Music My general blandness and inability to speak whole words somehow makes me wonder if this new story is significant. But I'm not so far gone that I don't appreciate this odd little piece from The Yale Daily News. I remember spending a train journey between Halifax and Leeds with a woman I hardly knew who talked endlessly about Polly and what Polly had been up to and how I had to meet her. It wasn't until days later it occured to me the person in question's surname was Harvey and that yet again I'd zigged instead of zagged. In this piece an american music journalist tries to get to grips with P J Harvey, insists on calling her Polly Jean a lot and generally makes the reader want to go back and listen again to her 1995 album To Bring You My Love. Actually my favourite is the mid-period Is This Desire? (what whisper over riff into hiphop at the start). He does make an amusing point about some of the artists knocking about Mtv at the time:
"A similar phenomenon occurred about ten years ago when MTV introduced a little lady from England named Polly Jean Harvey. I remember it very distinctly, because Alanis Morissette was very big at the time, and Garbage had just released its first album. All of us young teenage consumers were trying to adjust to this new breed of tough woman, after having grown accustomed to the abrasive apathy of the male-dominated grunge movement.

When these women began to generate publicity that was sufficient enough to capture the mainstream attention span, MTV (and corporate radio alike) started to churn out singles by terribly forgettable artists (remember Poe? if you do, try this one out for size -- who the hell was Tracy Bonham?). Tepid and cautious as ever, MTV slipped an independent video into its schedule via those venerable titans of the teenage nation -- Beavis and Butthead.
Got the Poe. Got the Tracy Bonham. He's right of course (and this seqway's nicely into my Norah Jones post the other day) there aren't that many angry female singer songwriters about at the moment. Dido's Life For Rent is a melancholy little album but it's also extraordinarily understated, tackling in a subtle way subjects which Alanis has been growling about for years. Perhaps there are times when you need to shout to get your point across and others when gentle words of wisdom will do.

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