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Is This Desire?


Price: CDN$ 6.56
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 29 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • ASIN: B00000AFFI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,438 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Angelene
2. The Sky Lit Up
3. The Wind
4. My Beautiful Leah
5. A Perfect Day Elise
6. Catherine
7. Electric Light
8. The Garden
9. Joy
10. The River
11. No Girl So Sweet
12. Is This Desire?


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
Though not a masterpiece like "Rid Of Me" and "Stories From The City," "Is This Desire?" awakens sometimes, albeit blinking confusedly and from a drunken sleep, PJ Harvey's undeniable genius. The album is basically one big literary homage, from the "Catherine" songs to "Joy," Harvey's passionate, abrasive tribute to Flannery O Connor's " Good Country People."
Some songs, though lyrically evocative, fall flat instrumentally, specifically "My Beautiful Leah" and "The Garden." Others, like "The River" and the title track, "Is This Desire?" are simply exquisite, steeped in "aching, grieving beauty" (to quote from "The Great Gatsby"-). In spite of its defects, this album is well worth the purchase.
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By Desiree on June 2 2004
Format: Audio CD
This album made me a real pj fan. i had 'rid of me' in my collection but this cd changed everything. every song is beautiful, different, emotional, and haunting. my favorites include 'my beautiful leah', ' a perfect day elise', 'angelene', and 'is this desire?'. 'the wind' is extremely haunting to me, in a good way. i could listen to this album over and over again, and i have and will continue to!
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By Frank Z on May 30 2004
Format: Audio CD
Although my personal favorite will probably always be "Four Track Demos," I consider "Is This Desire" to be her best work. It's a departure from the gritty rough PJ Harvey of "Rid of Me" and "Dry" fame. In my opinion it continues on the maturity and evolution that starting showing itself on "To Bring You My Love". Don't get me wrong there is still some grit on this album but it's much more subdued than balls on approach of her earlier work. I'd consider this album a perfect introduction to PJ Harvey for non fans and a classic for fans.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is certainly different than PJs previous ones, and a little disappointing for me initially for just that very reason. It was the second album of hers that I had ever heard, after 'To Bring You My Love', and quite a bit different. Eventually, I grew to love this one as well, if not quite as much as 'TBYML'. But this is what PJ does. She moves on to explore other ideas, never wanting to repeat herself. It's a challenge she places on herself, and by extension, on her fans.
I love how she incorporates different elements into her music, but never really talks much about her sources for inspiration, leaving some mystery intact. St. Catherine lore, Flannery O'Connor stories, and Nick Cave break-up relationship issues are but a few elements that inform the songs on this record. Never in a heavy-handed sort of way, mind you. These influences have been recognized by fans over time. Someone reads an O'Connor story, and notices very close similarities to the song 'Joy', for example, incorporating a character from it into the main subject of the song. These different themes or topics for songs are always worked in with subtlety, mystery, never with banal obviousness.
And no, PJ is not a lesbian (insert famous Seinfeld line here!). I say this because there are a few songs on this record that the romantic character being sung about is a woman, so the uninitiated wonder, "does this mean Polly's gay?". Polly has stated that when she writes songs, she'll sing from either a female or male perspective, never really differentiating the two all that much. Hence, the confusion on the issue, especially on this record where 'Catherine', 'No Girl, So Sweet', 'Perfect Day Elise' and 'Electric Light' all have females being sung about from a perspective of "desire" for them.
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Format: Audio CD
With the (almost impossible) task of topping the incredible "To bring you my love" -her previous album- expected by fans, P.J actually delivers a great album by going in a slightly different direction.
She leaves one masterpiece behind and constructs a new one. And this must be trickery at its best because Harvey accomplishes this without necessarily employing new recipes.
The tragic stories are there. The darkness and general gloominess of the songs as well. The overall intense atmosphere and the dirty rock riffs.
And yet this sounds different. So what's changed? Well, whatever change there is it is subtle.
The production is polished and so is the music. Definately not as raw as "Rid of me" and not as theatric as "To bring you my love". The songs seem to be more accessible than on previous LPs and this might (just might) bring her to new wider audiences.
But this is beauty of an album nevertheless.
Harvey tries a few new things with her voice and the rest stays as we know her.
There are tremendous songs to be ebjoyed in "Is this desire?", namely, and most notably "Angelene", the ultra catchy "The wind", "My beautiful Leah", the stunning "It's a perfect day Elise" and of course the eponymously titled "is this desire" saved for last on the record.
It's a neverending proposition with P.J Harvey, you either love her or ignore her. I can easily understand how many will find her voice and her lyrics rather "difficult". After all, Harvey sings like no other female singer i know.
For those who love her music and voice this LP will be yet one more to treasure and while, yes, it doesnt grab you immediately like "To bring you my love" did, this is one where the more you listen to it the more you'll sink deeper in it.
Twelve songs of immense feeling.
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