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A Woman a Man Walked By

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iTunes Review

After the quiet, meditative piano ballads of White Chalk, one might expect PJ Harvey to strike back with something slightly more direct. But a few extroverted moments aside, she keeps her sound focused on the dream she’s imagining. John Parish has acted as both a band foil, playing co-producer and bandmate on her “solo” albums, and as a co-billed conspirator on 1996’s underrated Dance Hall at Louse Point, and here he adds his extra instrumental input to push Harvey further into the spotlight. “Black Hearted Love” begins things as the sort of melodramatic pop that Harvey plays with like a second nature. “Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen” whips up a gypsy chant with its acoustic emphasis. “Passionless, Pointless” sweeps into the ethereal supernatural space where Harvey’s voice defies gravity. “Daniel” is an eavesdropping into a mother’s psychic dislocation as a sense of loss overwhelms the moment. “Leaving California” swoops with a loopy sense of melody and Harvey’s near-mocking falsetto.

Customer Reviews


well i am tipsy, and it sounds like an old friend.

very nice...

Saw PJ and John (and band) at SXSW earlier this month play a number of tracks from this album as well a few from the previous one. I always envision this PJ project as what a modern rock band would sound like back if they had modern rock during the civil war, and it's a good sound. Interestingly, they played their show dressed for the part. This is what Honest Abe would have listened to on his iPod...

oh why.

it really hurts me to give this album such a low rating. pj harvey has always been an inspiration to me musically, but her last 2 albums have left me a bit annoyed. if you were not a pj harvey fan before this, i feel that you will think she's just another whiny artist trying too hard to be current and that's incredibly unfortunate. there's dissonance and then there's making you cringe- she's hitting the latter note with half of the songs on this album. when i heard "black hearted love" I thought we got our good ol undeniably talented pj back....sigh. some art is better left in your own personal chamber- we all have some pieces we may love but store away because it's just a little more beautiful that way. it's ok, but overall she's lost some of her splendor.


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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