Pussycat

by Juliana Hatfield

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about

“I wasn’t planning on making a record,” says Juliana Hatfield, of her new “Pussycat” album. In fact, she thought her songwriting career was on hiatus, and that she had nothing left to say in song form; that she had finally said it all after two decades as a recording artist.

But then the presidential election happened. “All of these songs just started pouring out of me. And I felt an urgency to record them, to get them down, and get them out there.” She booked some time at Q Division studios in Somerville, Massachusetts near her home in Cambridge and went in with a drummer (Pete Caldes), an engineer (Pat DiCenso) and fourteen brand-new songs. Hatfield produced and played every instrument other than drums—bass, keyboards, guitars, vocals. From start to finish—recording through mixing—the whole thing took a total of just twelve and a half days to complete.

“It was a blur. It was cathartic,” says Hatfield. “I almost don’t even understand what happened in there, or how it came together so smoothly, so quickly. I was there, directing it all, managing it, getting it all done, but I was being swept along by some force that was driving me. The songs had a will, they forced themselves on me, or out of me, and I did what they told me to do. Even my hands—it felt like they were not my hands. I played bass differently-- looser, more confident, better.”

“Pussycat” comes on the heels of last year’s Hatfield collaboration with Paul Westerberg, the I Don’t Cares’ “Wild Stab” album, and before that, 2015’s Juliana Hatfield Three (“My Sister”, “Spin The Bottle”) reunion/reformation album, “Whatever, My Love”.

“I’ve always been prolific and productive and I have a good solid work ethic but this one happened so fast, I didn’t have time to think or plan,” says Hatfield. “I just went with it, rode the wave. And now it is out of my hands. It feels a little scary.”

”Pussycat” is being released into a very tense, divided and inflamed America. The songs are reflective of that atmosphere—angry (“When You’re A Star”), defiant (“Touch You Again”), disgusted (“Rhinoceros”), but also funny (“Short-Fingered Man”), reflective (“Wonder Why”), righteous (“Heartless”) and even hopeful (“Impossible Song”, with its chorus of ‘What if we tried to get along/and sing an impossible song’).

credits

released April 28, 2017

Produced by Juliana Hatfield
Engineered by Pat DiCenso
Recorded and mixed at Q Division, Somerville, MA
Mastered by Sean Glonek at SRG Studios, Hamilton, NJ
Drums by Pete Caldes, all other instruments by Juliana Hatfield
All songs written by Juliana Hatfield
(c) 2017 Juliana Hatfield Music (BMI)
Distributed exclusively by American Laundromat Records

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Track Name: I Wanna Be Your Disease
I want to be your disease
force you down hard to your knees
to pray to a God you thought you’d never need
and never took seriously

there’ll be no technology
no cure you can buy to defeat me

I want to be your disease
lighten and disrupt your sleep
pull bitter tears from your arrogant eyes
salty like humility

I want you to listen to me
I want to make you sorry
sorry for all of the people you hurt
cheated and lied to and worse

I want to be your disease
a catalyst for reckoning
with all of the harm you have done to the earth
and all of your vile and hateful words

you had every advantage
and took it all for granted
silencing anyone who questioned your worth
maybe now you will listen

I want to be your disease
draw it out painfully
plenty of time for the truth to sink in
that this is one deal you can’t win
Track Name: Impossible Song
you think you’re right
i think you’re wrong
can we find some little thing in common to agree on
maybe we could try harder
maybe it would be smarter
to recognize our shared humanity

what if we tried to get along
sing an impossible song
figure it out later on

i believe it’s true
you’re convinced it’s false
what the evidence is pointing toward
i wanna blow my top

these contentious times bring out the very worst in me
i don’t like what i’m becoming

what if we tried to get along
sing an impossible song na na na na
figure it out later on

because you might need my help someday
as i might need you to be kind
i could go deaf
and you could go blind

what if we tried to get along
sing an impossible song
figure it out later on
what if we tried to get along
just for a four-minute song
it’ll be all right
if we harmonize
on this line
what if we tried to get along
na na na na na na na
Track Name: You're Breaking My Heart
in another world
on another plane
i might have believed
what happened to you
how did everything get so ugly

you’re breaking my heart
you’re breaking my heart

i slept so well
down my quiet street
knowing we all cared about the same things

now there’s a line
like a climbing wall
high and rising
it’s clearly drawn
and it cuts across and through everything

through right and wrong
pride and pity
through truth and lies
and now you and me

you’re breaking my heart
you’re breaking my heart

there are no more heroes
and no limit to how low we go

now you’ve shut all your doors
without a reason
you’ve been taken in
it’s a collusion

you’re breaking my heart
sadly you’re taken away
you’re breaking my heart
sorry to hear what you say
you’re breaking my heart
Track Name: When You're A Star
you can have any girl
come up to your room
and if she won’t lie still
just slip her a quaalude
she won’t remember a thing
and even if she did
the law is on your side
they never prosecute your kind

do what you want
whatever you want to do
when you’re a star they let you

it’s so much more fun
under the gun
it’s a challenge for you
to be done before she comes to
there’s never any backlash
you make a face and everyone laughs
you’re still america’s dad

whatever you want to do
when you’re a star they let you
do what you want
whatever the fuck you want to do
when you’re a star they let you
do what you want
whatever the fuck you want to do
when you’re a star they let you
do what you want
buy the silence of your many tragic victims
do what you want
you’re protected by your sycophants and hench men

so grab another girl
against her will
maybe she will be the one you kill
Track Name: Good Enough For Me
he takes medicine from the ill
and he can’t spell very well
but he knows how to read
and he has never killed anybody personally
he exaggerates and whines
but hey i’m no prize
i’m no genius
i tend to believe his lies

he’s good enough for me

why would i reach for the sky
when the sky is so far away
the shelf’s the limit
and the plates don’t complain when they break
now i’m set up on this hill
once in a while he’ll pay a bill
and on some sundays i pray
i really can’t complain

it’s good enough for me

he’s not a psychopath
he’s just a little mad
the standard is set
i’ll take what i can get

it’s good enough for me
he’s good enough for me
Track Name: Short-Fingered Man
he’s sweating heavily
but she can’t feel the heat
no electricity
his ego’s so deflated
his manhood’s so D-rated
she’s so bored she falls asleep

short-fingered man
can’t get her off
short-fingered man
best give it up

he claims he’s all the way in
but she can’t feel anything
he must be lying
and with the business end
it feels like nothing
is he even trying

short-fingered man
can’t get her off
short-fingered man
best give it up

he’s easily hurt
he’s very insecure
you have to talk gently to him
like a little girl
in a long dress shirt
you can’t find his hands
now they’re lost in the pockets of his pants

short-fingered man
can’t get her off
short-fingered man
best give it up
Track Name: Touch You Again
he’s never gonna make you afraid
he’s never gonna call you names
you’re never gonna be accused of things you didn’t do
you’ll never be a victim of jealous delusions
never put into bad positions

he’s never gonna touch you again
he’s never gonna touch you again

he’s never gonna own you
never gonna show you off like a shiny object that he bought
you’ll never be subject to insane projections
never reduced to defending any truth

he’s never gonna touch you again
he’s never gonna touch you again

under your clothes and inside your head
that information is privileged
yeah
you can give it away if you ever want to
but it’s not something he can take from you
yeah

he’s never gonna touch you
never prey on you
never gonna paw you like a dog
never gonna make you afraid
he’s never gonna make you ashamed
you’re never gonna be accused of anything you didn’t do

he’s never gonna touch you again
never gonna touch you again

what’s under your clothes and inside your head
that information is privileged
yeah
you can give it away if you ever want to
but it’s not something he can take from you
yeah
Track Name: Sex Machine
i’m gonna build you a sex machine
to satisfy every single need
any time of day or night
you can turn it on and have a good time

it’s all for you
i’ll make it do
all of the things
you want a girl to

put your hands on the sex machine
put your lips on the sex machine
put your dick in the sex machine
it’s got countless functions and multiple speeds

it’s all for you
you can make it do
all of the things
you want a girl to

love it hate it
demean and debase it
sober or wasted
control and manipulate it
pound it berate it
if you’re frustrated
kick it break it
you can replace it

and finally
i’ll be free
left alone
to sleep in peace
through the night
with my dreams
left alone
unbothered and free
yeah
Track Name: Wonder Why
the living room
and the curly sheepskin rug we called “the furry”
and sometimes i wonder why the plastic clock,
the macrame owl, and the butcher block couch are on my mind

i wonder why my parents chose a brown and orange scheme
and why that seemed okay to me
i wonder why the kitchen was an avocado green
and the upstairs bathroom was peach

the northern lights
we saw them in vermont one night from the car
but only once
i wonder why the aliens who landed on the roof left me there
and didn’t take me to the sky
i’ve escaped into my childhood memories tonight

i wonder why my corduroys were always light blue
and i never had a TV in my bedroom
just a flame from an electric candle on my windowsill
and i dreamed of my melodies touching you

i wonder why the marimekko fabric on the wall was ever taken down
i wonder how a transistor radio held up to my ear
brought me to heaven
and it’s still leading me here
Track Name: Sunny Somewhere
there is a dark grey cloud
over this whole damn town
it’s gotta be sunny somewhere

i’m in a toxic fog
and i think it’s worse than i thought
i wanna be sunny somewhere

where the air is clear
will there be any people there

it feels like i’m breathing smoke
but a thought gives me hope
it’s probably sunny somewhere

but here it’s still cold and bleak
i need some vitamin D
isn’t it sunny somewhere

i can’t look
and i can’t breathe
crosses are burning dirty

i’ll find my way to the maldives
or the great barrier reef
the seychelles or the island of capri
corfu or somewhere in bali

it’s so scary to see
all of the darkness reflecting
but it’s gotta be sunny somewhere
Track Name: Kellyanne
kellyanne
i don’t understand
the way you make me feel
the way you turn me upside down
the way my heart sinks when you come around
like suddenly i don’t know who i am
kellyanne
the effect you have
you make me feel like animal
all my good sense goes out the window
and it tears me up to see you so composed
kellyanne
you make me mad
you’re so hard like a rock in my shoe
like every bitch in high school
do you love
do you feel
did you used to be real
is there any blood underneath your steely mask
kellyanne
you‘re on fire in my dreams
your straw hair catches instantly
your painted plastic face is melting
and you end up in a puddle at my feet
kellyanne
you’re a telegraph of vicious grace and pride
turning truth into lies
kellyanne
are you ever sad
i wanna be the first one to make you cry
i wanna make you cry
wanna make you cry
i can’t take it anymore
kellyanne
i light the match in my dreams
you burn
i watch you burn but you don’t even squirm
imperturbable until the end
you’re smiling as your face is melting
and sliding off your skull down to the ground
Track Name: Heartless
how can you care if you have no empathy
how can you judge if you have no authority
how can you tell the truth without honesty
and how can you apologize if you’re not sorry

how can you see if you’re not looking
how can you hear if you’re not listening
how can you preach without believing
and how can you teach if you haven’t learned anything

you’re so heartless
you’re so heartless
you’re so heartless

how do you forgive if there’s no mercy
and how do you fix if nothing’s working
and how can you choose without first thinking
and how can you grieve without remembering

how can you give with no generosity
how can you lead with no ideology
ho can you be real without sincerity
and how can you be fair without any decency

you’re so heartless
you’re so heartless
you’re so heartless

how do you expect
to win the respect
of anyone with a conscience

how can you cheat without misgivings
and how can you love if you have no feelings
and how can you know without understanding
that only a fool can take you seriously

you’re so heartless
you’re so heartless
you’re so heartless
Track Name: Rhinoceros
he climbs on top in the dark
and pushes your legs apart
you grit your teeth try not to breathe
because he reeks of rotting meat

he’s crushing you, he’s fucking huge

his thick tongue slobbers across your face
you wouldn’t call it a warm embrace
it’s like being on a waterboard
sometimes you feel like such a whore

just close your eyes, try not to cry

give it up for the rhinoceros
guess who’s getting fucked by the rhinoceros

her name’s melania
she’s from slovenia
an illegal immigrant
he paid to sneak her in

he likes them young, and compliant

he rolls over and off of you
and he lumbers across the room
you go to the gilded bidet
to wash the shit away

just close your eyes, honey, and try not to cry

gve it up for the rhinoceros
guess who’s getting fucked by the rhinoceros

this is a golden age
when anyone can get away with almost anything
but be careful what you say
everyone is watching you
and nobody cares about the truth

give it up
for the rhinoceros
guess who’s getting fucked by the rhinoceros
america
give it up for the rhinoceros, america
guess who’s getting fucked
by the rhinoceros
Track Name: Everything Is Forgiven
this is what happens when you let the people speak
he’s a fucking animal
and i’m a piece of meat

god will forgive me for the things in my head
that’s what they said
that i can get away with anything
if i just repent

i told him everything
but it wasn’t enough
so then i started to make shit up

god will forgive me for the things in my head
that’s what they said
that i can get away with anything
all i gotta do is repent

god will forgive me for my anger and hatred and bloody, vengeful violence
god, forgive me please
for all the things i’m gonna do to him

‘cause i’m not gonna die a victim