Who says there are no great protest songs any more!? PJ Harvey proved this year that there is still plenty of room in the music world for a politically charged protest album about the horrors of war – winning the Mercury Prize along the way.
The most striking thing about Let England Shake, though, isn’t the anti-war rhetoric and ‘Arab Spring’ sentiments, but the beautiful and beguiling melodies that frame them and elevate what could have been a cloying ‘rock star takes on the big issues’ album into a brilliantly crafted political pop album.
For this eighth studio album Harvey famously travelled the planets’ various war torn regions for two years, meticulously researching how modern war affects the lives of those involved. The result is an album rich in imagery which doesn’t shy away from revealing the human side to increasingly cold and clinical modern warfare – and one of the most memorable and rewarding albums of the year.
What our review said: “In Let England Shake PJ Harvey turns her visceral and brutally honest song-writing style away from herself and onto the big questions facing humanity in general… In doing so, she has created an album that deserves to be regarded as one of THE classic war albums.”
Key tracks: ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’, ‘England’, ‘Bitter Branches’:
PJ Harvey – ‘Let England Shake’ tracklisting
01. Let England Shake
02. The Last Living Rose
03. The Glorious Land
04. The Words That Maketh Murder
05. All And Everyone
06. On Battleship Hill
08. In The Dark Places
09. Bitter Branches
10. Hanging On The Wire
11. Written On The Forehead
12. The Colour Of The Earth