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Is This Desire?

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iTunes Review

After the clear-cut artistic success of To Bring You My Love, PJ Harvey slowed herself down. She took two and a half years to record the follow-up with the lovely and shockingly subtle Is This Desire?. Where her other albums had gone for the red meat of rural blues and electrified post-punk guitars, Is This Desire? dipped itself into arrangements that defied easy categorization. The drums could still pummel on the fuzzed-out freakout of “A Perfect Day Elise,” but they took a backseat to the ethereal and avant-garde touches of “Angelene,” “The Sky Lit Up” and “Electric Light,” where one can hear her idiosyncratic style coming together amidst the forced isolation of living on a large estate back in her hometown of Yeovil. Her alliances with Nick Cave and Captain Beefheart encouraged her to explore her most insular impulses and tracks such as “Catherine,” “My Beautiful Leah” and “The Garden” speak a private musical language that pushes forth a beautiful and true vision of Harvey’s haunted world.

Customer Reviews


I haven't reviewed much here, and I feel that giving the highest rating to a record should be really rare. It's pretty laughable to see reviewers give the same high marks to work of such varying quality. I guess people thinks it's democratic, but it isn't, it just dulls the ability to judge music honestly. A five star record needs to be a rare occurrence, otherwise why bother even rating? Everything is not great and seamless, not every record raises the bar of what pop music is capable of. 'Is this Desire' does. Every song here is persuasive and rings true. Every song varies, but seems to be cut from the same cloth. Everything here sounds like it HAD to be made. It's beautiful throughout; scary, exciting, mournful, bittersweet and ecstatic by turns. It's deserving of the word masterpiece. I didn't think after 'To Bring You My Love' she could push her highly personal vision further and make it any clearer, but here she has. It's her apotheosis as a singer/songwriter/musician. This is desire of a very perfect and inexorable kind, and the desire is fulfilled with these 12 songs. Must to own!

the beauty of her under electric light...

This is the best blues/alternative album ever made. no words to describe it, except beautiful and poetic and vivid. see for yourself. High recommended.


This is one of my top four albums of all time, along with Blood on the Tracks, O.K. Computer and Time(The Revelator). I connected with it when it came out about nine or ten years ago, and am still listening to it. It has a depth of feeling that makes it timeless, in my opinion, like the other albums I listed. I like her other stuff too, but none of it is this intense. This album is like one of those fictional characters that haunt you with contradictions that you can never reconcile and yet that seem to belong together inalienably in that person.


Born: October 9, 1969 in Yeovil, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

During the alternative rock explosion, several female singer/songwriters rose to prominence, but few have proved as distinctive or as widely praised as Polly Jean Harvey. Over the course of her career, Harvey established herself as one of the most individual and influential songwriters of her era, exploring themes of sex, love, and religion with unnerving honesty, dark humor, and a twisted theatricality. At the outset, she led the trio PJ Harvey, which delivered her stark songs with bruisingly powerful,...
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