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White Chalk

PJ HarveyAudio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2007 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2007 $10.00  
Vinyl, 2007 $17.87  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. The Devil 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Dear Darkness 3:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Grow Grow Grow 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. When Under Ether 2:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. White Chalk 3:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Broken Harp 1:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Silence 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. To Talk To You 4:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The Piano 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Before Departure 3:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. The Mountain 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 

Amazon's PJ Harvey Store


Image of album by PJ Harvey


Image of PJ Harvey


“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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Frequently Bought Together

White Chalk + Let England Shake + To Bring You My Love
Price for all three: $32.64

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 2, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B000SFYUV2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,287 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

White Chalk is Pj Harvey's eighth studio album and first new material since 2004's critically acclaimed Uh Huh Her. Pj Harvey went into the studio late last year to record and produce with Flood and John Parish. The three had worked together previously on the Grammy nominated To Bring You My Love and on Is This Desire? White Chalk also includes musical contributors from Harvey's long time associate Eric Drew Feldman, and Jim White from The Dirty Three.

This carnival ride to the netherworld of the soul is PJ Harvey's most dizzyingly radical work since the raw pulse and grind of her 1993 debut. It's also entirely different. Harvey's created an emotionally fractured Gothic fairytale that rides on her spare, tattered piano playing and her voice, which she turns into a fragile siren's call: high, airy, and imperiled, and made otherworldly by a labyrinth of echo. Instead of pop tunes, Harvey offers an 11-song cycle that's the metaphorical story of a breakup in which the Devil, a drug-induced nightmare, and a seemingly bottomless pit of despair all play a part. At the end, in "The Mountain," her banshee wails conclude a journey so oblique it's worthy of David Lynch or Neil Gaiman. Flood, who co-produced Harvey's 1998 epic rock breakthrough Is This Desire? with her, reprises that role, but White Chalk is more chamber music--and a dark chamber at that. --Ted Drozdowski

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inexplicably Lovely October 17, 2007
Format:Audio CD
Can't say why this album appeals to me so much, I wasn't expecting to like it. "Is This Desire?" was the last thing she put out that I enjoyed, and I'd kind of given up on her (and music in general). Currently, though, "White Chalk" is possibly my favorite Harvey album to date. The production is simple, unadorned, perfect for the songs. The arrangements are sparse, but extremely subtle and well conceived. Hardly ever do I hear an album where I feel like every note and drum beat has been placed exactly where it needs to go, with nothing extra and nothing left out. Leaves me a bit floored, actually.

As for the lyrics: yeah, they're hell for bleak and depressing and uber-personal. On another album they might be too much for me to take, but here, with this music, she manages to make it work (for MY earholes, at least). An album so clearly private and confessional, I feel lucky just to be privy to its contents.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a dagger, but a rope April 24, 2010
Format:Audio CD
Upon listening to this album in 2007, when it first came out, I immediately realized that there was something special about it, and thought it would continue to speak to me year in and year out. Some time has elapsed, and I can say that my prediction has held true thus far. White Chalk is a jewel, one of those rare works of art that transcend genre and give voice to emotion with impeccable intellectual honesty.

PJ Harvey delivers a collection of eleven perfect tracks, which combine to form a moving, if mysterious, story of abandonment and sorrow, of gloom and doom. Whereas the overall narrative may be elusive -- it's hard to say whether the premise is the loss of a child and subsequent departure of a companion, the demise of one parent and folly of the other as witnessed by a young girl powerless to keep disaster at bay, betrayal and heartbreak, or none/all of the above -- one track passes the torch to the next, creating a seamless succession of scenes. These are without doubt pages ripped out of the same book, where cohesion and absolute integrity are used to good effect.

With commendable lyricism, mastery of the language worthy of the best poets, brevity both beautiful and intense, PJ Harvey depicts a journey not from here to there, but from one state of despair to another. Half ghost town in the West, half heath in Dorset, this is a lonely place, yet one many adults will inhabit sooner or later. The mood is dark, but also uniquely epic (not dissimilar to some passages of Britten's The Turn of the Screw, although the comparison may seem far-fetched to some).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over the moors and far away... October 2, 2007
Format:Audio CD
PJ Harvey provides more drama in one album than most artists create in a career. Ms. Harvey has just taken her meloncholic trip to another level. White Chalk is a tremendous achievement. With timeless instruments and ghost-like vocals PJ harvey has created one of the finest albums of 07.

Through layers and layers of atomsphere, Harvey spins a world of her own. A world out of time. Much like Neutral Milk Hotel's In the aeroplane over the sea and Nick Drake's Pink Moon, White Chalk has no peers in modern music. These three albums could have been released anytime over the last fifty years.

Throughout White Chalk, Harvey's voice quivers over the delicate tinkling of an old piano. PJ has put away her electric guitar and scaled back her famous howl to whispering heights. Harvey wills her piano to tell a sad story in the same way she could bend the notes blue on her guitar.

The song White Chalk is one of the best of her career. One pictures a ghost-like figure searching the English moors for yesterday's answers; Answers just beyond her reach. Other highlights include: the disturbing Dear Darkness, the graceful Silence and the unrestrained (finally) The Mountain.

White Chalk uses quiet effects to affect listeners and this makes it one of the finest releases of 2007.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars give it a couple of listens October 4, 2007
Format:Audio CD
This is an album that you need to listen to a couple of times - you'll see, it will grow. You'll be humming the songs and not know where they came from. It's different from what she's done before; I would associate it with most of 'Is This Desire' - and 'The Slow Drug' from 'Uh Huh Her'. So if you liked those albums and are willing to give this one time, you'll probably like it. If you like the rockier stuff, you can always still pick up her brilliant but overlooked '4-Track Demos' from 1993.
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51 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Autumnal October 12, 2007
Format:Audio CD
If I'd listened to some of the reviews I've read I would never have bought "White Chalk," but now I realize that the reviewers dismissed it because they couldn't hear it. The "real" PJ Harvey is categorized in the ossified mind as the punky, guitar happy howler of classic work like "Is This Desire?" She's celebrated for being an artist, but paradoxically criticized for daring to change, to follow her bliss, the reaction akin to that of horrified McDonald's patrons if they bit into Big Macs made of Filet Mignon. The burger might actually be wonderful, but it just wouldn't "taste right" because it wasn't what they expected. "White Chalk" isn't "Is This Desire?" (One of my favorite records), but it's great in its own right.

A lot of contemporary music grows tedious by the first minute - O.K., I get it, you want more, Britney - but White Chalk has been my constant soundtrack for the last week, and, despite being only about thirty-four minutes long, hasn't palled a bit. There's a minor key, folksy feel to it, from the acoustic instruments to the restrained, whispery sound of PJ's matchless voice, the lyrics suggesting old murder ballads and overheard confessions. It's autumnal, just right for this time of year, spooky and haunting, a suite of sepia toned chamber music in the key of regret, nostalgia and dread. The same way a whisper makes you listen more actively than a shout,the quiet complexity of White Chalk remains intriguing -- there's something to it, something that moves and engages, shaded rather than hid, making the whole profound and real in a world that so often prefers sameness and plastic pretension.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect.
Perfect condition and of course wonderful music.
Published 1 month ago by LM
5.0 out of 5 stars PJ
I bought this disc for my son and he loves it. He wants the whole collection of PJ Harvey now
Published 6 months ago by Joseph A. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Transported to another time and place, but where am I?
I really like - no, love - PJ Harvey's work because she defies expectations and is original and thoughtful, and I appreciate her sense of humor. Read more
Published 12 months ago by A. Krakar
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost uncomfortably personal, but very generous and musically...
One night I couldn't sleep at all, so I made some tea and put on the tv, hoping to get sleepy soon. But then I zapped to a channel which was showing this fragile looking girl,... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Baudolino
4.0 out of 5 stars Her most off-putting, grating yet satisfying album yet!!!
When I first listened to White Chalk at time of release. I was extremely discomforted by the stripped-down, minimalist sound Peej decided to adopt here. Read more
Published on February 20, 2012 by Michael A. White
4.0 out of 5 stars Silence
It's hard to imagine this is the same artist who did songs like "Rid of Me" and "Sheela-Na-Gig." PJ Harvey has matured to more artist than rocker, and that is fine for me. Read more
Published on May 17, 2011 by Douglas
4.0 out of 5 stars i love you p.j.
it really was a long time that i didn't listen to a beautiful record from this great artist. P.J. Harvey didn't seem P.J. Harvey from "to bring you my love" from this album. Read more
Published on October 24, 2010 by Daniele Mantovani
4.0 out of 5 stars Pass the laudanum
It's tempting to call this thing Emily Dickinson rock. From the near-deathbed settings to the ether-induced dreams of god, the devil, and the already dead to the white linen Polly... Read more
Published on October 10, 2010 by jgc
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelente
Un album verdaderamente FANTÁSTICO, es cierto que es difícil reconocer que lo es con la primera vez que lo escuchas, ya que no es música fácil, pero... Read more
Published on September 9, 2010 by R. Tadeo Ceron Torres
5.0 out of 5 stars And Now For Something Totally Different . . .
Anyone who's listened to more than one PJ Harvey album knows that she hates to repeat herself, and so far has managed to avoid it. Read more
Published on July 25, 2010 by Lori A. Ross
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