- Audio CD (31 May 2004)
- Limited Edition edition
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Limited Edition
- Label: Island
- ASIN: B00024X0HE
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,889 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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PJ Harvey's seventh album Uh Huh Her, the follow-up to 2001's Mercury Prize-winning Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, is released on May 31. Written, performed, recorded, mixed and produced by Harvey, the album includes the single "The Letter".
How can someone so unpredictable behave so predictably? Every time PJ Harvey releases something sophisticated and clean like 2000's Mercury Music Prize tipped Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, it just about guarantees a contradictory follow-up album is around the bend. Her ambitious 1992 debut, Dry, inspired the bitter death rattle of Rid of Me. Her third offering, 1995's elegant To Bring You My Love, gave way to the stormy Is This Desire?. Harvey's sixth solo album, Uh Huh Her, doesn't disappoint. It's a nasty riposte to the success of its predecessor, built on grubby blues-punk riffs and the brooding, primal howl that Harvey uses when she wants to impersonate a she-wolf. Some of it seems disappointingly remedial ("The Letter" "Cat on the Wall"), but the best material ("The Desperate Kingdom of Love" "Who the Fuck?") just reconfirms that no matter how raw the British songwriter serves it up, the beauty of her work is undeniable. --Aidin Vaziri
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After this two minute offering though, it seems Harvey's aggression has been spent. Most of the album is minimalist, striking a balance between blues and folk, but the narrator is never content. Subversion, stolen innocence and poetic justice are all touched upon here (The Pocket Knife sees Harvey as a reluctant bride-to-be) Tracks such as You Come Through and one-minute instrumental The End also introduce a marine sound to her music (revisiting her youth perhaps), not forgetting Seagulls (a brief track of, well, seagull noises). The overall sound swings between delicate and dark, (It's You trembles under a crunchy guitar but the song never rises above a weary groan).
Harvey has created an album which touches upon moments from her entire career, and at the same time has managed to push her sound in a direction which offers the album its own individuality. Nowhere before the acoustic folk of The Desparate Kingdom of Love has Harvey sounded so learned. Johnny Cash would be proud.
this album will be a cause of great controversy
those who like 'big' production might find it boring
but those who love art to its purest and minimalest use of means are bound to love it
songwriting is personal and straight to the point
pj does almost everything by herself
that's why it's such a precious work of art.
a handmade jewel in times of corporate music hysteria...
Some comments about the tracks: if you view 'Who The ****' as being not about hairdressing, but dealing with concerns about 'dirty fingers' being in 'curls' not on her head, it makes a lot more sense. 'Pocket knife' keeps getting described as a murder ballad, but - since it's the 'white material will stain', I think suicide (or self-harm) ballad would be closer to the truth. Some critics find 'It's You' to be merely filler, but a more disturbing description of a mother-daughter relationship I've yet to hear. 'Mr. Badmouth' is as bitter as it gets, 'Shame' full of sadness & regret, 'The Letter' a wonderful description of the erotic possibilities of writing ('your blue eyes') conjuring up one's lover .... other tracks project different emotional states, all successfully.
Her best album? No. She doesn't have a 'best' album. It doesn't matter what she does, it doesn't matter whether I like it or not, she is beyond all that. I mentioned Britten before, & my feelings towards her are similar; I cannot understand all his work (& I hate the operatic form in general), but I can never deny his greatness as an artist. She's right up there with him.
But we already have a "Rid Of Me", and Polly has never been one to tire us with remakes of albums. Most tracks sound uneasy at first, but give "Uh Huh Her" a few listens, and you'll find there's no other music you want to play.
The Life & Death Of Mr Badmouth is a slow but intense, growling rocker, and Polly sounds creepier than ever alongside a dirty guitar riff on It's You. Cat On The Wall and Who The F***? are delightfully black and rollicking but not in a way P J Harvey has been before. Pocket Knife is intriguingly understated and Shame is just amazingly involving. Even the more mellows tracks that I found difficult on first listens - The Slow Drug, The Darker Days Of Me And Him, and You Come Through - are completely captivating once they've taken hold.
Those that have all of P J Harvey's albums will know that they are vastly different from each other. "Uh Huh Her" follows suit but is no less genius. It's just understated genius.
Since the concert I have been listening to Uh Huh Her over and over again. Never heard such a pure, direct, powerful and agitating work of music. It keeps growing with every time I listen to it. The sometimes called "lo-fi" production of the album feels more authentic than the most high profile and technically overproduced works nowadays. Somehow the songs connect directly to you. Especially "The slow drug" and "The desperate kingdom of love" sound as if she sings directly next to you. The powerful "...Mr. Badmouth" and "Who the fuck?" are just amazing. The songs work perfectly together, but have also no problem to stand on their own.
I think I have become a fan for life. Just bought "Stories..." what also is a good album but by far not as pure as "Uh Huh Her". Can't wait to hear her other works.