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Not what it could have been.
on January 25, 2007
"The White Broken Line" is a live album, collecting tracks mostly from Juliana Hatfield's 2005 tour (with a couple from 2002), with Hatfield backed by her touring band of Ed Valauskas (bass) and Pete Caldes (drums). Plucking songs from different shows grants the luxury for better performances and diversity often not found in tours behind a given album, but as a longtime fan, I found myself remarkably disappointed with this release.
The nice thing about pulling songs from different shows is that while you lose the integrity of the individual performance, you get the luxury of populating the album any way seen appropriate. Given this, it was kind of a downer that while a number of live favorites were here ("Necessito", "Down on Me", "Somebody is Waiting for Me" for example), a number of them were noticably absent-- "Stay Awake", "Going Blonde", "Dirty Dog", "Daniel", "Sellout", "What a Life" and "Dumb Fun" all got played at one time or another during the shows these were taken from (I was at all but one of them), and with the album only filling about half the CD's capacity (clocking in under 45 minutes), there was certainly room for a number of these.
As far as the material itself, it's mostly well executed, although I do find that it seems to be missing something that's in the live performance-- let's face it, punky music never really gets its live energy captured well on record ("Get in Line") and this is a fine example of that. There's still a number of fine performances ("Down on Me" is pretty much always a winner, "Hotels" has a great funky backbeat, "Oh" benefits from NOT having "Made in China" styled production), but by and large, this is something I rarely listen to.
Given Juliana Hatfield's falling out of the public eye, I suspect anyone reading this is going to buy it anyway-- she's one of my absolute favorite performers, but I found this one lacking.