That’s My So-Called Life the TV show, which would be on any top 10 TV list I made. It starred a young Claire Danes. There was only one series.
The Christmas episode featured Juliana Hatfield, who is still making music. She’s also blogging, and recently wrote a very interesting post about her MSCL appearance (link via Stereogum).
She was originally approached to write a song for the episode. This, by the way, was back in the day when TV and indie music didn’t know each other well.
The song would need to be mournful but also kind of uplifting, somehow; to express the angel character’s tragic circumstances and ultimate end, but also the spirit of Christmas — rebirth, hope, love, compassion and all that jazz… Did I think I could give them something like that? Something that was mine — my own distinctive voice — but composed using their guidelines.
I was game. I thought it would be a fun exercise. To be given a task with a blueprint was, for me, exciting and challenging, and also a bit of a relief. Having rules or limitations can be very liberating just as having total freedom to do whatever you want, however you want, can be sort of paralyzing.
I like the way that Juliana embraces the constraints as helpful. I also like her realism about being a musician these days.
So don’t give me any grief if you ever hear a song of mine in a car/shampoo/steakhouse commercial, okay? Not very many people buy music anymore so I might have to find other ways to pay for the making and promotion of my future albums.
As I write this, I’m enjoying Accelerate, which sounds on first listening to be more interesting than REM have been in a while. Did I buy it? Sort of, I’m streaming it on Rhapsody. I’ll probably check out some recent Juliana Hatfield next…