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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"I Know What I Hate...And I Don't Hate This."

Have you ever noticed, and I'm sure most of you have, while in the middle of leaving a comment on someone else's blog, it will develop and blossom into something post-worthy in it's own right? That happened to me the other day, while I was leaving a reply on the esteemed Shannonosphere, regarding the relative positions on the patheon of rock respecting Kim Deal and Polly Jean Harvey.

Half way through my comment, I noticed it was cumberously long, not to mention fairly inarticulate and maybe a little bit Unabomber-esque, what with it's disjointed rambling quality. I had meant to belittle her pro- PJ opinion as gently as possible, but I thought that I should perhaps listen to PJ before I really got into it.

Luckily, I happened to have PJ Harvey's "Rid Of Me", although, for various reasons, I'd never actually really listened to it. When I say really listened, here's what I mean; to really listen to music, you must listen:

*while driving, with the volume cranked up
OR
*under the influence, whether it's liquor or Nyquil, muscle relaxants or head injury, mushrooms or the light of the love of Jesus
OR
*with headphones that cost more than $30

It's also helpful if you regularly listen to three or more radio stations, and even more helpful if your station of preference isn't classic/oldies.

Anyway, back to Polly Jean...
I had put in the CD a couple of times in the past few years, but both times I was distracted, and not really able to give it my attention, and it didn't make much of an impression on me. Not to mention the fact that she is adored by so many audio sycophants, also known as music snobs (by the way, I'm not a snob, I'm an aficionado). I am no bandwagon jumper; in fact, I'll often avoid listening to bands if there's too much hype around them.

Last night, I finally listened to "Rid of Me" in it's entirety, without distraction, and my argument against Shannon sort of dissipated. PJ has a great, raw sound...big yet feminine, and I can really appreciate the "girl" in her music. Kim Deal's sound is a little more polished, which can be good or bad, and is usually bad, but in her case it's good. Kim's voice is prettier, but PJ's has more depth. However, PJ does a capella a couple times on "Rid Of Me", and that takes some points away from her. No one, with the exception of Tori Amos, should do a capella! I've seen Tori two or three times live, and each time my favorite part was when she sang "Me And A Gun". I don't like that song so much on the CD, but live it is such a powerful experience...there's such a palpable tension. The audience seems to be frozen under a spell, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one expecting someone to whoop or yell, but no one does. It's such an incredible experience...I suspect she's a witch...

So, I have to admit it, PJ rocks...hardcore...she's got a genius there. But Kim was a Pixie, and so she trumps all. Like Lennon and McCartney, in spite of the fact that their post-Beatles success, not to mention the overall quality of their work, was spotty at best, and I don't mean to compare Kim's Breeders to, say, Wings, as the Breeders are so much better than Wings, she is as a Saint, and really, on a certain level, above criticism.

And so, I stubbornly refuse to admit that I might be wrong, but at least I expanded my horizons. Thanks be to Shannon!

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