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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:08 am 
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We all know how her music has changed a lot since 1992. She started with a full-on alt-rock trio with a basic rock instrumentation. Drums, bass, electric guitar and a distortion pedal. Her songs what you'd call aggressive and enpowering, especially in Rid of Me. The songs on Rid of Me were bit repetitive I might say. 90% of the songs had that palm-muted power chord riffs, that's a guitar technique that she uses A LOT on this album and many other songs.

After the trio split, To Bring You My Love, Is This Desire?, Stories, Uh Huh Her came. And then White Chalk came, which was the beginning of that drastic change in her style and music. It was quite funny to watch her perform Man-Size with that soft, delicate voice from that era.

But anyway, since that album, all you could hear from Polly was piano, autoharp, saxophone and if there was an electric guitar somewhere, it was always clean. No distortion, no rocking out whatsoever. She said mutiple times that she's an artist who doesn't like to repeat herself and that's good, but as a rock fan, I was a bit disappointed. You couldn't hear a tinge of rock in her music from 2007 on. And now that I've been watching her live concerts this year, I'm convinced she got tired of her old classic sound.

How do you feel about this?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:50 am 
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Personally, I'm enjoying a lot her new direction and I appreciate her effort to concentrate on different instruments for her albums (White Chalk - piano, LES - autoharp, THSDP - sax), with each new sound standing as the objective correlative of the whole body of work. This last album is absolutely different from her old rock style, but it's undeniably the heaviest and dirtiest that she has been for a long time and I love that despite the multi-layered instrumentation she still is able to keep things concise and direct, as the first albums.

All in all I don't miss her grungy days nor her old guitar playing. Being not a particular fanatic of guitar/rock lately, I'm happy how her sonic soundscape has evolved so much so far.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:37 pm 
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As for me, I love her current music style. THSDP is a quite powerful work. Yes, it sounds a little like LES, but I think THSDP is more aggressive in sounding (and somehow in lyrics too). PJ Harvey is really a treasure for me and my unstable music taste (and for all of us, of course). But sometimes I feel myself so sad that PJ maybe will never write something in TBYML or Rid of me style. There may be no more bright make-up or her deep voice in future albums. Today we can see some echoes from the old times only in performances (mini-skirt and the way she moves while singing). But who knows what will her new works bring :)

Moreover, I love her current music style because today she makes more professional and considered pieces of work. Once in an interview (don't remember which one) PJ said that she always wanted to write an album like LES, but she couldn't do it because of lack of her professionalism. So, we should applaud her for patience and diligence which she demonstrated while coming to LES :) Music and lyrics, she brought everything to perfection.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:08 pm 
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Billy wrote:
...But anyway, since that album, all you could hear from Polly was piano, autoharp, saxophone and if there was an electric guitar somewhere, it was always clean. No distortion, no rocking out whatsoever. <...>

I think that even with just a piano, autoharp or saxophone her music is a much more legitimate ROCK than 99,98% of this glamorous pop-hell which is a modern "rock" is. Because IMO rock is not just a set of instruments - it's an attitude, sense of innovation and experimentation, and a TALENT of songwriting (Polly still has all of that, can't argue with that).

The "LES" tour was perfect IMO - she played a lot of instruments (such a complex sound with just 4 people), there was a "dancing segment", and the setlist consisted of all my favourite albums ("Let England Shake", "Is This Desire?" and "White Chalk", plus I love "C'mon Billy" live). And I don't know much about distortion, but her guitar on "Meet Ze Monsta" or "The Sky Lit Up" seemed pretty "dirty" (in a good sence, if I'm being unclear). Plus the heavily effected guitar on "Written on the Forehead" and "The Glorious Land". And also for me "In the Dark Places" is still one of the most legitimate rock songs of the 21st century so far (not in terms of "rocking out", but in a sense of "utterly cool, yet very thoughtful and melodic").

Regarding "Hope Six", I can see how both "The Ministry Of Defence" and "The Wheel" could be considered as a proper "rock-hymns".

And while all of that dancing is great, I do miss her playing an instrument in this current tour (sorry, but I'm not counting this additional sax which she sometimes plays). The band is doing great, but that is such a pure joy to watch her play, she is so concentrated when she does, and I think she even sings better because of that concentration (but that's just my opinion).


Last edited by Kuk91 on Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:25 pm 
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Quote:
http://www.thegardenforum.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2217

Much prefer the rocking Polly, from '91-2001. For me 'Hope Six' was an improvement on the previous 2 albums but the blues/rock era was what grabbed me and will stay with me.


me too, of all her albums Hope would possibly be my last choice to put on - but having said that after being at the Eden Sessions show I now listen to is in a different & much better light....but will that memory fade too quickly - hope note :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:29 pm 
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If I ever wished some era to return, it'd be 2001 during the Stories tour FOR SURE. I know that many fans seems to dislike this album because it's her most commercial release to date, but I just love it. She was the perfect embodiment of badass female rock, something Courtney Love always wanted to be. I can't even accurately describe how badass and HOT she was during that time IMO.

I feel like Stories was a direct response to TBYML lyric-wise. TBYML was more of a collection of melancholic bluesy "don't leave me pleaseeee" type of songs like The Dancer, C'mon Billy, Send His Love to Me. In Stories, it was more of an optimistic happier version of all of that together. The video for This Is Love is one of my favorites ALL TIME. Simple . I never thought that playing such a basic chord progression like F5 - G5 over and over again in the verses of a song could be so... sexy. :grin:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:37 pm 
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Kuk91 wrote:
Billy wrote:
...But anyway, since that album, all you could hear from Polly was piano, autoharp, saxophone and if there was an electric guitar somewhere, it was always clean. No distortion, no rocking out whatsoever. <...>

I think that even with just a piano, autoharp or saxophone her music is a much more legitimate ROCK than 99,98% of this glamorous pop-hell which is a modern "rock" is. Because IMO rock is not just a set of instruments - it's an attitude, sense of innovation and experimentation, and a TALENT of songwriting (Polly still has all of that, can't argue with that).

The "LES" tour was perfect IMO - she played a lot of instruments (such a complex sound with just 4 people), there was a "dancing segment", and the setlist consisted of all my favourite albums ("Let England Shake", "Is This Desire?" and "White Chalk", plus I love "C'mon Billy" live). And I don't know much about distortion, but her guitar on "Meet Ze Monsta" or "The Sky Lit Up" seemed pretty "dirty" (in a good sence, if I'm being unclear). Plus the heavily effected guitar on "Written on the Forehead" and "The Glorious Land". And also for me "In the Dark Places" is still one of the most legitimate rock songs of the 21st century so far (not in terms of "rocking out", but in a sense of "utterly cool, yet very thoughtful and melodic").

Regarding "Hope Six", I can see how both "The Ministry Of Defence" and "The Wheel" could be considered as a proper "rock-hymns".

And while all of that dancing is great, I do miss her playing an instrument in this current tour (sorry, but I'm not counting this additional sax which she sometimes plays). The band is doing great, but that is such a pure joy to watch her play, she is so concentrated when she does, and I think she even sings better because of that concentration (but that's just my opinion).


I agree with you to an extent. I understand what you mean by ''ROCK'' as having a badass attitude, doing what you want to do sort of thing, but when I'm talking about rock music, I'm referring to the strict sense of the word, meaning a genre of music played in 4/4 time signature with a backbeat, distorted electric guitar, power chords, bass, drums, see what I mean? That's what I think Polly isn't doing anymore. At least not predominantly like she used to, to be honest.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:49 am 
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Billy wrote:
We all know how her music has changed a lot since 1992. She started with a full-on alt-rock trio with a basic rock instrumentation. Drums, bass, electric guitar and a distortion pedal. Her songs what you'd call aggressive and enpowering, especially in Rid of Me. The songs on Rid of Me were bit repetitive I might say. 90% of the songs had that palm-muted power chord riffs, that's a guitar technique that she uses A LOT on this album and many other songs.



A lot of her stuff is repetitive going throughout her career. That's never really changed, even though her styles have. She's my favorite artist, but that's my least favorite thing about her. Some of those long song intros where nothing much is happening or changing. I have to fast forward or skip past that stuff.

As far how I feel about her evolution and lack of interest in revisiting previous rock territory, I'm mostly ok with it. Most artists seem to re-travel the same old ground from album to album, with only the slightest of differences, if they are any different at all. Or they try too hard to switch things up and it just ends up sounding contrived, as if they're trying too darn hard to be different. Not a true, honest evolution in style or development. More like they know they need to grow and change but they really don't know how to go about it so they ape someone else's style.

That said, I would kill for her to revisit some of her old territory. It doesn't have to be a whole album, just for a song or two in some past styles. Maybe it could be done in the context of soundtrack work, where it's typically a single song contribution (provided of course, the filmmaker is requesting a song from her). I'd love for her to revisit again that aching, raspy vocal style prominent on the TBYML album. Then maybe something again in the electronic vein of Is This Desire? Then maybe something thoroughly rough, heavy and bluesy, where she rips away with slide guitar ala Ecstasy. In this sort of context, where it isn't about her continued development as an artist so much as contributing to the vision of the filmmaker. Here she could justify retracing her steps if it best fits the context of the film.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:08 pm 
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Not quite sure what's going on with 'my' post above- seeming to include a comment from Mart.
The quote is mine and the comments below are Mart's.
But I think the point is made-
Much prefer the rocking Polly, from '91-2001. For me 'Hope Six' was an improvement on the previous 2 albums but the blues/rock era was what grabbed me and will stay with me.
I have no problem with her current output, it just doesn't interest me very much.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:24 pm 
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The artist must please him/her self first. Everybody else can choose from their personal beliefs whether it is good, bad, ugly, indifferent etc. If the artist wants to go for the pleasing performer route and play the hits and favorites then you become the entertainer. The only time when Polly sort of did this was her concerts in 2003. There she played the archetypal rock chick (lady) with guitar in hand blasting the music to the enchanted onlookers. But as people here are already aware, Polly wont be doing a residency in Las Vegas giving the crowd what they want. She would rather give them what they need.

I've been following her since January 1993 when a friend of mine played Dry through the cassette stereo player (remember them?). Another mate of mine said "who is that?" 'PJ Harvey" was the reply. "Sounds good" was the response. I have loved her ever since. Seen her on the Big Day Out festivals, concerts and theater shows. I've enjoyed every one of them. She does what she does. Follow her muse. She is more a chameleon than David Bowie because every tour is slightly different. I think Kate Bush is more talented, but the fact that she has only done one tour (Europe) in 1979 and a month long residency at London in 2014 (Where's the Blu Ray concert, Kate?) makes my opinion of Polly higher than Kate.

She has given us interesting, challenging music on album and tour. She could have done musical copies of Stories from that album on to try and get more popular, but she didn't. She choose herself first. Selfish, maybe. But you have to live with yourself all the time. She decided to be truthful to herself. My unsubstantiated opinion which will be incorrect is that she will do an album and tour in 2020. A collaboration with John Parish in 2022. Then will seriously contemplate saying thank you and goodbye. She will be getting to her mid fifties by then, and other ideas to pursuit.

So enjoy her while you can. It will not be forever in this finite world.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:11 pm 
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I really like the idea of growing with an artist. Therefore, I would always embrace anything Polly does, as she is my favourite artist. What makes her this is precisely the fact that she constantly tries new things and refuses to please anyone but herself, first and foremost. This, to me, is a trademark of a true artist and an honest human being.
This might speak more of my personal taste than of anything else, but it took me quite a long time to get into Dry and Rid of Me, while Is this Desire? was an instant. But all of Polly's work touches me to my deepest core and helps me make sense of the world and my place in it. I can honestly say I love all of it because it is so varied and different.
The older work is always there. The replicas of it I would not be even remotely interested in.
The current direction I am very pleased with. I don't feel it can be labeled as political or protest or anything really except as taking a look at what's going on in the world, bearing witness and putting it into song. I feel it was very carefully thought out and given to us to make of it what we will. Let England Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project are exemplary in this kind of thing. I don't think anyone has ever done anything quite like it, and currently no one comes even remotely close. Musically, I find it stimulating and fresh and very strong. The current tour also marked my first time seeing Polly live, so that is a big bonus. And wherever her work goes from here, I know I will follow.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:49 pm 
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Yes_No_Maybe_So wrote:
Billy wrote:
We all know how her music has changed a lot since 1992. She started with a full-on alt-rock trio with a basic rock instrumentation. Drums, bass, electric guitar and a distortion pedal. Her songs what you'd call aggressive and enpowering, especially in Rid of Me. The songs on Rid of Me were bit repetitive I might say. 90% of the songs had that palm-muted power chord riffs, that's a guitar technique that she uses A LOT on this album and many other songs.



A lot of her stuff is repetitive going throughout her career. That's never really changed, even though her styles have. She's my favorite artist, but that's my least favorite thing about her. Some of those long song intros where nothing much is happening or changing. I have to fast forward or skip past that stuff.

As far how I feel about her evolution and lack of interest in revisiting previous rock territory, I'm mostly ok with it. Most artists seem to re-travel the same old ground from album to album, with only the slightest of differences, if they are any different at all. Or they try too hard to switch things up and it just ends up sounding contrived, as if they're trying too darn hard to be different. Not a true, honest evolution in style or development. More like they know they need to grow and change but they really don't know how to go about it so they ape someone else's style.

That said, I would kill for her to revisit some of her old territory. It doesn't have to be a whole album, just for a song or two in some past styles. Maybe it could be done in the context of soundtrack work, where it's typically a single song contribution (provided of course, the filmmaker is requesting a song from her). I'd love for her to revisit again that aching, raspy vocal style prominent on the TBYML album. Then maybe something again in the electronic vein of Is This Desire? Then maybe something thoroughly rough, heavy and bluesy, where she rips away with slide guitar ala Ecstasy. In this sort of context, where it isn't about her continued development as an artist so much as contributing to the vision of the filmmaker. Here she could justify retracing her steps if it best fits the context of the film.


The excessive use of palm-muting is what's so repetitive about her. Like, she has soooo many songs with it.

Rid of me
Yuri-g
Man-size
Dress
Sheela na gig
Missed
Legs
One line
This is love
The life and death of Mr. Badmouth

Even in the live cover she did for Bob Dylan's Shot of Love and that duet with Björk when they were covering Satisfaction by Rolling Stones has palm-muting. And I'm sure I'm missing more songs.

Now, the only thing that I genuinely don't like about her isn't really about her, but the crappy production of her first two albums, Dry and Rid of me. Not only were they too low (I swear I listen to both albums with my headphones at max and it still sounds low to me, and if I'm at a noisy place I can't hear anything), but it's like her voice was buried in the mix. Sometimes the guitar and drums were the only thing you could hear, seriously. The beginning of Man-size and the whole verses of Rid of me are the biggest examples. Steve probably didn't know how to balance things out it seems.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:24 pm 
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My personal belief is what if someone doesn't like "Dry" or "Rid of Me" - well, he just hasn't listened to them loud enough.

I mean, can't you just make "RoM" louder in "Sound Forge"? Because that's what I did for myself about a year and a half ago, and my opinion on that record has changed immensely.

I think "Rid of Me" has a very interesting and not standard sound, drums are great in particular. Regarding "Man-Size", I think it has one of the most clear (non-effected) vocals on the album, and I can make out all the lyrics. And "Rid of Me" (the song) - yes, verses are a bit too quiet in an attempt to make this "jump-scare" chorus more "scary", but still I can make out all the words. The only song which hasn't "grown on me" all that much is "Snake", because I think it sounds a bit flat, but I'm used to it and okay with that.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:27 am 
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Well said Mr. Badmouth, I agree with you in everything :wink:

Mr. Badmouth wrote:
I really like the idea of growing with an artist. Therefore, I would always embrace anything Polly does, as she is my favourite artist. What makes her this is precisely the fact that she constantly tries new things and refuses to please anyone but herself, first and foremost. This, to me, is a trademark of a true artist and an honest human being.
This might speak more of my personal taste than of anything else, but it took me quite a long time to get into Dry and Rid of Me, while Is this Desire? was an instant. But all of Polly's work touches me to my deepest core and helps me make sense of the world and my place in it. I can honestly say I love all of it because it is so varied and different.
The older work is always there. The replicas of it I would not be even remotely interested in.
The current direction I am very pleased with. I don't feel it can be labeled as political or protest or anything really except as taking a look at what's going on in the world, bearing witness and putting it into song. I feel it was very carefully thought out and given to us to make of it what we will. Let England Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project are exemplary in this kind of thing. I don't think anyone has ever done anything quite like it, and currently no one comes even remotely close. Musically, I find it stimulating and fresh and very strong. The current tour also marked my first time seeing Polly live, so that is a big bonus. And wherever her work goes from here, I know I will follow.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:51 am 
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I ultimately prefer the earlier aggressive blues-rock style, but it's been clear for quite some time that she has moved on.

I am pleased to say that I also connect to her new musical stylings. The new sounds she has been exploring appeal to a different side of my sensibilities. I find the 2007-2016 period to be overall more appealing to me than the 2000-2006 section of her career (in terms of her writing & studio output, not necessarily the live shows/radio sessions.)

I do wonder if she has lost the ability to sing as powerfully in a lower register, or if it's moreso a choice to not use a deeper voice anymore. What do others think?


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