfield has done since her days in the Blake Babies. Those who thought that the Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter has gone all soft and frilly will relish the festive feedback and fuzztone, which is also sure to alienate plenty of listeners. Welch and Courtney hold down the rhythmic fort, allowing Hatfield plenty of room to scream, solo, and scream some more. While certain to be compared to Hole, the spirit is closer to the Pretenders. It's not a consistent success, but Hatfield keeps it interesting with some bile-soaked lyrics ("Scary breeders, they have come with their sons and daughters / One by one, mean and dumb / Have another") and a healthy cage-rattling attitude. --Jason Josephes
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zoe Records
  • ASIN: B00004T9S1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,862 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I'll start by admitting that I have been a Juliana fan since her Blake Babies days. That said, I've read a variety of reviews on this disc and have to chime in with my two cents to say that IMO, it is a pretty darn good album. It took me awhile to get my head around it because it is quite a departure, but it really grows on you. I have always liked the harder side of Juliana (when she rocks-it-up in a song), particularly because she has a such a great songwriting knack of weaving good riffs into material primarily comprised of lighter musical fare (which provided the riffs with extra impact, of course). Total System Failure is different because the whole thing is pretty much a full bore barrage of guitars. But as I analyzed why I liked it so much, I came to the conclusion that a big part of it was due to the fact that Juliana's staple sarcasm and wit come through loud and clear on this one. She takes direct aim at middle America and cuts it in two in such as way that is vintage Juliana. I prefer this one over Beautiful Creature (which is also good, but not as energetic that's for sure).
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Format: Audio CD
While it's rougher and in ways simpler (emotionally) than her previous records, this alternate side of Juliana Hatfield (compared to Beautiful Creature) is witty and sly. Hatfield has more sense of humour here than most rockers and isn't afraid of torn edges or shredded ears. Pare it down, and this album is still as melodic as Only Everything and Bed, only with a different format: a mission statement that includes "a solo per song" and superb continuity through "limitations" in the effects department. Get it now!
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Format: Audio CD
contrary to what other reveiwers have written, this is an excellent, inspired, well written, purposely sloppy album. its raw, sarcatic, dark and poppy, with toooo many undertones and hidden meanings to mentions. if juliana ever wrote a song with line of "i *something* you" it would have to be "i forgive you". she hates and... well hates, (cant say she loves that would just be lying) and it shows. its emotional and beautiful, angry and light filled. this album is excellent.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a casual fan of Juliana's since her Blake Babies days, but have never been moved to purchase an album of hers before. I heard "My Protégée" once on the radio and thought it was new Veruca Salt. The announcer said it was new Juliana Hatfield and I was hopeful - I wondered if the rest of the album would be as good. Not brave enough to try the boxed set, I decided to try "TSF," after checking out the reviews and snippets of tracks for "Total System Failure" and "Beautiful Creature" even though reviews for "TSF" were not as positive. I am glad I was not scared off by the "joke" review, or the "what happend?" review. This is a great album. "Houseboy," " Leather Pants" and "Ten Foot Pole" in particular are sheer bliss. I'm not going to over-analyze. It rocks. Enjoy.
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Format: Audio CD
Maybe 5 stars is one too many, but that's all a matter of opinion. Juliana Hatfield is an awesome artist who writes and plays her own music, and this hard rocking disc will shock those who are only familiar with "Beautiful Creature". I've been a fan for years, and would say the only drawback to this CD would be a few songs being "too similar"?? It does rock, though and is worthy of purchase, definitely
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Format: Audio CD
This is the Juliana Hatfield album that lives in my car. The guitar is crunchy, the vocals compelling, the lyrics brilliantly sarcastic. The tracks Houseboy, Let's Get Married, and Breeders stand out for their suburban dystopia, while Leather Pants is hilarious. Juliana's best song ever, Ten Foot Pole, ends the album with an extremely personal look at desire and self-image. This is not my favorite Juliana Hatfield album (that honor belongs to Please Do Not Disturb), nor is it her prettiest (listen to Beautiful Creature for that), but it is the album I play most often.
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Great guitar solos... Lyrics filled with bile, sarcasm, sickness, & humor... An amazing counterbalance to Beautiful Creature's introspective vibe... this CD is meant to be played LOUD! Beautiful Creature may sound more personal but Total System Failure will surprise you with its skewed viewpoint... This CD jams!!!
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