- Audio CD (Nov. 30 1995)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD, Audiobook
- Label: Universal Music Canada
- ASIN: B000001DYD
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 59 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,039 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Rid of Me CD, Audiobook
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|1. Rid Of Me|
|4. Rub 'Til It Bleeds|
|6. Man-Size Sextet|
|7. Highway 61 Revisited|
|8. 50ft Queenie|
Primal 1993 second album, produced by Steve Albini. Includes "50ft Queenie".
PJ Harvey's second and most ferocious album finds her claiming images of sexuality, whether they're of a "hysterical" female (the obsessive title track and the indelible accusation "you leave me dry") or male "dominance" ("Man-Size", which also appears in an atonal arrangement with a string sextet, and the feral rockabilly size-brag of "50-Ft Queenie"). Recorded to play up the stark dynamic contrasts of Harvey's early trio, it's as harsh and abrasive as the gutter blues whose vocal style Harvey cops. And she demands a place for herself at the table of great songwriters--a hellfire take on Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" fits neatly alongside her own work. --Douglas Wolk
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1. RID OF ME: The ultimate anthem of revenge and love that won't let go. "Tie yourself to me, no one else, no, you're not rid of me. This song starts out deceptively slow and quiet and just when you feel comfortable inching the volume up, the bitter refrain comes exploding into your ears, jolting you out of your complacency. One of my favorites.
2. MISSED: Told from the point-of-view of The Virgin Mary as she watches Her son get crucified. Polly Harvey seems almost maternal in this song as she gasps in a voice filled with pain, "My son, where's he been. Good Lord, he's been hit! No, I missed him.
3. LEGS: An anguished, obsessive wail of female hysteria. I didn't care too much for this one at first, but now I can't help but think it is one of the most disturbing tracks on the album. Beginning with the almost indistinguishable cry, "Oh, you're divi-ine" and ending with the hate-filled declaration "I might as well be dead... but I could kill you instead."
4. RUB 'TIL IT BLEEDS: Again, for some reason, I didn't pay attention to this one too much when I first heard it. Then, one day, I just found myself reaching for it and I've loved it ever since. The second most disturbing track on the album-I would give anything to know what she is singing about. I love the way this song is paced, it's slow monotone guitar become more frenetic, interspersed with harsh drumbeats as the song progresses. My second favorite.
5. HOOK: A tribute to the old Irish ballad "I'll take you home again, Kathleen" told from the heroine's sarcastic point-of-view. Reminiscent of some of the tracks on DRY.
6. MAN-SIZED SEXTET: I don't get this one. To me it just seems like a great song is being butchered. See my review of the standard version of MAN-SIZE for track #10.
7. HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED: A cover aimed as tribute to one of Polly's favorite artists. Having not yet heard the original version, I can't say how it compares. A cacophonous song that seems to be serving as a satire of some kind.
8. 50 FOOT QUEENIE: The biggest hit of the album. Harsh yet funny from it's opening chords. A parody of ego and arrogance, which could be applied to either a male or a female. Check out the video for this one which has Polly dressed like a deranged 1950's housewife, running loose around the studio spray-painting the walls.
9. YURI-G: Although you would not guess it from the title, this song is actually supposed to be about the moon. It is kind of in the same category as HOOK. There is something enticing about lyrics like, "I drew her down on me, I drew her with a smile... Yeah, I wish I was Yuri-G, it's just the things that she does to me."
10. MAN-SIZE: My favorite track on the album! For some reason, I can never get tired of this song. Sometimes, I even play it more than once. A real classic rock song which gains intensity and speed as it progresses, finally climaxing with PJ Harvey's wailing "Man-size, man-size, man-size..." and an ominous final stanza. For the most part, the lyrics to this song are great fun, the type of thing you want to belt out in your car with the windows rolled down. "Got my girl, she's a wow; I cast my iron knickers down... My babe lookin' cool and neat, I'm pretty sure good enough to eat." I would love to find the video for this song.
11. DRY: The ultimate female cry of dissatisfaction. Maybe she's talking about something more than just the literal meaning in the lyrics. Then again, maybe not... Personally, I'm not a fan of this one simply because it's kind of a slow ballad that is kind of mellow but not in a way that is bittersweet or pretty.
12. ME-JANE: Tarzan's story told from Jane's angle. The drumbeats in the beginning resemble the cacophonous noise of the jungle. Another song that I really like. Again, it's hard-hitting and empowering with it's command "Don't lord it on me!"
13. SNAKE: Polly Jean's own tribute to the plight of Eve at the hands of the serpent. Very short, includes the sound-effect of Polly Harvey seeming to choke on her own breath.
14. ECSTASY: This song seems to be the indicator of the metallic, theatrical direction the band is heading in on the next album "To Bring You My Love". An almost heavy-metal song, takes a format different from all of the other songs in that it doesn't really seem to be telling a story. Again, however, this is one of my favorites because its lyrics just seem to flow so naturally even though they are almost about nothing. A fitting conclusion!
When I first listened to this album, I was almost disappointed. I couldn't understand what all the hype was about and had trouble seeing how RID OF ME was any different than DRY. However, as I kept listening, I found gems in unexpected places. Indeed, where DRY simply aimed to make audiences blush at its references, RID OF ME makes them gasp with it's lyrics of hard-hitting poignancy that are always uncomfortably accurate. It's worth noting that after this album, the trio "PJ Harvey" split up and the band became exclusively Polly Harvey's property. Listen to this album and enjoy it as one of the many stages Polly Jean Harvey passes through as she attempts to make music that will chill us
Steve Albini is a genius producer, even if he does use the same techniques on every single he does, and I think it works good with the music even if he did reign things in a bit too much with his trademark sound. The guitars just sound kind of tiny, and the volume on this CD is set ridiculously low, if you play it on a portable CD with headphones you'll have to crank it all the way up and it probably still won't be loud enough if you're walking down a busy street or something.
Otherwise, Man-Size Sextet is so weird its almost hilarious, its the kind of song I would play for someone if they want me to think I'm a crazy freak or something. "I'll measure time, I'll measure height, I'll calculate my birthright. Good lord I'm big..." Weird, weird, weird.
Highway 61 Revisted, the Boy Dylan cover, is better than the original, starting out so quiet you can barely hear it. 50 Ft. Queenie is a huge in-your-face rock song driven by blues-sounding riffs, and Me Jane takes the Tarzan theme and looks at it from the woman's point of view. "Just you stop your screaming....move it over Tarzan can't you see I'm bleeding." The song Snake could really care less about being anything other than agressive, essentially a straightforward minute and a half rant about someone she hates, with a brief intermission where PJ does the vocal equivalent of a slow pick-scrape, majorly cool.
Basically, its a flawless album other than perhaps issues with the volume. Along with Is This Desire, Rid of me is a must own in my opinion. The rest of her work is still good, but only optional, don't bother unless you already have these two albums.
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