PJ Harvey Songs Ranked

Polly Jean Harvey MBE (born 9 October 1969) is an English singer, songwriter, and musician. Primarily known as a vocalist and guitarist, she is also proficient with a wide range of instruments. Harvey began her career in 1988 when she joined the local band Automatic Dlamini as a vocalist, guitarist, and saxophonist. The band’s frontman, John Parish, became her long-term collaborator. In 1991, she formed an eponymous trio called PJ Harvey and subsequently began her career as PJ Harvey. The trio released two studio albums called Dry (1992) and Rid of Me (1993) before disbanding, after which Harvey continued as a solo artist. Since 1995, she has released a further nine studio albums with collaborations from various musicians including Parish, former bandmate Rob Ellis, Mick Harvey, and Eric Drew Feldman, and has also worked extensively with record producer Flood. Here are all of PJ Harvey’s songs ranked.

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15. Rub’till It Bleeds (Rid of Me, 1993)

“This song is so raw…PJ Harvey is amazing. If you’re into clean unadulterated acoustic sounds, then she is an absolute must. She is one of my all time favorite artists.”

14. C’mon Billy (To Bring You My Love, 1995)

“C’Mon Billy doesn’t make me think of blackmail; it makes me think of a lover so desperate to be reunited with her ex-lover. It shows me a woman willing to throw away all dignity and grovel if need be to get her lover back so that he can father the child they both made. And groveling is definitely not something PJ is famous for.”

13. Man-Size (Rid of Me, 1993)

“This song is…I don’t have words to describe the epicness of this. Well think of nirvana walking into a bar late night and meeting Alice in Chains…a drunk Alice in chains with the Melvins recording the full event and invites tool.”

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12. When Under Ether (White Chalk, 2007)

“As haunting and creeping as a Victorian fog. (This is neither here nor there, but that piano would make for a really good loop for a beat)”

See more: PJ Harvey Albums Ranked

11. This Mess We’re In (Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, 2000)

“Thom Yorke voice matches up perfectly with PJ Harvey’s. This duet is beautiful. It’s melodic, peaceful and almost puts me in a trance. Their voices complement each others nicely and neither of theirs are overpowering. You would be a fool to not buy this. Get caught up with Thom and PJ and the mess they’re in. You won’t be disappointed.”

10. The Letter (Uh Huh Her, 2004)

“A return to her first times, but not as raw as “Rid of Me” era or “Dry”. A very good guitar, the chorus is just a very good “pj-harveyesque” wail, just like she does! At first listens, this one was not very good, but i read the lyrics and totally understood this absolutely amazing song! Very sexual, very good guitars!”

Encarte: PJ Harvey - Uh Huh Her

9. To Bring You My Love (To Bring You My Love, 1995)

“A striking set of demos, could have been released on their own. This is half garage, half lo-fi, totally nineties, totally feminist and edgy and druggy. Her voice takes center stage and my ears are assaulted in the best way possible.”

8. A Place Called Home (Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, 2000)

“Its one of the more commercial songs but that’s because its beautifully listenable and grabs the heart. Yes, Down by the water is dark and To bring you move is dirty but beautiful is good too…and this is undoubtedly beautiful.”

7. This is Love (Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, 2000)

“This Is Love is probably the weakest song from the album, and it’s the weakest of the three songs here. I’m surprised it was chosen as a single, since I might have actually cut it from the album all together.”

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6. Good Fortune (Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, 2000)

“Easily one of PJ’s best and most immediate singles. Likable from the first note, and even if singing the same syllable over and over gets tiresome to you (like some kind of weirdo) there’s also one of the best choruses of her career, too. I love that little chiming vibraphone sound after the first chorus. I do wish I could separate this song from a memory of doing a karaoke version of it in front of my high school chorus class and being greeted with a personality-changing silence.”

5. Rid of Me (Rid of Me, 1992)

“I love this album, I think it’s probably better than they say: it’s got the magic of early blues. She evokes whole worlds and universal situations with a few seemingly simple lines that are anything but simple. And the playing rocks–they play it like they absolutely mean it, it spits blood, it’s what it’s all about.”

See more: The Best Albums of 2011

4. Sheela-Na-Gig (Dry, 192)

“One of Harvey’s trademark songs, “Sheela-Na-Gig” is one of the most direct tirades in her ouvre. Polly’s playing is reflective of the time’s sound, distorted and rhythmic; full of effective sidesteps, but not egotistically so. The galloping drums in the chorus are a highlight, as well as the chant at the end of the song: “He said, ‘Wash your breaths. I don’t want to be unclean./ He said, ‘Please take those dirty pillows away from me..'””

Dry : PJ Harvey | Album | MuzPlay

3. 50ft Queenie (Rid of Me, 1993)

“It’s a punk-blues banger about pegging that sounds like a bunch of audible exclamation points. Is there anything else that you really need here?”

2. A Perfect Day Elise (Is This Desire?, 1998)

“Inspired by J.D. Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” (a.k.a. one of the best short stories I’ve ever read, and, I suspect, ever), PJ Harvey transposes the mindset of a war-shocked and suicidal veteran from paper to sound and what results is something clearly inspired by trip-hop but overall more menacing than a lot of trip-hop, probably because its atmosphere is more natural and less self-pleased.”

1. Down by the Water (To Bring You My Love, 1995)

“Its a nice song, but the over repetitiveness of it prevents it from being considered great. The singing is effective, and the hook is good enough. The backing vocals are a bit off, but the worst thing is really the backing instrumentals which is simply boring. Overall, though it is still an enjoyable song.”