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Is This Desire?

P.J. Harvey Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 6.56
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

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?

Product Description


Each of Harvey's previous albums has been a distinct affair. She has taken steps forward not only in forging her sound but also in exploring the wealthy veins of rock and roll. So on first listen, Is This Desire? seems almost disappointing, very close to same dark, woozy and bluesy musical territory she staked out on To Bring You My Love. But it's been said that though good stories can be read once, great stories must be read twice. In that spirit, this album, beautifully complex and subtly shaded, deserves a few revisitations. A recommendation: spend a few nonstop hours with Is This Desire? . It will change you. --Tod Nelson

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars "Is This Desire?" Harvey's Homage To English Lit June 17 2004
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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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing pj! June 2 2004
By Desiree
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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5.0 out of 5 stars By far her best work! May 30 2004
By Frank Z
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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5.0 out of 5 stars sirens rising across the sky Feb. 3 2004
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Picking up where she left from... Nov. 3 2003
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars PJ's finest
This is my favorite PJ Harvey album. It's simply a masterpiece of subtlety. And I have to admit, I wasn't that into it the first few times I heard it. Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2003 by G. A. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars My Eternal Desire Has Been Fulfilled
Its been almost 5 years since I've purchased this CD, and I still listen to album everyday(especially when I study or just feel lonely). Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2003 by Aaron A. Nunez
3.0 out of 5 stars Let this one grow on you
If you're new to PJ Harvey, don't buy this one first. Get Give you My Love, and Stories From the City. Is This Desire takes time to get in, under and over. Read more
Published on May 22 2003 by Lisa A. Santoro
3.0 out of 5 stars Guess PJ just doesn't do much for me
Heard "Rid Of Me" a few years ago and found it very off-putting. This CD is a little mellower in that the production is cleaner and the arrangements are a little quieter; on... Read more
Published on May 12 2003 by Rich Grace
5.0 out of 5 stars Why yes. Yes, it is.
Nearly as powerful and amazing as "To Bring You My Love." No record collection should be without a copy. Why don't you own it already?
Published on April 30 2003 by Cody
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneven but brilliant
The bad news: there's some weaker songwriting here, like the silly "The Wind" and a few cold biscuits from the "To Bring You My Love" era (the unbearably ugly "Joy"). Read more
Published on March 7 2003 by The Devil
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite PJ Harvey
This album is one of my dearest possessions. While I like all PJ Harvey's albums, this by far my favourite, and for all the virtues of earlier, rockier, dirtier Polly Jean, I think... Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2003 by "me-jane"
4.0 out of 5 stars So raw, so beatifully arranged
I remeber the summer of 1998. I got stucked to Radio 3 Spain during awhole weekend listening to the Benicassim Festival broadcast. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2003 by Tame
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