On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
PJ Harvey – Rid of Me (1993)
Rid of Me is the second studio album by English singer-songwriter and musician PJ Harvey. It was released by Island Records in May 1993, approximately one year after the release of her critically acclaimed debut album . It marked a departure from Harvey’s previous songwriting, being more raw and aggressive than its predecessor.
Farewell to California and hello once again to the UK. We’re in Bridport in Dorset today and in the company of a singer by the name of PJ Harvey. Harvey started her career in the 1980s before forming her own group called PJ Harvey. We join the band in 1993 with the release of their second album – Rid of Me – and 1001 Songs have gone with the title track.
In Rid of Me, PJ Harvey unburdens some pent up emotions as she tells us the heartrending story of a relationship that sounds doomed. Her lover seemingly wants to end things and move on but the narrator uses the refrain of “rid of me” to demonstrate that she is going nowhere and won’t be cast aside without a fight. The verses are quiet and tender but the choruses are heavy and angry as Harvey’s passionate rage bubbles over. Some of the imagery is startling with Harvey pulling no punches. You don’t want to mess with this lady, that’s for sure.
I am not familiar with many PJ Harvey songs though I have long since been aware of her as a musician. Rid of Me is a powerful piece full of anger and regret as Harvey’s narrator laments a broken relationship she is desperate to repair. The group disbanded after their second album but Harvey retained the name and continued as a solo artist where she performs to this day.
Favourite songs so far: