Record Review: PJ Harvey
"To Bring You My Love"
This is not Mariah Carey bringing you her sweet, saccharine love.
This is not Madonna bringing you her seductive, X-rated love.
This is not Amy Grant bringing you her girl-next-door love.
Ponder this tender couplet from the title track of P J Harvey's brilliant new album: "Forsaken heaven, curse God above Lain with the Devil to bring you my love." This is not the kind of love one accepts blindly, and a careful listen to Harvey's powerful and compelling songs will reveal the dark side of love, the dark side tapped by Medea when she chopped her living brother into pieces so that her lover Jason could escape with the Golden Fleece.
The 10 songs on To Bring You My Love explore that kind of obsessional love, more suited to psychotherapy than pop songs. But given Harvey's history, that's no surprise. Dry, her unrelenting debut album, and Rid of Me, the followup, were stark and often bleak characterizations of love gone wrong. As on her latest album, the orchestration was minimal, just spare guitar and bass lines and insistent rhythms.
Harvey's lyrics are not complex either, but she weaves them together in a witch's brew of foreboding, threatening, irresistible music. I've been listening to To Bring You My Love for about a month now, and it gets better every time.
It's not the stuff of summer romance, nor does it contain any songs to be played at weddings, but it's all about love and all about emotion and all about the reality of human beings and their tangled ways. To Bring You My Love is one of the best albums of 1995 by one of the most significant artists in popular music. If you haven't paid serious attention to P J Harvey, you should -- and To Bring You My Love is a hypnotic and eerily alluring introduction.
Transmitted: 95-05-18 10:52:54 EDT
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