Listen to the track below
“Never Been Wrong”
In indie rock, you can be precious, you can be pompous, and you can be extremely art school, but there is no great way to spin “whiny.” The irony is, complaining is inherent in the genre’s DNA. It goes beyond lyrics, manifesting in guitar tones that simmer with angst rather than exploding with it, like punk often does. So while it may sound like an insult to call “Never Been Wrong,” the opening track off Waxahatchee’s upcoming fourth album, a whiny indie rock classic, it is meant as a compliment to project mastermind Katie Crutchfield. This is how you complain bitterly in song: You turn it into a self-aware, vividly voiced ode to stubbornness in action.
Crutchfield admits in ugly detail to blowing things out of proportion, to savoring being right, to twisting the story in her favor, and to pitying herself when the game’s outcome doesn’t go her way. Most importantly, she mirrors all that interpersonal tension in music that doesn’t resolve cleanly. The drums pummel forward and the riffs flair up with bright flashes of feedback, but they cool down at the end of each verse, like a rage blackout that lasts just a minute before it’s back to business as usual. Instead of totally flying off the handle, Crutchfield pauses for lovely vocal harmony breaks that bring pop levity to one of her most straightforwardly rock songs to date. For a songwriter known for her deep well of vulnerable introspection, Crutchfield really ought to get pissed more often.