PJ Harvey has always been known for her idiosyncratic performances, but she is even more renowned for her dulcet voice and profound lyrics.
Her new album with John Parish, "A Woman A Man Walked By" is, simply put, musical poetry of the 19th century persuasion. I say this because the lyrics can easily be likened to the poems of Emily Dickinson, with themes of death, love, loneliness and endless pondering of why things are the way they are.
And Polly Jean did something with her words on this album that I find is difficult to do as a songwriter. She wrote the lyrics AFTER listening to the music John Parish had sent her, which is quite a feat since I think the majority find it easier when the lyrics come first.
The real gem of this album is her new single "Black Hearted Love," in which her honeyed yet heated voice merges with John Parish's guitar solos as she richly sings, "When you call out my name in rapture, I volunteer my soul for murder."
It's a true codependent love song for the ages; intriguing, seductive and, despite the obsessive fervor of what she's singing about, quite charming.
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