I love PJ Harvey.
The first time I heard one of her songs, it was a cover of ‘Rid of Me’ sung by Juliette Lewis in the film ‘Strange Days’ (1995). Shortly afterwards, a friend of mine sent me a couple of her songs on a mix tape. Her voice, so different from any other female musicians I’d heard, utterly captivated me. Rough, sometimes shrieky, sometimes warm, sliding over me like a caress, but always compelling.
I have several favourite songs (if I had to choose), and ‘The Dancer’ (from the 1995 release ‘To Bring You My Love’) comes tops. ‘Angelene’ (from ‘Is This Desire?’, 1998) is a close second. Both are quieter ballads that showcase PJ’s dynamic voice.
I’ve only seen PJ live once, when she opened for U2 in Calgary, around the time her album ‘Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea’ was released. I wished she’d been the headliner, as I could have watched her for hours.
(If you’re a movie fan, especially of Hal Hartley, check her out in the film ‘The Book of Life‘, where she plays Mary Magdalene to Martin Donovan’s Jesus Christ.)
Her latest release is ‘Let England Shake.’ Go, listen!