Archive for Let England Shake

It’s Clear Novelist William Boyd Is Clueless About PJ Harvey

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 22, 2012 by johnbuckley100

In a powerful essay on why World War One lingers in the imagination, British novelist William Boyd (A Good Man In Africa, An Ice Cream War, Stars and Bars, The New Confessions) addresses the hold the War To End All Wars still has on our culture, referencing PBS’ Downton Abbey, Spielberg’s War Horse, and even the — unknown to us — pending Tom Stoppard adaptation of Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End.  The question Tulip Frenzy wants answered is: how is it possible that a British novelist could have written such an essay without a reference to the 2011 Album of The Year (so sayeth Uncut, Melody Maker, and everyone in Albion save for, um, Prince Charles) that was PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake.  Hard for us to believe a more powerful depiction of WWI will come along anytime soon, in any medium…

Mr. Boyd — loved those early novels (and have a soft spot in our heart for the Daniel Day Lewis performance in the movie version of Stars and Bars), but it’s time to open your ears!

PJ Harvey Wins Mercury Prize, And Takes NME And Uncut Album Of The Year Honors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 8, 2011 by johnbuckley100

Let England Shake sure shook England, as PJ Harvey takes Best Album of The Year prizes home from both Uncut and NME.  We couldn’t be happier, though truth be told we had Radiohead one notch higher.

Don’t Believe A Word You’ve Read About PJ Harvey’s “Let England Shake”

Posted in Music with tags , , on February 27, 2011 by johnbuckley100

Depending on whether or not you’re a purist when it comes to considering which is the beginning and which the end of a given decade, PJ Harvey’s Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, released late in 2000, was either the first great album of the ‘aughts, or the last great album of the ’90s.  The same folk who can tell you precisely which decade owns the rights would also probably tell you that Stories From The City isn’t Harvey’s greatest album.  They would be wrong. Yes, Dry bowled us over, and in a near 20-year career there have been other high points, but Stories From The City was a perfect album, and there aren’t many of them.  Stories From The City was one of the greatest New York punk albums of all time, which is pretty cool considering Harvey was born and bred in rural England.

Since then, though, we’ve been disappointed. Uh Huh Her had some magic, but was a step down, and Harvey’s collaboration two years ago with John Parish had one delightful song, “Black Hearted Love,” but even by the standards of her off-albums a single winner constituted a low point.

So when Sasha Frere-Jones — who aside from being a gorgeous writer, generally writes only about music he likes — yawningly put down Let England Shake as pretty much a bore, we accepted that.  But of course still listened.  You have to listen to an artist like PJ Harvey — there is no oversupply of such artists, and you have to follow the great ones into the bushes to at least see what they’re up to.

And when we listened, we were moved to declare, Wrongo, Sasha!  No, there’s not a lot of guitar bashing, and there’s nothing to get the blood moving  like “Sheela Na Gig” or even “The Whores Hustle and The Hustlers Whore,” and yet this odd album, Albion-historical in nature, but still possessing a back beat, is actually filled with quiet greatness.  It doesn’t quite rock, but it is both melodic and dynamic.  In fact, it reminds us quite a bit of Stories Of The City. Go listen to “In The Dark Places,” which could easily fit onto her opus of 11 years ago.  In fact, listen to the whole damn thing.  Odd and lovely, which only partly defines Polly Jean herself, Let England Shake deserves an audience as great as the artist who made it.

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