8.15.2008

PJ Harvey: Uh Huh Her

Unlike the other PJ Harvey albums from the EPFL that I've reviewed here, I'd never heard Uh Huh Her until I checked it out with my handy-dandy library card. Just like the other PJ Harvey albums from the EPFL, Uh Huh Her is pretty awesome.

Music: 4.5 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
Apparently, this is Harvey's attempt to do everything on her own. The credits say she wrote, performed, and produced everything on the album (except for the drums and some backup vocals). For the most part, she did a really good job. The music is aggressive, energetic, and raw, yet it still maintains the nuanced layers of sound that Harvey creates so well. There's really only one stinker: "Who the Fuck?" is a musical throwback to PJ Harvey's debut, which would be fine if the lyrics didn't sound as if they were written by a 13-year-old boy with raging hormones and a limited vocabulary. Otherwise, the songs fit together in a cohesive way that makes this an album rather than merely a collection of songs.

Packaging: 4 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
Normally I don't like packages that are centered around photos, but Harvey pulled it off. The liner notes contain a bunch of snapshots that seem to mirror her life as both an artist and a person. There are little notes about the recordings taped over the pictures, and though they're not easy to read, they give insight into her mindset as she made this record. I wish there were lyrics, but looking at the liner notes, I completely understand why they weren't included.

Listen if you like: Cat Power, Patti Smith, Nick Cave. Really, though, listen if you like the darkest and rawest moments of PJ Harvey's catalog.

If it were food, it'd be: Alcohol. You know it'll make you feel like crap, but you just can't resist... especially when you're already feeling a little down.

(Note: When I checked this out, someone who checked the disc out before me left a copy of Steely Dan Aja in the case beneath Uh Huh Her. I think Steely Dan is one of the very worst bands in the history of rock, right up there with New Edition and Sheryl Crow. I left the CD in the case, so whoever checks this one out next gets a free Steely Dan CD. Lucky you.)

6 comments:

The Mad Hatter said...

One of the worst? Ok, fine; I've heard the arguments. Your opinion does matter to me, old boy. But so does mine. So let me counter: Steely Dan is one of the best rock bands. There.

taotechuck said...

My goodness, Hatter. You frame your argument with such eloquence and subtle grace. You, my friend, must have been a professional debater, or perhaps a Presidential speechwriter, in a former life.

You've inspired me to rebut in a way that I hope is worthy of your original, beautifully stated counter-thesis:

Is not.

The Mad Hatter said...

Why, thank you; I was already under the presupposition that it was needless for you and I to exchange in a bloody, refuse-to-budge stalemate concerning our obvious polar opinions on the Dan, so I figured it would be better to pose it more simply, as it were.

But while it is not courteous to counter a counter, I will add my own little doch particle to your insistent taoist manner:

Is, and maybe ever.

;)

taotechuck said...

That's a mighty convincing argument, Hatter. You may have won this round, but I'll be back when you least expect it.

The Mad Hatter said...

How can I win an argument we never had?

Wait.

Damn.

Anonymous said...

I'm not into P.J. Harvey, but I do like the original P.J. -- P.J. Proby. If you get a chance to hear his big ballads, you will hear the best pop/rock/soul voice ever -- bar none.
Some of his early work is a bit tinny and has dated because of the backings, but at his best, his voice is awesome, and at the age of 70 he is still knocking them dead with live appearances. Rock writer Nick Cohn said that P.J. was, with James Brown, the most electrifying live performer he ever saw.