Harvey - Is This Desire?
To Know What Love Is
like this album. Yup, stuck it right out there, this
album is good. If that is all you care to know, you
can stop reading the review now, but I promise to go more
in depth later. Hell, I will even throw in some reasoning,
so read on gentle stranger.
Why is this album
good? Well, because it is different. It is sad,
it is depressing. There is no hidden hope found in here.
Harvey goes right out and lets everyone know that love can
suck. The title for the album (Is This Desire?)
fits the mood of the disc perfectly. Most of the lyrics
delve into the damaged psyche of those looking for love.
"Angelene" (the opening track) is a tale of a woman
ready to accept payment for services, but she is longing to
be loved, to be held, to be wanted. In fact, the idea
of a want for love is the driving force behind this album.
Most songs are from the perspective of a longing woman,
although some are from the views of an onlooker. "Catherine"
is a change from the female view, giving us that of a man.
Harvey shows that emotion is not something only owned by the
women of the world. Her use of imagery in the lyrics
as well as her sultry voice make the album become a beckoning
call like that of a siren. "Come to love, don't
fear the harm it could cause. It is all in your mind."
There is more to
the album than the lyrics though. The music is there
as well, complimenting the words to a T. All of the
music on the album is dark and dreary, except for when she
becomes upset or enraged at the pain and torture found in
loving. In these places, the drums kick in, or her voice
becomes distorted. The musical work on this album does
an excellent job of showing the feelings Harvey is attempting
to show. "My Beautiful Leah" cuts out all
music at the last line "Then I'm Better off Dead."
If you listen to the lyrics before that line, and understand
what she is showing - the fact that the lack of love can drive
one to such desperation as to wish for death - this simple
cut off makes the song awesome. And just think, you have another
11 tracks to listen to.
This is by far
PJ Harvey's greatest album yet. She returns to a sadder
time, like those found in her earlier albums. If you
are looking for a change from the normal happy or plain angered
woman sound, PJ is for you. She is sad, she feels, she
realizes life is not sweet. She just wishes it was.
Maybe she will find something other than desire - like true