Juliana Hatfield

Pussycat

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Juliana Hatfield wasn't the only American citizen to recoil in horror when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States in November of 2016, but she was the first to write an album about her disgust. Pussycat -- its title a nod to Trump's infamous Access Hollywood tape where he claimed he could grab any woman by their genitals -- seethes with anger but her rage is focused. She chooses her targets with precision, taking dead aim at Trump's insecurities ("Short Fingered Man"), wife ("Rhinoceros"), and associates ("Kellyanne"). Perhaps "Short Fingered Man" could be seen as a crass joke, but that's where Hatfield's fury works in her favor. Even when the tempos are slightly slow or the guitar hooks charm, there's a nerviness to the performance that's bracing. And, beneath that kinetic energy lies a wealth of smart, barbed songs, the best of which may be "When You're a Star," an explicit exploration of Trump's Access Hollywood tape. What impresses about "When You're a Star" in particular and Pussycat overall is how there's no separation between the personal and the political. Hatfield is protesting Trump because he offends her personally, and the specificity of her outrage makes Pussycat an unusually powerful protest album.

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