Posts Tagged ‘PJ Harvey’

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PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Monday, December 10, 2012
PJ Harvey (2011)

PJ Harvey (2011)

It’s a PJ kinda week/month.

Second album to review by Harvey, and I am still floored by how good she is. It wasn’t like that at first. I thought this album was kinda weird.

Then again, I’ve listened to lots of albums that were weird and they ended up being some of my favorites. Let England Shake has really grown on me. It might like it better than To Bring You My Love. In fact, I think it is.

Stylistically, it’s much different from her past work. It’s sedate, refined, and apocryphal. She uses a lot of imagery that evokes WWI, and war in general. It’s sort of folky and protesty, but not really. Most of the songs feature jangly guitar and piano, and it feels very minimalistic and bare bones (in a good way). Harvey’s voice goes high here, soaring way into the soprano (“On Battleship Hill”). That husky voice of albums past is mostly gone here, and the range really shows her versatility.

The lyrics and mostly somber attitude of the songs make this a contemplative album. The albums carry themes of death, and they lyrics are downright chilling. (“The scent of thyme carried on the wind/Stings my face into remembering/Cruel nature has won again/Cruel nature has won again”).

Harvey’s lyrics here are at her best, in my opinion. She captures the sadness of how pointless all wars seem years after they happen. Wars always seem so important to the people fighting them at the time. It is only looking back, years later, that we wonder what it was all for. The wise among us wonder what it is all for now. It makes me wonder how future generations will judge all the conflicts our political leaders lead us into; the same way, perhaps, we judge the conflicts of WWI as pointless and futile in retrospect?

I will definitely be listening to this a lot more. PJ has release perhaps her greatest treasure with this one. It’s rare that an album makes me think as much as this.

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PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love

Monday, November 19, 2012
To Bring You My Love (1995)

To Bring You My Love (1995)

Until a couple months ago, had never listened to PJ Harvey and honestly had no plans to. I gave Let England Shake a listen when it first came out because of the hype, and wasn’t ready for something so experimental.

Since that time two months ago, PJ has really started to grow on me – especially with her 1995 album, To Bring You My Love.

I was completely blown away the first time I listened. For those who are tired of frilly, vapid, girlish pop music that now permeates the music scene, PJ Harvey is the adequate cure. She goes to dark gritty places in her lyrics, and the voice and timbre of the instrumentation perfectly compliments themes of God and Hell and sex and the perverse.

It is clear that I and PJ (may I call her that?) have been strangers for way too long. She easily one of the most talented and versatile songwriters of recent times, and her vocal range, especially the lows, are very impressive. Her singing style is frantic and suffocating, and it works so well on this album and sets her apart from others.

It is easy to see why she is beloved by so many: she has followed her own path and made the music that she wanted to make, convention be damned. So far, of the four albums I’ve listened to this one is my favorite. This is one of those albums that goes deep enough to warrant many listens.