White Chalk - PJ Harvey
White Chalk Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 78 Ratings

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  • Summary: The British singer's latest album was produced by John Parrish and Flood.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. White Chalk, wholly self-contained and uncompromised, is a work of literary depth and complexity.
  2. Constantly brilliant. White Chalk is an amazing album, racked with beauty, stricken with fragility and haunted with something otherworldly.
  3. As usual, the excellent mix--opaque but sunlit--helps; as usual, we eagerly await her next album.
  4. Harvey's mostly bare arrangements, stark vocal delivery and razor-sharp lyrics add up to a poignant, haunting rumination on what makes--and breaks--a life
  5. This yet again reveals PJ Harvey to be one of the UK's greatest contemporary songwriters.
  6. The album will puzzle some fans with its uncharacteristic sound, but it will surely intrigue many more. [Fall 2007, p.73]
  7. The painful White Chalk is either a studio experiment gone horribly wrong or a crafty bit of career self-sabotage by a sensitive artist who'd rather make sculptures in the desert than play pop star.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 35
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 35
  3. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. DamonMitchell
    Nov 13, 2007
    I haven't had my heart so beautifully broken in a long time. This feels like the end of a trilogy in "Stories from..." she was in love with a boy and America, in "Uh Huh Her" the love affair was over but she had enough anger and fire to spit about it, in "White Chalk" the fire is out and it's an empty place where what's left really resonates. Expand
  2. Joe
    Sep 28, 2007
    An absolutely amazing, beautiful album - PJ's best in many years! so glad it's getting the raves it deserves, although the idiot writing for NOW magazine clearly wouldn't know quality if it bit him on the ass. Trust the majority - this is a masterpiece of a record, well worth buying. My favorite of 2007 so far. Expand
  3. mathewB.
    Oct 6, 2007
    A must for long-time fans. Musically, very different, but thematically very consistent with her previous work.
  4. JohnR
    Jan 30, 2008
    This is PJs inevitable mind-control over her fans. We wait with bated breath for the next album, only to believe we've been horribly wronged upon the first listen. Then, just when you're resolved to throw the album off of the roof, you find that the music has settled deep within you. White Chalk is no different. Expand
  5. allans.
    Oct 24, 2007
    Perfectly poised, relentless fragility that rings emotional depth from simply piano figures. It isn't the muscular spectorama that was "Stories from the City..." , but Peej yet again hits the spot. It's truly thrilling to hear someone creating music for reasons other than shifting units. Expand
  6. Steve
    Oct 5, 2007
    Having watched 2 clips online, I missed the crunching guitars and signature howl, but was more disturbed that the songs sounded very 'samey'. Having listened to the entire album, I am in love. This is true artistry; it feels like a true work, as opposed to just another album. If you want repetitive pop-fare, look elsewhere. Expand
  7. AlanKoslowski
    Dec 15, 2007
    A marginal improvement over Uh-Huh Her because it's more cohesive. It's a successful, but undeniably modest album. The minimalist piano musical landscape works, but is so spare and unambitious it's not very compelling. The relentlessly mournful songwriting is so understated (for the most part) even at just over 30 min becomes tedious after the first few songs. Harvey is always at her best when she's emphatic and cogent, and at her worst when eloquent and understated. This album is clearly the latter. Even though it's only her second release in 7 years, maybe she should go on hiatus until she finds the motivation to make a truly compelling album. Expand

See all 35 User Reviews