Juliana Hatfield’s 2018 tribute to Olivia Newton-John, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John (naturally), was as satisfying as it was unexpected. One of the most underrated singers of the 90s, Hatfield turned her distinctively impassioned vocals on songs that for decades had become shorthand for 80s bubble gum pop for many cynical listeners, and in doing so, was able to get across her genuine appreciation for songs that shaped her as a musician.
So, it should come as no surprise that Hatfield brings the same mix of deference and love to this set of songs by The Police, another one of her big musical influences. This collection includes some of their biggest hits (“Can’t Stand Losing You,” “Roxanne,” “Every Breath You Take”) as well as deeper cuts (“Rehumanize Yourself,” “Landlord”), and each track here is essentially a love note to the trio, building onto the foundation they created decades ago with her own, unique style.
And while there is not a single song on this record that should be skipped past, her versions of “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” and “Canary In the Coalmine” are no less than remarkable.
So much more than a standard covers album or tribute record, Sings the Police obviously comes from a place of joy and respect. I can’t wait to see who gets the Hatfield treatment next.