Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea Image
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 71 Ratings

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  • Summary: PJ Harvey's fifth, and possibly best, album sees her venturing away from the electronic experimentation of 1998's 'Is This Desire?' and returning to the purer rock sound prevalent on her early releases. Radiohead's Thom Yorke guests on the duet "This Mess We're In." Winner of the 2001PJ Harvey's fifth, and possibly best, album sees her venturing away from the electronic experimentation of 1998's 'Is This Desire?' and returning to the purer rock sound prevalent on her early releases. Radiohead's Thom Yorke guests on the duet "This Mess We're In." Winner of the 2001 Mercury Music Prize. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Chiming, richly textured and potently rhythmic, this is starkly, explicitly rock n' roll, and the back-to-basics approach beautifully frames Polly's tales of fear, love, sex, sadness, ugliness, and beauty.
  2. Her strongest work since 1995's To Bring You My Love.
  3. Given her capacity to align reinvention with a developing maturity, the 13 lucky songs of Stories deliver a complex text. It is certainly less frenetic, as if Harvey is finding new ways to exert her presence. In addition, its thoughtful spaces and pauses suggest room for doubt and manoeuvre. [#202, p.49]
  4. A beautiful album that even non-Harvey fans might relate to, Stories is an undeniable, unrelenting triumph.
  5. The swampy exotica that was draped around both 1995's To Bring You My Love and '98's Is This Desire? has been forgotten: as proved by the likes of Big Exit and the pleasingly frantic Kamikaze, the dominant sound is that of a three-piece garage band, fused with enough production panache to prove that Harvey remains an admirably intelligent auteur.
  6. The happiest-sounding album she's ever made.... it may also be the best. While her austere sonic signature remains, the vocals are discernibly more relaxed, the tunes welcoming and even expansive.
  7. On her fifth solo release, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, she may be maturing, or more vulnerable, or more vulnerable to her maturity. But regardless, the sheen gets slicker and her music gets duller as the time passes.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. ofan
    Feb 10, 2005
    10
    just like a script for a movie, great story in it
  2. Mar 25, 2014
    10
    My favorite album by PJ, and possibly my favorite album by anyone.

    (150 character limit makes Metacritic kind of the opposite of Twitter,
    My favorite album by PJ, and possibly my favorite album by anyone.

    (150 character limit makes Metacritic kind of the opposite of Twitter, it encourages long-windedness.)
    Expand
  3. Manuela
    Mar 17, 2002
    10
    Fuckin amazing record! The songs will stick with you all day. One of the greatest artist alive!
  4. JamesB.
    Aug 8, 2008
    10
    Amazing! There's something new at every listen... can't say that about many CD's or artists. One for the ages!
  5. PerspicaciousCritic
    Jul 23, 2007
    9
    Dear Pitchfork: Regarding your review, I have just three words: wrong, wrong, wrong.
  6. Mar 16, 2012
    9
    Really powerful stuff from the Indie Queen and even after last years Let England Shake, I still rank this as her greatest work. It's over aReally powerful stuff from the Indie Queen and even after last years Let England Shake, I still rank this as her greatest work. It's over a decade old now and sounds as fresh as ever. There's no weak track on this record, in fact almost every song is brilliant. The lyrics, music, production and consistency are all top class. Radioheads Thom York guests on a couple of tracks and elevates the whole thing to another level. The Whores Hustle and The Hustlers Whore is at the centre of the record and is an epic piece of work. A dark indie rock masterpiece. Expand
  7. RobB
    Sep 25, 2007
    8
    For me, this is her best record. It's probably the most accessible but for me that's part of its success. Her other work was too For me, this is her best record. It's probably the most accessible but for me that's part of its success. Her other work was too often art rock in the worst performance art sense but this record, channeling the best of that genre (i.e Pattis Smith) and adding real tunes, is a bit of a triumph. 8! Expand

See all 20 User Reviews