Maybe it’s wrong to single out PJ Harvey as a female rocker, but there are so few, and none like PJ Harvey. She’s got guts, but you’d never mistake her music as anything else but female. It is this distinction that gives her music a unique character. When she sings “lick my legs / I’m on fire / lick my legs / of desire,” in the album’s title track, Rid of Me, it’s not sexual--it’s threatening.
It’s not just her lyrics, not just her voice that ventures from a whisper to falsetto to raw-throated belting, it is also the drumming, off-kilter and often surprising, and also the guitar playing that explodes at times. And still there is space in these songs, the sound of an empty room, a feeling of agony and indecision.
Released in 1993, Rid of Me was important to me for many reasons that can’t be explained here. But no matter the variety of memories associated with this album, it still stands on its own and sounds damn good loud.