Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea Image

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

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Universal acclaim- based on 68 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 2001 Mercury Music Prize. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. If Nirvana and Robert Johnson are rock's essence for you, so's To Bring You My Love. But if you believe the Beatles and George Clinton had more to say in the end, this could be the first PJ album you adore as well as admire.
  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. PJ Harvey's best album since 1991's 'Dry', a return to the feral intensity of that remarkable debut.... The clarity of the electric guitars played by Harvey, Rob Ellis and Mick Harvey is enough to make you fall in love with elemental rock all over again.... You could quibble Harvey has absolved her responsibilities by making an album earthed in the New York sound of 20 or 30 years ago. But when rock is so invigorating, so joyous about love, sex and living, all arguments are null and void.
  5. The allegories and metaphors of her previous work are replaced with direct, vulnerable lyrics, and the album's production polishes the songs instead of obscuring them in noise or studio tricks.
  6. She has always been a good songwriter -- experimental, dynamic, probing -- but here she demonstrates that she has the potential to be a truly masterful one. With newfound clarity and restraint, and with her usual wit, she examines the ways in which we try to convince ourselves that we are safe in an unsafe world.
  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
    just like a script for a movie, great story in it
  2. Mar 25, 2014
    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
    Fuckin amazing record! The songs will stick with you all day. One of the greatest artist alive!
  4. JamesB.
    Aug 8, 2008
    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
    Dear Pitchfork: Regarding your review, I have just three words: wrong, wrong, wrong.
  6. Mar 16, 2012
    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 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
    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