Liked High Places

I love the fall. You know, back to school. Starting, ending jobs. Worrying about romance again. Generally getting back to work. Summer can be traumatic. We've got to heal our sunburns.

And to make everything easier, PJ Harvey releases a new album.

It's getting to the point where PJ Harvey's influence has come full circle. Her recordings now sound like the generations of musicians who've followed in her wake. At various times the record smacks of Joanna Newsom, and the opening moments of the first track "The Devil" are nearly identical to Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" (a very clever DJ will mash these two up). It's a really fucking gorgeous record. It doesn't sound like anything else she's done, though that's not much of a surprise. Harvey sings almost entirely in her narcotic upper register, awash in reverb, and almost exclusively plays the piano.

Like many gay men of my generation, I totally and utterly revere Polly Jean Harvey. Each of her records has a special significance for me. My first album was 4-Track Demos, which I listened to in headphones the summer before starting high school. Dry I listened to at 16, the first time I got dumped. I brought only Rid of Me with me when I went on a vacation to North Carolina's outer banks one summer, and listened to it on the beach, scorching. During my junior year of high school I remember making a mix tape of To Bring You My Love for my best friend, it felt a lot like the Wiccan rituals we had done when we were in the seventh grade. Once, on a date, I bought Is This Desire? and played it for the boy and I in his car. He hated it because it was 'techno', I loved it because it felt really mean. And I remember flying across the country to go to college, listening to Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea and thinking about how much I would miss cold California fog, and how ready I was to get sexy. I bought Uh Huh Her the day it came out, just before my junior year of college, but the boy I was sleeping with at the time told me it was his favorite album and I didn't get along with him, so it ruined it for me.

This one, however, is pretty great. It makes me want to dye my hair.

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