- Audio CD (February 15, 2011)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Vagrant
- ASIN: B004GHYCKW
- Average Customer Review: 98 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,371 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Let England Shake
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Let England Shake
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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.
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In general, rockers like U2 & GNR hit their peak around early 90s when alt rock was blowing up--acts like Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, STP.
so back to my question, who you gonna say better than my girl PJ?
In numerous interviews Polly Jean Harvey states that her goal with each album is for it to be different than the previous, and in that she is far more successful than her peers. The goth-electro foreboding of 1998's Is This Desire? gave way to 2000's pure rock Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, an album for which she won the Mercury Prize. 2007's White Chalk was also critically lauded and for this album Harvey ditched her Gretsch Broadkaster for the piano. While the instruments and the overall sound of each album differs from one to the next you could say that each of these albums dealt with the inner world and subjects ranged from subjects like unrequited love to death to sex; the personal politics and torments and joys that make us human. On Let England Shake, Harvey places the personal politics aside and focuses on the outside world. Images of war and its impact on the land are a common subject matter here with allusion to both Afghanistan and World War I, however, the music shifts the overall tone of the song so that the album does not feel heavy handed. To put it bluntly, Harvey does not preach to her listeners, which is unique for such a political album.
Final Impressions : If you are as much a fan of PJ Harvey as I am then this album will not disappoint. If you are a lover of music...this album is worth the cost. It is already receiving critical praise.