Made in China

Made in China

by Juliana Hatfield
     
 
Since she's now recording on her own label, the ever-mercurial Juliana Hatfield has the opportunity to do things entirely her way -- and she grabs that brass ring with gusto on Made in China, taking on targets more fiercely and incisively than she's ever done in the past. For the most part, that attitude manifests itself in songs that pump up the volume -- and

Overview

Since she's now recording on her own label, the ever-mercurial Juliana Hatfield has the opportunity to do things entirely her way -- and she grabs that brass ring with gusto on Made in China, taking on targets more fiercely and incisively than she's ever done in the past. For the most part, that attitude manifests itself in songs that pump up the volume -- and the tempo -- to old-school punk levels, notably on the caustic "Going Blonde," which pours an album's worth of the spirit of '77 into just over 80 seconds of riffage. There's a similar intensity, albeit a bit less breathlessly presented, on "Oh," an angular construction that has traces of Wire and Mission of Burma pulsing through its arteries. Throughout the disc, Hatfield displays a keen awareness of the pop culture continuum -- and her perceived place on it, the topic of the withering "What Do I Care." More significantly, however, Made in China -- like PJ Harvey's 4-Track Demos, a disc it shares much with in spirit -- sounds as if Hatfield has found a way to walk the walk of stepping off the treadmill, rather than just talking the talk. That in itself is worthy of praise; the fact that the music in China's grooves is so compelling is just icing on the cake.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
Around the summer 2005 release of Made in China, Juliana Hatfield posted a gutsy, revealing letter on her website. In it she writes proudly of the album's ragged feel, of her role as producer, of having released it through her own Ye Olde imprint. But there's also a weird, rambling defensiveness to the note. "People can buy this record or not," she writes. "I don't care. Or at least I pretend not to care. But I do care." She goes on to condemn artistic greed, industrial pollution, and the pressure on female artists to market themselves sexually. And then in her usual cynical fashion Hatfield winks at the whole notion, putting a photo of herself in a bathtub into the album's booklet. Made in China is as honest and unadorned as that letter. It unmasks her empty feelings on love (the slithery, dispassionate breakup song "On Video") and hate for a poisoned world ("Rats in the Attic," which musically is this record's closest amalgam to her past work), and in its strikingly direct recording quality it reacts to 2004's In Exile Deo, which despite being her strongest album in a long time was a little over-produced. For all these things China is terrifically rewarding. It's raw -- like a home-recording genius blistering the dry wall with four-track recordings, the solo confessionals "A Doe and Two Fawns" and "Send Money" shatter silence with twining tones and sly lyrics. ("If you want to pray for me, tell God to send me some money," goes the latter.) It bashes -- "What Do I Care" features the Boston band Unbusted and mulls over Hatfield's alternative rock darling past. And she considers whether any of it mattered, whether she was exploited, and whether or not she even cares in retrospect. She's accepting of those days, but rightly pissed that she'll be compared to them forever. In Exile Deo was her arrival as a mature, seen-it-all-and-still-wondering songwriter. But China is the truly unguarded version of that idea in both sound and song. Opener "New Waif" establishes that. As the music builds and bristles, Hatfield sings of love and missed chances, and the filter on her voice makes a total nonfactor of that girlish quality everybody used to fawn over so much. She's the new version of herself, the now version, and what does she care if you don't like it? But you will.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/09/2005
Label:
Ye Olde Records
UPC:
0634457165922
catalogNumber:
2

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >