1993, Music

Rid of Me (1993) by PJ Harvey

I have read about Harvey a lot, her albums are often in year-end best of lists and she’s been around long enough that everything that she releases gets a lot of coverage. But I’ve taken a really long time to listen to her.

About 12 years ago I won this massive, not very good compilation of a bunch of artists to play at this music festival in Sydney. It wasn’t very good because the music on it was just random tracks licensed from the 50 or so artists’ discographies, with no rhyme or reason. This was the first time I ever heard a PJ Harvey song. (In its defense, the compilation introduced me to Nick Cave, so that’s something.) I don’t know what it was about the song, but it didn’t make much of an impression. I was drowning in a certain type of indie rock at the time, and maybe it seemed to much of a piece of that. And so I didn’t rush out and buy one of her records.

In other news, I am an idiot.

This is a magnificent, noisy, abrasive piece alternative rock but combined with a unique lyrical perspective. (For example, Harvey excels at writing from others’ perspectives, not something that can be said for most singer-songwriters.) And punctuated by one of the least likely departures you’ll ever find on a contemporary alternative album. (I am, of course, referring to the string sextet – does Harvey play all of those instruments?)

I haven’t heard her debut, but hear she seems fully formed, she knows exactly what she wants to say and how she wants to say it. As I said, it’s magnificent. (And the whole thing is rendered extra uncomfortable by Albini, I suspect.)


Read my reviews of music from 1993 or why not read all of my reviews of albums by PJ Harvey?

All tracks written by Polly Jean Harvey and produced by Steve Albini, except where noted.

  1. “Rid of Me” 4:28
  2. “Missed” 4:25
  3. “Legs” 3:40
  4. “Rub ’til It Bleeds” 5:03
  5. “Hook” 3:57
  6. “Man-Size Sextet,” produced by PJ Harvey, Rob Ellis, Head; 2:18
  7. “Highway 61 Revisited” by Bob Dylan; 2:57
  8. “50ft Queenie” 2:23
  9. “Yuri-G” 3:28
  10. “Man-Size” 3:16
  11. “Dry” 3:23
  12. “Me-Jane” 2:42
  13. “Snake” 1:36
  14. “Ecstasy” 4:26
  • PJ Harvey – vocals, guitar, organ, cello, violin, producer (6)
  • Steve Vaughan – bass
  • Rob Ellis – drums, percussion, backing vocals, arrangement, producer (6)

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