November 25, 2009

PJ Harvey//The Mess We're In, This is Love

Angelina recently reminded me of the awesomeness of Stories of the City, Stories of the Sea (a quintessentially New York album), thanks to her recent re-obsession with "The Mess We're In," featuring our favorite depressing British man, Thom Yorke. I've been playing it a lot again. It's a fantastic album.

I really like PJ Harvey, even though she's a total Patti Smith rip-off (she denies this over and over, but I don't understand how it could possibly not be true). Although the two can be sonically and vocally very similar, her stuff often has a slightly different energy. I'll never tire of songs like "C'mon Billy" and "Yuri G." Like Smith, everything's raw and tough.

With gobs of buzz and critical acclaim, SotC,SotS was really Harvey's mainstream breakout. For me, it will always represent this very specific time of life. I bought it just before I went on vacation with my family the summer after my senior year of high school. My boyfriend and I had just gotten back together and he came along for some of the two weeks in Maine. My dad's blue Acura was on it's way out at the time, but this unofficially became our car on vacation and I drove it much too fast on tiny winding island roads. We'd go out after everyone would go to sleep and smoke cloves by the dock. We dyed our hair with henna and madeout a lot, all the while spinning the hell out of this album, Amnesiac and a short EP Nick bought me called The Modern Age, put out by a band no one had heard of at the time called (haha) The Strokes.

That summer was perfect, golden. In a few months, I would go to college. Nick and I would break up again, this time for good. 9/11 would happen. Life changes. But I can almost taste the cloves and feel the cool New England air of the summer of '01 on my skin when "This is Love" comes on.

The Mess We're In.mp3

This is Love.mp3

I can't believe
Life's so complex,
When I just wanna sit here
And watch you undress.


Levi Jacob Bailey said...

I just heard her collaboration with Gordon Gano on the end credits of True Blood. I'd never known about it before. Trouble is, I thought it was a Patti Smith song I hadn't heard. I love PJ, I have several of her CDs, but this is ridiculous. Like you say, she's claimed to not be influenced by Patti one time this might have been true, but you gotta some point. ANYways...I Googled "PJ Harvey Patti Smith rip off" and found your post. Wondering if you'd heard this... Terrible.

g said...

Hadn't heard that track, but like you, I find it very hard to believe that PJ Harvey is not influenced by Patti Smith.