Juliana Hatfield Tackles Political Antics
Juliana Hatfield is back again with her latest solo album, Pussycat. In true laid-back rocker fashion, Hatfield casually takes a particularly pointed musical jab at President Donald J. Trump and his administration. The entire album could be titled 2016: A Campaign Year in Review. It is a serious cross between sickly sweet bubblegum pop and unabashed, unapologetic rock.
The fast guitars and drums are not quite punk, but Hatfield’s political stance surely is. What initially is only conveyed through a couple of the song titles, such as “Kellyanne” and “Short-Fingered Man,” a closer look into the lyrics reveals that pretty much every song on Pussycat is political. Apparently Hatfield was pissed, and that fact is obvious throughout the entire album, even while masked with a soft, monotone and placid voice. The instrumentals complement the lyrics almost perfectly, while still walking on the tightrope of acceptable pop music. Hatfield’s album speaks out without being mundane, whilst hurling obscenities, which help to accentuate the mere point she tries to get across: politics are important and the current administration sucks.
After one realizes what the album is about, everything starts to make sense, from the album title to the track names to the sheer urgency behind each song. When Hatfield curses, she sounds like she is spitting sugary venom. Lyrics range from hilarious to downright mean. Hatfield is sure to remind every listener how messed up the political climate has become in the United States.
“Kellyanne” starts off with the lyrics, “Kellyanne, I don’t understand, the way you make me feel,” and the way Hatfield drags out her voice helps to enrich each word with sarcasm. She says that Conway turns her upside down. Her clear distaste and dissatisfaction are clear in her voice, as she lambasts Conway for almost four minutes, showing her disappointment while turning her name into a chorus to sing along to.
“Short-Fingered Man” starts off talking about Trump’s sweat, which is a disgusting image to visualize. Each one of Hatfield’s songs paints a vivid picture that coincides with the track title. This one could be mistaken for an angry breakup track, but only initially, considering Hatfield attacks Trump’s sex life and ego.
One album favorite that particularly stands out upon first listen is “You’re Breaking My Heart.” There’s a guitar solo featured in the middle of the song that is so airy and pleasant, perfectly coinciding with a long commute home from work. Other songs that are worth mentioning include “When You’re A Star,” which is a hilarious dig at the leaked Access Hollywood video of Trump talking about some fairly unsavory things.
“Sex Machine” is so profane that it’s an almost cringe-worthy listen. It is also a very hyperactive song, one that borders on noisy. Following the barrage of Trump attacks, “Sunny Somewhere” captures far lighter atmosphere, reminiscent of Sinéad O’Connor. Hatfield tops off the icing on the cake with “Everything Is Forgiven,” which is a song that asks why America has forgotten everything that Trump has done in the past. Hatfield’s seething anger is so raw, ragged and dripping with anticipation from track to track. Pussycat is the perfect anti-Trump manifesto, from start to finish and it has the potential to help fuel future protests across the nation. If not, it is at least a pure, loud rock record that serves for a good laugh.