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Let England Shake

PJ HarveyAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

Price: $10.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Music

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Biography

“Take me back to England
& the grey, damp filthiness of ages
fog rolling down behind the mountains
& on the graveyards, and dead sea-captains.”
PJ Harvey, The Last Living Rose

PJ Harvey’s new album was recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset, on a cliff-top overlooking the sea. It was created with a cast of musicians including such long-standing ... Read more in Amazon's PJ Harvey Store

Visit Amazon's PJ Harvey Store
for 32 albums, 30 photos, and 1 full streaming song.

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Let England Shake + White Chalk
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 15, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vagrant Records
  • ASIN: B004GHYCKW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,513 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Let England Shake
2. The Last Living Rose
3. The Glorious Land
4. The Words That Maketh Murder
5. All and Everyone
6. On Battleship Hill
7. England
8. In The Dark Places
9. Bitter Branches
10. Hanging In The Wire
11. Written on the Forehead
12. The Colour of the Earth

Editorial Reviews

2011 album from the critically adored British singer/songwriter. Let England Shake was recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset, on a cliff-top overlooking the sea. It was created with a cast of musicians including such long-standing allies as Flood, John Parish, and Mick Harvey. What is remarkable about Let England Shake is bound up with its music, its abiding atmosphere and in particular, its words. If Harvey's past work might seem to draw of direct emotional experience, this album is rather different. Its songs centre on both her home country, and events further afield in which it has embroiled itself. The lyrics return, time and again, to the matter of war, the fate of the people who must do the fighting, and events separated by whole ages, from Afghanistan to Gallipoli. The album they make up is not a work of protest, nor of strait-laced social or political comment. It brims with the mystery and magnetism in which she excels. But her lyric-writing in particular has arrived at a new, breathtaking place, in which the human aspects of history are pushed to the foreground. Put simply, not many people make records like this.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, England My Lionheart February 19, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Kate Bush and Nick Cave had a baby. They named the baby "Let England Shake." This is absolutely brilliant. Last night, I listened to it for the first time with the headphones on. It was so mindblowing, I actually had to take them off and stop for a while. So much subtlety and grace. This album is simply beautiful. This album is simply horrifying.

It seems to me that, beyond being an album about war and an album about England, it is an album that is about death. It is about death and how responsible we humans are for it much of the time. To know that you are mortal, that your time is finite, yet to still construct rationales and to still be beholden to animal lusts that cut that already unfathomably precious time even shorter...for what? Staggering.

I've seen a lot of conservative comments, lacking vision, that feel Ms. Harvey is not the Ms. Harvey of old, that she has lost the fire of the 1990's. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ironic that the ravages of time and the descent into bitterness that are reflected upon in this record are echoed in the negativity of some of the reviews. But I suppose that's to be expected as the war of life drags ever on.
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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
During the first decade of her career (1991-2000) Harvey was one of the most deservedly acclaimed artists in all of music. In fact much of her work during that period is among the most varied and challenging (and best) popular music ever released: Whether the potent blues-punk of "Dry" and "Rid of Me", the industrial/gospel/blues-mythology of "To Bring You My Love" (arguable her best work), or the refined, emphatically heartfelt "Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea" (2000), she seemed incapable of a misstep. Her work became both less prolific and less inspired. Apart from a collaboration with band-mate John Parrish, the next decade only saw two releases: "Uh-huh Her" was an uninspired hodgepodge of her previous approaches, while "White Chalk" consisted of decent, but somewhat pedestrian piano-based ballads. "Let England Shake" is her most inspired, consistent album in a decade.

Thematically "Let England Shake" is poignant and mournful like much or her earlier work, but the songwriting is more fully realized, and the music is richer and fuller than an White Chalk. While she doesn't really take any major departures, she finds ways to embellish her sound. Perhaps most interestingly, she sometimes directly uses other artists as a partial substrate: "Written on the Forehead," samples Niney the Observers' "Blood and Fire", while "The Glorious Land" includes a traditional bugled battle hymn of the U.S. Cavalry. On a few other tracks she subtly infuses elements like horns, brass, and maybe even a xylophone (I think). The result is a lush, warm album that deftly combines both modern and traditional musical elements: Perhaps the perfect stage for Harvey's mournful ruminations on the national and personal destruction wrought by war.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Classic From Peej March 24, 2011
Format:Audio CD
English singer/songwriter PJ Harvey has released a number of great records since her classic debut, often changing her style and - aside from maybe Uh Huh Her - making sure that each record has its own identity. For her eighth proper studio record, the great Let England Shake, Harvey is changing things up more than ever, offering something of a new vocal style, a new focal instrument (the autoharp), some strange ornamentation (saxophones, you name it), and a very heavy and constant focus (war). All that said, this still somehow feels very much like a PJ Harvey record, offering all the bite and howl of her best work while giving the listener plenty to think about.

Long known not only for her howl, but also for her songwriting ability (see White Chalk or To Bring You My Love for proof), Harvey seems maybe more focused here than ever, admitting in the media that she spent quite a bit of time studying the history of conflict and war while writing her new record. And while its easy to listen to these 12 songs and think about things going on in the world today, most of the themes and concepts can be traced back through time, Harvey often referencing Anzac Cove, not Afghanistan. And while I do find the lyrics to be particularly interesting and even rewarding (Harvey supposedly spent over two years simply perfecting the lyrics with not instruments, but pen and paper), what I find most rewarding about this record are Harvey's arrangements and singing, which are as good here as ever.

It's not that I don't care about war or respect someone writing so elegantly about the evil of men (primarily in Europe, though I imagine it's hard for an American to hear the record and not feel like she's talking Bush and Obama), it's just that, well, I like music far more than I like war.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pj's bleak , brilliant view of england, war and beyond... February 18, 2011
Format:Audio CD
When it comes to modern rock singer/songwriters, there is PJ Harvey and everyone else. This generation does not have a Dylan, Young or Mitchell walking through the door anytime soon (sorry Bright Eyes and S. Stevens.) Let England Shake is another masterpiece and her fans are going to have to follow her lead or get left behind.

Like Bowie, Harvey is constantly changing. Here's a quick run down: Punk goddess on "Dry" n' "Rid of Me." Magical temptress on "To Bring you My Love" n'"... Desire." She threw her fans a bone and gave them exactly what they wanted on the excellent yet relatively safe "Stories..." She quickly snatched the bone away with "Uh Huh Her" n' "White Chalk." "Let England Shake" is not an easy listen. With time, it may prove to be her best.

War? What is it good for? (Sorry, couldn't resist.) It's good for a spine tingling journey through the past, present and future of England. PJ mentions the hills, trees, landscapes within the context of battles that have shaped both her and the rest of the world. The price paid was and remains high. The lyrics on this album are some of the best of her career. She no longer pines for a lover or howls at the sea. She sings of life during wartime and the horrific reality of death.

While the hard charging Harvey of old may have been a perfect match for the bleak subject matter, the alt queen opts for a less obvious solution: sing sweetly and let the darkness in slowly but surely.

There are no obvious singles or sing a-longs here. The instruments float in and out like London fog. A sax steps in for a strummed guitar. A pretty harp or piano juxtaposes a harrowing tale. On The Last Living Rose, a torn Harvey sings the praises of a country where glistening gold sells for nothing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite PJ Harvey album since Stories of the City Stories of the...
This album reminded me how much I love PJ Harvey. Every one of her albums has its own style, and while this one is less weird than some of her other albums, it has its own unique... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Arianah
5.0 out of 5 stars PJ at her best
There are a few tracks on this album - The Last Living Rose & The Words That Maketh Murder come to mind - that are close to perfect. Overall, a great album from an enduring talent
Published 1 month ago by Ian R. Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Pee Jay!!
She's great. High expectations met. Truly one of the best songwriters of the last 20 years. A credit to Yeovil.
Published 4 months ago by Robert
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh.
It was pretty weird; and not good weird. Usually PJ Harvey is fabulous, but she kinds of sucks right now.
Published 8 months ago by Brandon Franz
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak. Should have been released under a different name.
To start, I'd like to say that this album's worst offense is how weak it ease. Its just has no impact, just a lot of whining. Read more
Published 11 months ago by BadJoJo
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a 'grower'
I listened to this album/disc when it first came out and read all the raves about how brilliant it was IF you are English. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Kodakwhore
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
A definitive testament of PJ Harvey as one of the biggest treasures in the music industry and the Arts in general.
Published 14 months ago by wastydkittyn
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING ALBUM
Another groundbreaking album from Pj Harvey an innovative artist from the outset who is not afraid to chart new territory and explore different musical landscapes. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!1
awesome album!!!! I love it!!! This CD was absolutely a great find!!! I love it!!! PJ Harvey at her best!!!
Published 15 months ago by Jose Garcia
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome album.
PJ Harvey is an incredible musician. This album is nothing short of awesome. Both of her Mercury Prizes are well deserved.
Published 15 months ago by jlvidea
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