Songwriter eschews pop conventions and spews lyrical venom
Hat?eld’s always had an on-again, off-again relationship with pop production and songcraft. On Made in China she jettisons everything she’s learned about nurturing a hook and gives her melodic songs a black eye, pinning them up against a wall of loud, ?rst-take guitars. The songs don’t so much end as clatter to a close. She even roughens her girly voice with distortion. I’d hate to be the “you” targeted in these angry songs. Don’t try to lean on her shoulder, because she’s no Bill Withers: “You act like you’re the only one with a chemical imbalance,” she sneers. As with the best of Jesus and Mary Chain, however, there’s clarity visible beneath the waterline, sharp lyrics and even some hummable choruses.