Author Topic: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?  (Read 702 times)

Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« on: April 26, 2021, 09:53:49 AM »
Thirty years 'in the game' and not a foot wrong as far as I can see. Artistically, I mean. I'm sure someone will come in here and say she once strangled a squirrel with a geranium. If that was true, I wouldn't even care. I would let PJ Harvey snuff out my life with a toothbrush, with no resistance, if that's what she truly wanted (and that's the exaggeration limit reached for today).

So... why is she so good? Well, first off - I love those who can 'shapeshift'. Those who can assume different 'voices', 'styles', while still retaining their own 'essence'. The other name that instantly springs to mind is Bowie. Has anyone ever said she's the best since[1] him? If not, they should.

Unlike Bowie though, she hasn't put out a 'dud'. Which is remarkable, after three decades. Most people fizzle before this, don't they? Or at least start to lose some potency. And yet here she is, not so long ago, in The Ministry Of Social Affairs - with its swagger and emotional depth - sounding as 'fresh' and 'potent' as ever.

Surely she's due a misfire, right? I am starting to think she's not human. Even the albums I don't like that much feel as 'alive' as the ones I love (and they have at least one song I really like). I am very intrigued to see where she will go next. The last two have been more 'melodic', more like someone trying to ease the ills of the world. Are the days of her sounding like she could tear your head off gone? (Such as in this.)

If her discography can give us any clues, it's that what comes next will be different to what came before, while feeling like an 'organic' progression too. In the meantime, there is still 'new' old stuff to discover, such as this film of concert and backstage footage from 1994 - by Maria Mochnacz - which I 'found' and watched the night before last. It's fun, warm, interesting; give it a watch if you haven't.


Well. Anyone got anything else to say, or have I just wasted my god-damn time?
 1. yes they overlap; but I think we can say that most of his best stuff was before her time

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2021, 10:02:59 AM »
I saw her at Glastonbury in 2004. The audience was full of Oasis fans who didn’t know who she was. I think this was when Uh Huh Her had came out. Loved her.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2021, 10:06:41 AM »
She's one of those artists who I should like but has always left me utterly cold. Don't like her or her music at all.

Norton Canes

  • Pick up the pace with your cracked-out face
Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 10:36:02 AM »
Pretty well always like everything I hear from her and keep meaning to do a multi-album binge listen. Don't remember ever hearing a 'dud' but her highs are so high that the more by-her-standards-middling stuff sometimes suffers by comparison.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2021, 11:16:24 AM »
She's one of those artists who I should like but has always left me utterly cold. Don't like her or her music at all.

I think PJ is a charisma vacuum. I've tried listening to a few of her albums but i just don't get it. I'm sure she's a talented musician but she seems to be devoid of any personality or character at all (apart from when she's trying to be Patti Smith).

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2021, 11:36:59 AM »
Liked the early stuff back in the day but never really pursued it. Saw her once in Cardiff but I can't remember much about it.

Then I listened to Let England Shake for the first time a couple of years ago and there were songs on there that moved me to tears.

So half not arsed, half she's wonderful.

the ouch cube

  • you've got moomins on yr breath
Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2021, 11:47:29 AM »
To Bring You My Love and Is This Desire? are mesmerizing albums.

Not sure about her other stuff - as a Hole/Babes In Toyland fan from way back when, Rid Of Me ought to have been a 100% winner with me, but I couldn't get on with it. Possibly due to Albini giving it one of his brittlest and flintiest production jobs. It sounded like a bag of splintered chicken bones rattling against a fence post recorded from half a mile away.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2021, 12:00:08 PM »
There's a GP near where I live who is Dr PJ Harvey. I also have an acquaintance whose inititals are PJ and his surname is Harvey. It's Peter James though, not Polly Jean.

In common with a couple of others on here I haven't delved too far into her career but am not overly impressed with what I've heard. She does remind me of Patti Smith in that my head tells me that this is music I really should like but my ears tell me something different. I do quite like the one about licking her legs. I doubt if she's literally on fire though.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2021, 12:04:48 PM »
She's alright. No better than that though. Only really like 2 of the albums.

Inspector Norse

  • I bash the Bishop well.
Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2021, 01:16:08 PM »
I think PJ is a charisma vacuum. I've tried listening to a few of her albums but i just don't get it. I'm sure she's a talented musician but she seems to be devoid of any personality or character at all (apart from when she's trying to be Patti Smith).

I think she has plenty of character, it's just that that character is someone writing an edgy column in a broadsheet weekend supplement

AllisonSays

  • disappointed bridge
Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2021, 03:10:52 PM »
I love Rid of Me and listened to it over and over again one summer living in Edinburgh, walking to work. I also really like the demos from the Rid of Me sessions. I find her other stuff a wee bit ... stagy, or something, not that there's anything wrong with that, but it never quite clicked with me apart from in bits and pieces.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2021, 03:29:12 PM »
Let England Shake is probably my favourite albums of hers, at least as far as liking the whole album, but I like bits and pieces from each of her other LPs. "A Place Called Home" and "We Float" off Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, "Send His Love to Me" from To Bring You My Love. And I like that she tries something different with each album, something like the White Chalk album with it's otherworldly gothic piano ballads in stark contrast to the raw guitar of Uh Huh Her before it. And then coming out with a concept album about war (Let England Shake) with the autoharp centre-stage.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2021, 03:41:54 PM »
Well. Anyone got anything else to say, or have I just wasted my god-damn time?

Dry, White Chalk and Let England Shake are masterpieces. Almost all of the rest come close, except the massively overrated To Bring You My Love, which is really one idea stretched out across an entire album. The Hope Six Demolition Project was, sadly, a bit of a disaster for me - unmemorable music married to poor lyrics. But if that's the only misstep she's really made in a 30 year career, that's bloody good going, and I remain excited for whatever she does next.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2021, 04:39:27 PM »
To Bring You My Love is not massively overrated, how very dare you. Such an amazing sense of yearning across that record and certainly not a yearning for better songs.

I've never quite got on board with Stories From The City - maybe just not the side of her I like. Haven't clicked with the last couple either - I remember the opener on The Hope Six Demolition Project just sounded a bit crap and didn't excite me at all sonically, and IIRC I didn't make it that much further. Should probably go back to it, to be fair.

I'm a sucker for her 90s stuff broadly.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2021, 04:55:28 PM »
I realise it'll be the label's decision rather than hers, but I think it's pretty shitty that they're releasing albums of demos from each of her records.

Even the Manics - who are the kings of the unnecessary re-release (Suede are heirs to the throne) - stick the demos on a bonus disc instead of charging fans £20 for them.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2021, 04:56:29 PM »
Another person who drifted away from substantial fandom after the 90s. Obviously she wasn't bad, as the smart people in this thread testify, I just don't remember being interested by much of anything after "To Bring You My Love". I probably ought to listen to more of her stuff.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2021, 05:10:29 PM »
To Bring You My Love is not massively overrated, how very dare you. Such an amazing sense of yearning across that record and certainly not a yearning for better songs.
Yeah, I know it's an unpopular opinion but that album just doesn't work for me, singles aside. But it's not objectively bad, unlike THSDP.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2021, 08:16:31 PM »
Think I quite liked bits of Stories from the City... the rest of her stuff I've given a go hasn't grabbed me.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2021, 02:58:47 AM »
I like all her 90's stuff.Particularly Is this Desire.
The later White Chalk is ok too.
AND she wrote a tune with Elise in the title just like Beethoven.

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2021, 10:19:38 AM »
Thinking of penning some vicious personal attacks for the heretics.

For now though, I will just post this performance with Josh Homme, which I've been watching a lot. I guess this is what they mean when they say 'effortlessly cool'. Which, now that I think about it, is a stupid fucking phrase. Surely 'cool' already implies 'effortless'? If you are 'trying' to be cool, you are not cool. You are Nathan Barley.[1]
 1. YEAH?

Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2021, 11:11:22 AM »
I liked her in the 90s, Is this Desire a fav in my house. Couldn't stand Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, and the one after it*, boring trad rock, bad U2** boring trad rock. Maybe it's a boring trad rock that's heard a Patti Smith album, but it's still trad, daddio.

'The Whores Hustle And The Hustlers Whore', oh dear.

I like the way she tried to do something new with that piano, and that last one. Heck maybe one day I'll actually listen to it. But I dunno, I've mentally filed PJH under 'stuff I used to like'.


Does anyone remember the record shop in the old PC game 'Normality'? With the PJ Barmy album in it? Now that I'd like to hear.


* I liked that last hidden track.
**Probably, I don't listen to U2.


Re: Can you spare a moment to venerate PJ Harvey with me?
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2021, 11:36:34 AM »
Almost forgot, I really liked her first album with John Parish, Dance Hall At Louse Point, in fact I'd probably say it was my favourite album of 1996, so up yours Norman Records!

The second they did together, less so.

Tags: