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Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea

4.3 out of 5 stars 195 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 24 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00004YW6I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 195 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,768 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Big Exit
2. Good Fortune
3. A Place Called Home
4. One Line
5. Beautiful Feeling
6. The Whores Hustle and The Hustlers Whore
7. This Mess We're In
8. You Said Something
9. Kamikaze
10. This Is Love
11. Horses In My Dreams
12. We Float

Product Description

Product Description

Japanese version of the UK alternative act's eagerly anticipated fifth album. 13 tracks including the bonus track 'ThisWicked Tongue'. 2000 release. Standard jewelcase.


Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea--the sixth album from the most incendiary female British performer to emerge in the 1990s--is as powerful a record as any Polly Jean Harvey has made. Masterfully striking a balance between her blues-folk roots, avant-leanings, and soaring pop sensibility, it serves as a summary of Harvey's prior achievements. The abrasive, jagged guitars hark back to her fiery 1992 debut album, Dry, on the ballistic yet anthemic opener, "Big Exit," while the dreamy, opulent closer, "We Float," demonstrates her maturity as a songwriter. The clamor and emotional rush of a heady relationship--particularly on her duet with Thom Yorke, "This Mess We're In"--gives the album a ferocious clarity. The production skills of Mick Harvey (Nick Cave's Bad Seeds) lends depth and assurance. And, though PJ quotes from many influences--the Who, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, and even West Side Story--her indomitable presence shines throughout. Stories from the City is the work of a singular talent at the peak of her powers. --Gavin Martin

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this CD immediately after listening to Is This Desire? and learning from my friend that this CD was valued by the public as the 31st best of all times, classified way before much bigger names.... I must admit that I was quite sceptical as I set my earphones to listen to it for the first time.... (because one must listen to this without interruption and in a very intimate setting).... And as the CD played, I discovered why people had valued this CD so much!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
This album simply has some of Polly's funnest songs. Big Exit, Hustling, and This is Love are simply fun, adrenaline-pumping (if not sexually arousing in the case of This is Love) songs that are better than most of the so called thrashing rock that is played on our radio stations. I think some of the dissent against this album comes from the fact that it's so "pop-rocky", well, maybe so, but if it's done well, so what? And yeah, This is Love is not T.S. Elliot when it comes to poetic lyrics, but it's just a FUN song no matter who wrote it. So many people are overly enamored w/ the depressing side of Polly Jean, and I loved Is This Desire? too, but you take the songs for what they are. The guitar work of "This is Love" also straddles the line between minor and dominant tonality, and that helps to give it a grindy, seductive sound. "We Float" has a beautiful vocal line, and is a good ender to the album, solemn yet resilient, a hope earned through suffering that is perfectly reflected by PJ's passion and melody. A good solid rocking album w/ enough maudlin pieces to satisfy that fix, I'd still rank "Is This Desire" ahead of it, but not by much, and I'd take this album over "Rid of Me" and "To Bring You My Love".
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a big fan of PJ Harvey since her debut album Dry back in 1992, and I feel that Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea is her greatest album yet.
I simply cannot understand why any fan would want an artist to churn out the same emotions and musical style album after album. So she sounds unapologetically happy on this record, so she's having fun with a few lighter melodies and catchy choruses. Deal with it, grow up. Just because it's not as angry and abrasive as Rid of Me, that hardly means she has "sold out" or "gone soft" - this is the language of elitist underground snobs who take some sadistic, voyeuristic pleasure from the pain in her earlier records. It's a cheap, tired, lazy excuse for not trying to understand when a GREAT artist is coming from a different direction from that which you're comfortably familiar with. I can't see how some people feel there is less depth, range or emotional intensity on this amazing album. She still writes with staggering passion, she still sings with blistering energy, as if her life depended on it; she still rocks harder than anyone else around on tracks like Big Exit, The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore and Kamikaze. There is still plenty room for intense identification with all the heightened emotional extremes on this record. Personal joy and romantic love are emotions that are every bit as valid, true and important for an artist to express as the darker stuff they have established their name doing. The positive mood on songs like Good Fortune or This is Love is just as thrilling, dynamic and exhilarating to behold as the bitter rage of Rid of Me or the mournful melancholy of To Bring You My Love.
I also don't get the criticism that this record is less adventurous or experimental than her previous work like Is This Desire?
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Format: Audio CD
I really like this CD as a CD: that is, it is very listenable as a whole and has some very good songs. That said, most of the songs don't have all the reach out an grab you power of the best of the songs from To Bring You My Love or Is This Desire? But if you want a PJ CD you can pop in and listen to straight through, then this is a great choice (that or burn the more listenable tracks from some of her other CDs onto a new one for when you are not quite in the mood for the roughest tracks -- or maybe that's sacrilege). Here, Big Exit, Good Fortune, and One Line stand out. What I really like about Good Fortune -- which also why this albumn has been criticized -- is that so much genuine hapiness shows through. And that's great. A new and fantastic facet to Ms. Harvey's music. I put this CD in rotation with the other four PJ Harvey CDs I own -- I wouldn't want the happy (if sometimes whistful) version of PJ over the sometime angsty sometime anxious sometimes frenetic PJ of other albumns every day. But this albumn doesn't suffer (much) for the comparison, just demonstrates a different aspect.
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Format: Audio CD
Great sounding record. Many of the live boots from her last tour contained great versions of her earlier work, i.e., previous albums. However, I prefer her 'Stories..' songs as they sound on this record instead (as opposed to live versions). What I think this means is that the best elements of these songs are the way they sound and are produced, the beauty and lushness of them, as represented on this studio record. In other words, they require studio perfection to sound their best. However, for me, this is her least interesting album lyrically. Her previous albums were a little more challenging, had more interesting subtext to them. In fact, I think much of her B-side material from this era is superior to at least a couple tracks on the 'Stories..' album.
With that being said, still there are many songs to admire here, particularly 'kamikaze', 'big exit', 'beautiful feeling' among others. Polly Jean Harvey at her worst is still better than most others at their best, so please don't take my critique too harshly.
Oh, and btw. Mick Harvey, who plays on and helped produce this album, is NOT PJs brother. Just good friends who happen to coincidently have the same last name. They've known each other due to Micks affiliation with Nick Cave, being in the Bad Seeds. He's perhaps the most important member of that band and the connection was made during the time that PJ and Nick were a couple. (A little off topic, I know, but worth mentioning).
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