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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing pj!
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,...
Published on June 2 2004 by Desiree

versus
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. For me, the little danceable details didn't really grab me until a year into listening to it consistently. The voice permutations I find distracting, and make some songs unlistenable for me.
This is not an...
Published on May 22 2003 by Lisa A. Santoro


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4.0 out of 5 stars "Is This Desire?" Harvey's Homage To English Lit, June 17 2004
This review is from: Is This Desire? (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
This review is from: Is This Desire? (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 "frankz00" (Fairfield, CT, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Is This Desire? (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
This review is from: Is This Desire? (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.
This album contains the most studio enhancements of any so far. If you like raw and straight for the jugular Polly, this one isn't quite it. Though it still does contain some of the best of Polly Jean Harvey traits: passion, drama, mystery, excitment, it adds more production layering and more third person songwriting perspectives. It is probably her darkest record to date. It lacks some of the subtle humor employed in her previous records. But if you like dark songwriting, and like some occasional dance beats and other studio enhancements, you will likely enjoy this record too. Even if you don't like all of it, there will likely be at least a few songs you'll adore. Afterall, there is no such thing as a bad PJ Harvey record.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Picking up where she left from..., Nov. 3 2003
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This review is from: Is This Desire? (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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5.0 out of 5 stars PJ's finest, Oct. 2 2003
By 
G. A. Anderson "austintayeshus" (Reno, Nevada United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Is This Desire? (Audio CD)
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. Like I said, it's just incredibly subtle and minimal on the surface but repeated listens reveal a lush, melodic, and cohesive work. Easily Polly's most melancholy material but also some of her most listener rewarding. Don't judge this one right away. Sit with it for a little while and you'll find a fantastic record.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Eternal Desire Has Been Fulfilled, Sept. 29 2003
By 
Aaron A. Nunez (Syracuse, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Is This Desire? (Audio CD)
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). This is one of the most intriguing, compelling, mind-bodling, spellbound displays of musical brillance by PJ Harvey. The music alone is absolutely captivating, creating a moody and romantic atmosphere that is undescrible to someone who hasn't heard this masterpiece. Every song creates a different ambiance, with PJ Harvey's voice rising over the music to create a perfect combination. Her voice is definitely much more powerful, seductive, and well improved from her previous releases. Critics may argue that her best recording may be To Bring You My Love, but this Cd certainly dismantles the melocholy mood of To Bring You My Love. To Bring You My Love has a few great songs, but it is not a Cd that you can listen to from top to bottom without skipping a few tracks. On the other hand, Is This Desire is one of those rarities that can be played from beginning to end. It is the perfect Cd to play in the background with a romantic candlelight dinner at your apartment with the lights really low. My favorite songs are The River, The Sky Lit Up, A Perfect Day Elise---who am I kidding---they are all perfect!!! This is an absolute masterpiece!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Let this one grow on you, May 22 2003
By 
Lisa A. Santoro "the critical eye" (San Carlo, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Is This Desire? (Audio CD)
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. For me, the little danceable details didn't really grab me until a year into listening to it consistently. The voice permutations I find distracting, and make some songs unlistenable for me.
This is not an easy, enjoyable CD, it's cathartic. Definately worthwhile having in a collection, (the Sky Lit Up, Electric Light, The Garden, and title track, Is this Desire are particularly good) but get aquainted with her other stuff first I'd suggest.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Guess PJ just doesn't do much for me, May 12 2003
By 
Rich Grace (San Jose, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Is This Desire? (Audio CD)
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 balance, though, this is a CD that will please any PJ enthusiast but not too many others. My take is that if you thought Bryan Ferry made a habit of exposing his emotions in song, he doesn't hold a candle to PJ. She would suck all the juices out of Ferry's body and leave him a charred, crispy, quivering husk. She is without a doubt the queen of raging, tragic, compulsive/obsessive songwriting. A rawer expression of obsessive love and flat-out horniness would be very difficult to find, unless it were other PJ albums. Way too raw for my taste. She's positively flagitious in her need to expose every single raw-nerved aspect of her failed physical relationships. Jeez! Have a beer! It must be hard to find good men in Cornwall. Oh well, she's moved to New York now anyway so she's probably doing better now, poor dear. Musically, PJ is also the mistress of the brief, punchy song. The best song on the CD, "Elise," is less than three minutes and cries out for longer treatment. My wife really likes her, though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why yes. Yes, it is., April 30 2003
This review is from: Is This Desire? (Audio CD)
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?
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Is This Desire
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