• Record Label: Island
  • Release Date: Mar 31, 2009
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 27
  2. Negative: 2 out of 27
  1. In the wake of three questionable albums, shtick is a relief, not just because it's really great shtick but because after all these years we're happy to be clear about whether she's performing or expressing herself.
  2. Whatever your interpretation, it's clear both parties have a deeper understanding of one another's music than any outsider could ever hope to comprehend, a synergy that has only strengthened over the 20+ years of their acquaintance.
  3. Mojo
    80
    After nearly two decades, this man and this woman still turn heads. [Apr 2009, p.100]
  4. Although it's as uncentred as 2004's "Uh Huh Her," this album broadcasts confidence rather than confusion.
  5. Q Magazine
    80
    While this record might ultimately be a mere palette cleanser for the next stage in PJ Harvey's journey, it suggests her mouthwash tastes sweeter than most others' fine wine. [Apr 2009, p.101]
  6. 80
    Together, Harvey and Parish sound confidently experimental, like two soldiers daring each other to ever more stupendous feats of history.
  7. It all hangs together brilliantly, suggesting the mutual understanding of two artists at the peak of their powers.
  8. Polly’s second joint album with Parish couldn’t be more eclectic in its breadth and scope.
  9. Parish and Harvey's idea of fun might be very different than that of many other artists, but hearing them cover so much musical and emotional territory is often exhilarating.
  10. On A Woman, A Man Walked By, they create a world both beautiful and depraved, an unhinged record heavy on heartache and bristling with aggression.
  11. Far from easy listening, the tune, like the album, remains oddly accessible. Harvey is a tornado of anger, lunacy, and regret, but her punishing wind is something to behold.
  12. PJ Harvey can be exhilarating, thrilling, or offer up a disturbingly hysterical variant on black humour, but she ain't fun. A Woman A Man Walked By is kinda, sorta fun.
  13. It's clear that this is Harvey and Parish unpredictably unhinged. If there's one thing that you can't do with PJ Harvey is pigeonhole her. And why the hell would you want to?
  14. Such a musical mind-meld, so expressive of both artists' perspective, is rare.
  15. 80
    Parish brings out Harvey’s crazy, arty side, pushing to extremes as she works her long-established territory of sex and death.
  16. 70
    For their second album as a duo, longtime collaborator John Parish gave Harvey finished songs to write lyrics for, and his sometimes brittle, sometimes thundering guitar work provides the skeleton for an array of fleshly narrators.
  17. Her latest also finds her at her most gleefully deranged.
  18. Even if A Woman a Man Walked By isn’t the most essential item in either artist’s discography, it’s still one worth hearing--if only to witness how slowly and deliberately it reveals its difficult charms.
  19. While not all of the songs work, the project is effective in crafting a series of distinct, compelling vignettes. Moreover, A Woman illustrates how deeply these two long-time collaborators understand each other's creative restlessness and their flair for the dramatic.
  20. Though A Woman a Man Walked By does have strong moments with longtime collaborator Parish, exercises in atonality like 'Pig Will Not' feel less womanly than regressively adolescent.
  21. While the individual parts don’t add up to Harvey’s finest effort, A Woman A Man Walked By’s 10 songs add up to an intriguing sketchbook of an album, notions that future albums will hopefully fill in a little more thoroughly.
  22. The disc succeeds as a public testing ground, but as an album it's ultimately unfocused. One problem is that Parish simply isn't the songwriter that Harvey is.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. HannahM
    Apr 27, 2009
    10
    absolutely wonderfully fantastic
  2. JaredJ
    Apr 13, 2009
    4
    "Black Hearted Love" is a high quality song. After that, it's just noise. I know these two have talent, but on this one, they were just "Black Hearted Love" is a high quality song. After that, it's just noise. I know these two have talent, but on this one, they were just trying to be weird. Full Review »
  3. gabrielg
    Apr 1, 2009
    9
    I love Polly!