Find us on facebook

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Let England Shake", PJ Harvey's masterpiece

Let England Shake - PJ Harvey
NME gave the album a perfect ten. The average metascore on Metacritic (a website that summarizes all reviews made) rates the record with a phenomenal 88 (based on 35 critics right now). Its rewarding to see, for once, the majority of the "music scene" is recognizing the value of an album and an artist that restores the devalued idea that art (music in this case) should be important, should be meaningful.

"Let England Shake" its not just a new reinvention of Polly Jean Harvey, someone that simply deserves to be considered among the most important female artists music history has, due to her constant capacity of challenging herself while she creates a language of her own. Its also a reinvention of folk, connecting the traditional -"The Colour of the Earth", "On Battleship Hill"-, with the XXI Century -"Written on the Forehead"- a sound as rich as unique taken it as a whole. But its not just about what it means for a music genre. Far from it.

As the excellent review of Mike Williams on the aforementioned weekly music magazine says, on "Let England Shake" PJ declares herself as a "political animal". But she's not doing it by overexposing her opinions and sharing her vision about the current state of the world affairs. No, she does it by creating characters, stories and situations in her songs, going from a fictional individual to a recognisable universe of death, war and desolation. She brings us the past -Gallipoli- to unify it with the present -Iraq, Afghanistan- because she's not protesting against any particular crime or injustice -as all the wars are- she's revealing that England, and the whole world, has been making the same mistakes, committing the same atrocities, making violence a common pattern of world history. Take a look at news today, please.

To highlight the best moments of this record is a hard task. For me would be the desperate pledge of "What if take my problem to the United Nations?" in "The Words that Maketh Murder", the knock-out ending of "In the Dark Places", the poignant lyrics of "The Glorious Land" or the apocalyptic battleground described on "Bitter Branches". But even in the "riskier" moments -"England" goes a bit too far for my taste in the way she sings, or the reggae sampler in "Written in the Forehead"- is the record as a whole that works, is the enduring and compelling experience that "Let England Shake" provides to the listener. A genuine -and much needed- masterpiece.

SCORE: 9/10
The link to my article (in Spanish) reviewing the record, from the website I collaborate with: 
"Let England Shake", la guerra según PJ Harvey

No comments:

Post a Comment