Download of the Week: PJ Harvey

I have to learn how to let go. I had to learn how to let go of my love (fixation?) of PJ Harvey's early kickass albums so that I could enjoy the music she's making now. I say that in the past tense but I'm really still working on it, mainly because I find her early albums so damned good. But I've changed since her first record Dry came out 1992, so why would I expect PJ Harvey to stay the same?

Silly, no? The Hope Six Demolition Project was released last month on Island Records and it wasn't until a recent and brief conversation with Daniel at Other Music about this record that I realized how silly I sounded, hanging on to memories and the unreasonable expectations they bred instead of listening. [footnote 1]

So I've been listening to The Hope Six Demolition Project as if it is record with no strings attached, heart- or otherwise. In so doing, I've fallen for PJ Harvey's music all over again. Thank you, Daniel.

There is a very clear message in this music:

Songs sound anthemic, with lots of voices joining PJ Harvey's in a march toward...hope?

I'll admit that "The Ministry of Defense" grabbed me most at first, but the more I listen, the more I like where PJ Harvey (and I) have come.

The Hope Six Demolition Project is available from the Tidal Store.

Footnote 1. Other Music (OM), one of the best places to buy records and learn about music in NYC, recently announced they are closing their doors for good on June 25, 2016.

Back in March of 2007, I was flipping through the LP stacks at OM and came across a record I didn't know but bought based on the cover and musicians involved. Mal Waldron's The Quest, featuring Mal Waldron, Eric Dolphy on alto sax (and clarinet on "Warm Canto"), Booker Erwin on tenor sax , Ron Carter on cello, Joe Benjamin on bass and Charlie Persip on drums, inspired me to start a blog in order to share record recommendations among friends. I kept at it for about 5 years and it's no exaggeration to say that in some ways that record changed the course of my life.

kenmac's picture

PJ's early albums, Dry, Rid of Me, are epic! And incredibly hard to find on vinyl.
But this is a great song. She still writes great hooks, and this is a powerful if sad bit of social commentary.

mcullinan's picture

I know what that working on liking her later stuff is like.

PJ Harveys first couple albums were seminal. The rest are an acquired taste. And Id say this latest album is by far the most accessible and yeah the social commentary is pretty sad. But overall a better album than previous efforts, at least to me

Anton's picture

PJ has always made records that made me realize I wasn't quite where she was until I heard where she was.

So, this record is another happy way to remind me about where I might be headed.

Then, she back tracked me a little!

Interestingly, track 7, "Medicinals," reminded me that Siouxie Sue is a place to go and think about things.

Track 8 hides the place where Tom Waits and Morphine might be hanging out.

I am liking this album.

Anton's picture

Compare it to On the Road to Find Out.

billstry's picture

PJ is an artist and she will morph, change, destroy her past to further her art. I love her for that. These last two albums stick in your head like a children's songs. The message is so harsh and the melodies are so innocent it is an amazing juxtaposition.
OM a great store that educated and share the art, it will be solely missed.
Twittering machines just as OM opened my mind and ears especially as it relates to Bill Dixon. Thanks for sharing!

nick's picture

i'm really digging this as well.
every release from her is a treat.