Let England Shake

February 15, 2011 | Format: MP3

Song Title
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: February 15, 2011
  • Release Date: February 15, 2011
  • Label: Vagrant Records (US)
  • Copyright: (C) 2011 Vagrant Records (US)
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 40:07
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B004M8KLYQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,378 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 98 people found the following review helpful By David Chris Dalton on 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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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Alan Koslowski on February 15, 2011
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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gregory William Locke on 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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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Paul D. Sandor on 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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