More than most other things, I’m an audiophile at heart. Music is chronologically the second big love of my life – after natural science and before film. It’s been around since roughly the fall of ’97, my first year in junior high (A period often referred to in my family as my “C90 psychosis”). Music was a great support during this period, which also marked the divorce of my parents – especially a certain wailing inhabitant of Oxford and a grumpy Minnesotan, both of which we will return to later.
Therefore, I’ll regularly publish a piece on one of the records which constitute a part of my musical universe, under the not-at-all-cheesy title Records that rox my sox. It will probably explain why that is the case, and provide a little contextual background for the record itself. Think of it as Desert Island Discs with a completely unknown geezer, who just happens to love music. Some kind of chronological order will probably be established with the next post. The first one, though, goes to a lady I rediscovered two years ago, and who has completely swept my heart away.
Polly Jean Harvey is really not a human at all. She is actually an ancient Sumerian fertility godess of raw, unabashed sexuality – the kind you sacrifice the young men of the tribe to at least once every year, so that the crops won’t fail. There is no other way I can explain what happens to me when she sings. The mere sight of her reduces me to a melting, helpless puddle on the floor.
She knows how to write songs, too. In 1995, she was at the top of her creative abilities, releasing a theatrical behemoth of an album, To Bring You My Love. Her vocals are raw and naked, with her soul virtually laid bare. The lyrics manage to hit that precise point where the surging forces of sex, death and religion meet. And the music… well, just listen. And watch.
I could go on all day about the dark undercurrent of the title track, the menacing proto-punk caveman stomp of Meet Ze Monsta, or the astonishing final and very crown jewel of the record, The Dancer. It isn’t really that necessary, though. Just listen. And watch. It will be the most worthwhile 40 minutes you’ve had in a very long time. By the time she asks “Is my vodoo working?” halfway through the record, you will probably be reduced one more of said puddles on the floor. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go search the grimoires and spell books to find the occult secrets which grant blessed souls entrance into that cult of hers…