There is something primal about listening to PJ Harvey.
Maybe it is the basic nature of the songs, the animal sound
of her voice, or maybe it's just the piercing exactness of her
lyrics. She is entrancing in a dog-eat-dog sort of way. She
exists just to be, and I wouldn't have her any other way. She
reminds me of a female version of Tom Waits; gruff yet
deep, sophisticated and dirty at the same time, witty with a
straight face. Beyond that, she also captures honesty on her
tracks so brutally that it makes it personal- it is like an
intimate show just for me. And it is that trueness of being
on her album that makes me want to throw out all the other records
I own because they don't achieve this level of truth. Moreover,
I should feel ashamed for having anything that fake around.
What is it that sets her apart? That makes her just be? Is
it the folk-rock sentiments, the at-times caustic vocals, the
seemingly under-produced (but perfect) quality of the album?
It is like seeing a beautiful actress in the flesh without make-up,
and realizing that they are all the more beautiful, blemishes
and all. Sometimes the truth is more alluring. Maybe I am just
waking up and realizing all the processing that is present on
most albums nowadays is just that: a lie. True talent can surpass
all levels of production, yet the majority of the public prefers
the air-brushed model to something that is inherently pure.
Well, that's their loss then.
To describe this album as stripped down would be a deception.
It has the feel of being hollow, but it is designed that way
for greater impact. Subtleties abound and resonate within each
song, creating space but supporting the songwriting. Each song
aims at a specific feel and achieves its goal. Even the mistakes
that are present on each track lend themselves to the realism
of the contents and lend a certain credibility to the songstress.
It is well constructed and sound, meant to be a classic as soon
as it is released. And it works.
It would be stupid of me to say that PJ Harvey could do no
wrong, but based on this album I am beginning to believe such.
She is a true genius, melding pathos and desire into a coherent
album, which is totally worth it in the long run. It will always
come back to the truth for me, and PJ Harvey seems to have cornered
the market in it.
When you are ready to handle the truth, come find PJ Harvey,
and she'll be ready to give it to you. And man, will it be beautiful.
1) Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth
3) Who the Fuck?
4) Pocket Knife
5) The Letter
6) Slow Drug
7) No Child of Mine
8) Cat on the Wall
9) You Come Through
10) It's You
11) The End
12) The Desperate Kingdom of Love
14) The Darker Days of Me & Him
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