To Bring You My Love
|To Bring You My Love|
|Studio album by PJ Harvey|
|Released||27 February 1995|
|Recorded||September–October 1994 at Townhouse Studios in London, United Kingdom|
|PJ Harvey chronology|
|Singles from To Bring You My Love|
To Bring You My Love is the third studio album by English alternative rock musician PJ Harvey. It was released by Island Records in February 1995. Recorded after the break-up of the PJ Harvey trio it stands as her first proper solo album. The songs on the album are heavily influenced by American blues music.
To produce the album, Harvey chose Flood, best known for his work with U2, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails. Harvey co-produced the record with Flood and John Parish. To Bring You My Love would be the first of Harvey's many collaborations with Flood and Parish. The music on the album was played largely by Harvey and Parish, with contributions from seasoned musicians Joe Gore, Mick Harvey, Jean-Marc Butty, and others. Many of the musicians who appeared on the album joined Harvey on tour to support it in 1995 and 1996.
To Bring You My Love is considered to be PJ Harvey's breakthrough. It garnered massive critical acclaim worldwide and became her best-selling album. The single "Down By the Water" received extensive airplay on radio and on MTV. The album was placed on Rolling Stone magazine's original list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Background and History
PJ Harvey took a break from the spotlight in 1994. After releasing two studio albums (Dry and Rid of Me) and a compilation (4-Track Demos) in less than two years, she kept a low profile for most of the year. Harvey made only one public appearance in 1994, performing The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" with Björk at the annual BRIT Awards.
Using the royalties she received from her first two albums, she bought a house in rural England close to her parents' home in Yeovil. She described her new home as "completely in the countryside. I have no neighbors. When I look out the window, all I see are fields." Living in near isolation, she began writing the songs that would appear on To Bring You My Love.
Music and Lyrics
The song features extensive use of a synthesized organ and features an orchestral ensemble.
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The subject matter and tone of the songs on To Bring You My Love differ somewhat from what Harvey had presented on her earlier albums. The songs on Rid Of Me (1993), for example, are more aggressive in their depictions of relationships. They focus more on revenge ("Rid Of Me", "Rub Til It Bleeds"), or act as an attack on traditional masculinity ("Man-Size", "50ft. Queenie", "Me-Jane"). Although these songs do directly consider longing and loss, many of the songs on To Bring You My Love focus particularly on these topics, specifically considering the loss of, or longing for, a departed lover. The title track presents a narrator who not only desires love but is willing to sacrifice everything to get it. "I’ve lain with the devil," Harvey sings, "Cursed God above/Forsaken Heaven/To bring you my love."
Many of the songs on To Bring You My Love employ biblical imagery such as Heaven, God, and Jesus Christ. Harvey, however, is not a religious person. She wasn’t baptized and did not attend church as a child. She spoke of her use of religious imagery by saying "I look towards religion as possibly one means to finding an answer, to making sense why we’re here. That’s what drives the creative force, to make sense of one’s life. A very natural place to look is in that divine area, because it’s so strong and has been here long before us."
Many references are made to one of Harvey's major influences, Captain Beefheart. The opening line of the album, "I was born in the desert", is also the opening line of Beefheart's debut album, Safe as Milk. The album's second track, Meet Ze Monsta, borrows the line "meet the monster tonight" from Beefheart's "Tropical Hot Dog Night", the second track of his album Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), an album which Harvey has said had a particular impact on her. A lyrical and melodic resemblance to Beefheart's "Dropout Boogie" is also found on the track "I Think I'm A Mother," and the vocal melody at the end of Harvey's "Teclo" ("Let me ride on his grace for a while...") seems to mirror Beefheart's melody in "Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles".
Musically, the album is more complicated than Dry or Rid Of Me. Two guitar parts are used in many of the songs, in most cases played by Harvey and Parish. Acoustic guitar and strings, used sparingly in her previous releases, can be heard throughout To Bring You My Love. Bells, chimes, and a vibraphone add to the atmosphere of the recording. Keyboards and organ are also used extensively, a result of much of the album being composed on a Yamaha keyboard Harvey bought second-hand. The deep, rumbling organ tones provide many of the lower notes on the album, replacing traditional basslines. The bass played by Mick Harvey on "Long Snake Moan" is one of the few times an actual bass guitar is heard on the album.
To Bring You My Love was Harvey's first album proper since disbanding the original PJ Harvey trio in 1993. For this recording she recruited producer Flood (Depeche Mode, U2, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins), her old Automatic Dlamini bandmate John Parish and a new line-up of session musicians including Joe Gore, Eric Drew Feldman, Mick Harvey and Jean-Marc Butty. She herself played guitar, keyboards, vibes and bells on the record, as well as co-producing it with Flood and John Parish.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||A|
As her second full-length release on a major label, To Bring You My Love received a heavy promotional push from Island Records. Extensive MTV rotation and college radio airplay for the first single "Down By The Water" — with its eccentric, eye-catching Maria Mochnacz-directed music video of Harvey drowning in an emerald pond while wearing an extravagant wig, heavy make-up and a slinky red satin evening gown — gave Harvey her biggest radio hit to date, reaching #2 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart. The album itself debuted at #40 on the Billboard chart and #12 in her native UK, and went on to sell roughly one million copies. The moderate commercial breakthrough of To Bring You My Love certainly had nothing to do with any scaling-down of her trademark lyrical intensity: the infanticide fable "Down By The Water" — whose whispered coda of "Little fish big fish swimming in the water/Come back here, man, gimme my daughter" references the old Lead Belly blues standard "Salty Dog" — ostensibly deals with a mother drowning her child.
The critical response was overwhelmingly positive — Rolling Stone praised the record as "astonishing" in its four-star review, People claimed that "Harvey's raw, dense music rivals that of Bob Dylan himself for sheer gut-wrenching melodrama" and Hot Press raved, "this is a creation of oceanic beauty, depth and mystery in which all of the themes previously explored in fragments by Harvey are united in a rich and complex whole".
Harvey and her new five-piece live band supported the album with a 10-month worldwide tour that included a three-month stint opening for the band Live in the US, and a now-legendary performance at the UK's Glastonbury Festival wearing a shocking pink catsuit and black Wonderbra.
Harvey told Filter in 2004, "To Bring You My Love was my first real venture into production and to use an incredible producer like Flood, who painted an atmosphere over my songs that I hadn't heard before, I was working with new musicians — it was all very, very exciting. And very, very draining. That was a difficult time in my life, as was the time of Is This Desire?"
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The album received huge critical acclaim. It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll by a wide margin, and was also voted the year's number-one album by publications such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times, People, USA Today, Hot Press and, in "the biggest landslide victory in 15 years", the Los Angeles Times. It featured in Top Ten lists for magazines like Spin, NME, Melody Maker and Mojo, though a contrarian Time list dubbed it the "Worst Album of 1995." The album received two Grammy Award nominations as Best Alternative Music Performance and Best Female Rock Vocal for the single "Down By The Water", and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Spin magazine later ranked it at number 3 in a list of the best albums of the 90s. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album at number 435 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Slant Magazine, in 2011, rated To Bring You My Love as the 20th best album of the 90s. As of 2005, (according to AskBillboard) To Bring You My Love has sold 375,000 copies in the US.
All songs written and composed by PJ Harvey.
|1.||"To Bring You My Love"||5:32|
|2.||"Meet Ze Monsta"||3:29|
|3.||"Working for the Man"||4:45|
|6.||"Long Snake Moan"||5:17|
|7.||"Down by the Water"||3:14|
|8.||"I Think I'm a Mother"||4:00|
|9.||"Send His Love to Me"||4:20|
- Limited edition b-sides CD
|1.||"Reeling" (demo version)||3:00|
|3.||"Lying In The Sun"||4:30|
|4.||"Somebody's Down, Somebody's Name"||3:40|
|5.||"Darling Be There"||3:46|
|7.||"One Time Too Many"||2:52|
- PJ Harvey - vocals, guitar (1, 4, 5, 8), piano (5, 6), organ, vibraphone (1), marimba (9), bells (5), chimes (5), percussion (9)
- John Parish - guitar (1, 2, 6, 9, 10), organ (6), drums (4-8, 10), percussion (1-4, 6, 7, 9, 10)
- Joe Gore - guitar (2-4, 6, 7), e-bow (1)
- Mick Harvey - bass (6), organ (9)
- Jean-Marc Butty - drums (2), percussion (9)
- Joe Dilworth - drums (3)
- Pete Thomas - string arrangements
- Sonia Slany - violin (4, 7, 9)
- Jocelyn Pook - viola (4, 7, 9)
- Jules Singleton - viola (4, 7, 9)
- Sian Bell - cello (4, 7, 9)
- Technical personnel
- Flood - producer, engineer, mixing
- PJ Harvey - producer, engineer (1, 4, 5, 7)
- John Parish - producer
- Art personnel
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