Juliana Hatfield: I was living in a studio apartment in Allston, Massachusetts, which is sort of like a student ghetto of cheap apartments. He had nothing to do with it, but I just remember he was around.
And I was trying to write something catchy and accessible, but not in a crass, commercial way.
I just came up with those four chords that are the verse, and then it sort of ended up not having a chorus.
She’d made a name for herself as one third of sharply sweet alt-poppers Blake Babies, she’d played bass on the Lemonheads’ cherished , which contained heart-on-wrist tracks like “Everybody Loves Me But You” and “Ugly” (with a capital ‘U’).
She’d even anticipated Nirvanamania with a 1991 song named for the band, which she wrote after becoming obsessed with the track “Negative Creep.” She courted controversy by suggesting that women can’t play guitar (“I was just being a brat,” she says now, “because people were asking me, ‘How does it feel to be a woman in rock?
'”) and entered the celebrity gossip mill, being paired Evan Dando and Johnny Depp.
(“I don’t know , her Nietzschean-titled second solo album — and her only LP released under the name the Juliana Hatfield Three (which included bassist Dean Fisher and drummer Todd Philips) — she would start to climb the charts.
Its hits were unusual: The giddy, flirtatious “Spin the Bottle” (also on the soundtrack) with its off-kilter 5/4 groove, hit No. And its first single, definitive sororal love anthem “My Sister,” is one of the rare songs to become a hit without a chorus — in company with the Beatles’ “Yesterday” and Lionel Richie’s “Hello.” Picking apart the hopeful, brooding ruminations of the jangle-pop masterstroke could take hours because Hatfield, once and always a mystery, .
When Hatfield is calling her sister “such a bitch” or “the best,” she’s drawing from an amalgam of ideas — some real, like her friend who took her to her first all-ages show (the Violent Femmes and the “Del Foo-way-goes”), and some personal, such as wondering how others saw her.
Ultimately, “My Sister” became a sensation anyway: A spot in MTV’s coveted Buzz Bin, a No.
1 Modern Rock single, and the cover of SPIN’s March 1994 issue.
It was so popular, in fact, that Hatfield’s label, Atlantic, allowed another of its artists, folk singer Melissa Ferrick, to release a track titled “The Juliana Hatfield Song (Girls With Guitars)” that complained about its title character’s success.