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Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea

4.3 out of 5 stars 226 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 31, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea--the sixth album from the most incendiary female British performer to emerge in the 1990s--is as powerful a record as any Polly Jean Harvey has made. Masterfully striking a balance between her blues-folk roots, avant-leanings, and soaring pop sensibility, it serves as a summary of Harvey's prior achievements. The abrasive, jagged guitars hark back to her fiery 1992 debut album, Dry, on the ballistic yet anthemic opener, "Big Exit," while the dreamy, opulent closer, "We Float," demonstrates her maturity as a songwriter. The clamor and emotional rush of a heady relationship--particularly on her duet with Thom Yorke, "This Mess We're In"--gives the album a ferocious clarity. The production skills of Mick Harvey (Nick Cave's Bad Seeds) lends depth and assurance. And, though PJ quotes from many influences--the Who, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, and even West Side Story--her indomitable presence shines throughout. Stories from the City is the work of a singular talent at the peak of her powers. --Gavin Martin
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 31, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B00004YW6I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,239 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Finally, we are blessed with someone talented enough to sum up the human experience with one shockingly universal cry, "I can't believe life's so complex/when I just want to sit here and watch you undress." Anyone who is not brought to the hight of joy by the comic truth of that statement is either gravely ill or just needs to get out more.
The tone of that remark pervades this album, the deliciously hyper follow-up to 1998's solemn "Is This Desire." Patti Smith must have licked her chops the first time she gave this record a listen, as she undoubtedly has by now. The punk rock freakout of an opener, "Big Exit" is as compelling as anything on her debut, Dry, or the brilliant To Bring You My Love of 1995. Honestly, after the dour collection PJ Harvey brought to us in 1998, I didn't think she still had it in her.
But, man, does she ever! It doesn't stop there, track after track is electrified with frenzied vocals and fizzing guitar work, courtesy of Mick Harvey of the Bad Seeds. From "Good Fortune" to the explosion of a riff opening "Beautiful Feeling" to the aforementioned "This is Love," it becomes violently obvious that PJ Harvey has every intention of sticking around for a long time to come.
But while the album rocks as a whole, the ballads, such as the oddly appealing acoustic song, "Horses in my Dreams," and "One Line" designate PJ Harvey as one of the most talented songwriters of her generation, and I do not pay her that compliment lightly.
To call this album a must buy is like saying Bob Dylan is a decent songwriter. Enough said.
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Format: Audio CD
PJ Harvey's fifth album "Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea" is the singer/songwriter's finest album and should please fans of her older albums and new fans alike. "Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea" is somewhat slicker, less rough-around-the-edges than her other albums. I would recommend this album to start off with, as it is probably her most assessable work.

I personally feel that this album has her best collection of songs. From the opening rocker "Big Exit" to the beautiful "We Float," every song is a winner. There isn't any filler to be found. Each song is well written and memorable. It's a good mix of fast paced rockers, mid-tempo songs, and slower ones. The listener never gets bored. This CD deals with themes of love, relationships, etc, but never gets tedious or trite. Everything on this album is sincere and straight from the heart.

The album opens up strong with "Big Exit" an excellent rocker with a good, infectious hook. "Good Fortune" keeps up the momentum. "A Place Called Home" is a beautiful, somewhat morose, slower number whose enchanting background vocals stay with the listener long after the song has ended. The album slows down a bit for the next few songs. The mid-tempo "One Line" leads in perfectly to the dark, atmospheric "Beautiful Feeling." The pace is picked up with "The Whores Hustle, and the Hustlers Whore." "The Mess We're In" features a duet with Thom Yorke. Their overlapping vocals work nicely together. "You Said Something" is another softer number in the vein of "A Place Called Home," only slightly more upbeat. The pace picks up considerably with the excellent rockers "Kamikaze" and "This is Love.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
PJ Harvey returns with yet another brilliant album. Moving away from the electronic/experimental tendencies found on Is This Desire?, this album features a return to a more guitar-based formula that at times recalls her work on Dry and Rid Of Me. The crunchy guitar of "Kamikaze" and "This Is Love" would fit in perfectly on either of those albums.
Several other tracks on the album are lighter songs that feature acoustic guitar and polished pop/rock production with beautiful layering of guitars, synths, pianos, etc. One of these tracks, the wonderful "This Mess We're In", features Radiohead's Thom Yorke on lead vocals dueting with Polly Jean.
From the album-opening rocker "Big Exit" to the album's lovely, somewhat minimalist, finale "We Float", this album shines. While most of PJ's albums since Rid Of Me have moved in a radically different direction from the last, this one retreads old ground to combine old and new. The result is a captivating rock album that ranks among her best.
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Format: Audio CD
This is definately the best PJ Harvey has yet to offer. The girl simply rocks! She writes some stunning lyrics, and her voice has increased in its reflection of longing, satisfaction, frustration, and visual meditation. The music has been beautifully constructed as well, providing a wonderful soundscape for PJ Harvey. The cd is riddled with raw emotion and never loses its grooving edge. "Big Exit" instantly gets the blood flowing! It feels as if Harvey is speaking from a high podium to entice the passing masses of the busy streets. Her voice reaches out to grab you, and the music kicks with pure rock-n-roll thump. "Good Fortune" continues the journey into Harvey's visual and random occurrences. If music were to have a hit-and-run aspect, this song would be a perfect example. Harvey enjoys fumbling around on this song, talking about love adventures. She sings, 'In Chinatown / hung-over / you showed me just what I could do.' Harvey gives the listener a view into her day and night activities. I call it hit and run because once she gives you one tale in this song, she leaves and then comes with another enveloping adventure, connecting it to a rousing chorus, before the feeling fades and the next song plays. "A Place Called Home" is an optimistic tune about keeping a relationship going strong. This song just makes you want to hug and hold your partner or friend real tight! Harvey expresses her sentiments in this song saying, 'With love comes the day / just hold on to me / ......one day there'll be a place for us.' I enjoy this peaceful and spiritual tune, each time that I hear it. It truly grows on you. "One Line" describes what it is like to find the 'one' that you seemingly cannot forget or ever let go of.Read more ›
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Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
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