The Joup Friday Album – PJ Harvey “Uh Huh Her”

image courtesy of allmusic.com

There is no one else that makes music like PJ Harvey does. Ms. Harvey is one of those rare talents that was able to carve out her niche in the massive hierarchy of popular music at the onset of her career and has since been able to get away with only doing her own thing. How nice then that “her own thing” sounds nothing like anyone else’s. Because of this I think some people have trouble with her music. Not me. PJ Harvey’s records often take me to dark places, but they are always areas of my soul or psyche rich with rewards, and for that I treat these records with the utmost respect. This is listening music, not background music, not toe-tapping distraction. This is introspection, a long and polished mirror that shows the listener as much about themselves as it does about the woman making it.

With each record Polly Jean delves deeper into her sound, refining and extrapolating the sonic muse that guides her hand. She mostly plays all the instruments and that helps strengthen her art. This auteur element in turn gives each successive record the feeling of a new chapter in an overall story, putting Ms. Harvey’s music in general and Uh Huh Her specifically into that category of music I asked you, dear readers, to humor me on back when I wrote the review of QOTSA’s …Like Clockwork. That’s right, PJ Harvey’s music is, to me, literature. And that makes 2004’s  Uh Huh Her part of an ongoing narrative within which this small, bedroom apocalypse reads as something of a “full circle” moment that both expands and reinforces the heady, somewhat desperate themes of previous record, 2000’s Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea. And yet on Uh Huh Her PJ Harvey still forges ahead, sonically, lyrically and emotionally, breaking new ground and setting a tone that never relents the entire forty-odd minutes it plays.

As always with The Joup Friday album, this is not an attempt to steal from the artist. If you dig what you hear go buy it on iTunes or, better yet, a brick and mortar record store (cuz if you’re lucky enough to have one near you and you’re not patronizing it you are, I’m sorry to have to say, part of the problem.

Tag Tommy, you are it sir!

 

 

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

3 Responses to The Joup Friday Album – PJ Harvey “Uh Huh Her”
  1. Joe Grez

    Joe Grez Reply

    Nice pick Bakes. You know how much I love Polly Jean.

  2. Shawn C. Baker Reply

    Tommy – no lie, I have no idea what Rid of Me sounds like. It swirled around me in the smoke-choked haze of certain hang-outs back in the early 90’s but like you, Down by the Water is the first thing I consciously remember knowing was a PJ Harvey song. And she didn’t own me until Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea. That album- whoah.

    For whatever reason I’ve never gone back and filled in the “Rid of Me” gap.

    Can’t wait to see what you post next Friday sir!

    Eventually. especially since I just read yesterday that Albini produced it.

  3. Tommy Reply

    Ah, Polly Jean. Excellent selection Shawn! And kudos for not going with the more obvious choice of “Rid of Me.” She really is something though. I think “Down by the Water” was the first song I heard from her. I remember thinking she was a little creepy, but also being kind of turned on at the same time. Hooray 16-year old hormones!

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