Mad Scientess Jane Expat (nanila) wrote,
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
nanila

Music Monday #9: PJ Harvey



[PJ Harvey "The Words That Maketh Murder", YouTube video, 04:25]

I vividly remember the first time I really heard PJ Harvey. She played a show with Tricky at the Mayan in Los Angeles in 1996. My then-boyfriend bought the tickets. My primary motivation for going was to see Tricky as the opener, I must admit. This was back when you could still smoke inside venues, so my memory of seeing him is wrapped in a strong-smelling haze. (I have no idea how the bouncers managed to do their jobs. I suspect everyone in there was at least a little stoned from it.) And it has faded far more with time than my first sight of Polly Jean Harvey on stage.

Somehow I'd gotten pushed right up to the front. I found myself staring up at this tiny woman holding a big microphone, swinging heavy loops of black hair past bright red lips, body wrapped in an electric blue minidress and feet shod in sparkling red heels. She shut her eyes and opened her mouth and this enormous, captivating voice enveloped us. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I have no idea how long she sang, or what she said between songs. All I know is that I was entranced.

Her music has mellowed a little over the years, but her words certainly haven't. The song I've linked is from her newest album Let England Shake (2011).

I've seen and done things I want to forget;
I've seen soldiers fall like lumps of meat,
Blown and shot out beyond belief.
Arms and legs were in the trees.

I've seen and done things I want to forget;
coming from an unearthly place,
Longing to see a woman's face,
Instead of the words that gather pace,
The words that maketh murder.

These, these, these are the words-
The words that maketh murder.
These, these, these are the words-
The words that maketh murder.
These, these, these are the words-
Murder...

These, these, these are the words-
The words that maketh murder.

I've seen and done things I want to forget;
I've seen a corporal whose nerves were shot
Climbing behind the fierce, gone sun,
I've seen flies swarming everyone,
Soldiers fell like lumps of meat.

These are the words, the words are these.
death lingering, stunk,
Flies swarming everyone,
Over the whole summit peak,
Flesh quivering in the heat.
This was something else again.
I fear it cannot be explained.
The words that make, the words that make
Murder.

What if I take my problem to the United Nations?
Tags: music, music monday, nostalgia, video
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