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Thread: White Chalk

  1. #1
    Lyrical acuity and mum-smarts menju56's Avatar
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    White Chalk



    PJ HARVEY
    WHITE CHALK

    (ISLAND)
    Released: September 2007
    Chart: UK No.11 / US No.65

    • The Devil
    • Dear Darkness
    • Grow Grow Grow
    • When Under Ether
    • White Chalk
    • Broken Harp
    • Silence
    • To Talk to You
    • The Piano
    • Before Departure
    • The Mountain


    For this album, which she co-produced with John Parish and Flood, the same team as on To Bring You My Love, Polly decided to write and record on piano, debuting some of the material at a concert at Hay-on-Wye in May 2006 and ultimately producing a marked shift in sound. At only 34 minutes, it is her shortest studio album. White Chalk produced the singles "When Under Ether," "The Piano," and "The Devil."



    ______________________

    - SINGLES -

    WHEN UNDER ETHER
    Released: September 2007
    Formats: 7", digital download
    Chart: n/a
    Tracks: When Under Ether / Wait





    THE PIANO
    Released: November 2007
    Formats: 7", digital download
    Chart: n/a
    Tracks: The Piano / Heaven





    THE DEVIL
    Released: March 2008
    Formats: CD, 7" vinyl
    Chart: n/a
    Tracks: The Piano / Liverpool Tide

    Last edited by menju56; 12-24-2010 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Such an incredible album. All the songs are cohesive and while pretty sparse are all deeply engaging. Also some of her best lyrics ever. Though I prefer the autoharp version of Grow, Grow, Grow.

    Also the tour was pretty exceptional. She went solo and pretty much kept the setlist the same throughout, but turned out some solid performances. Wish she played To Talk To You and Before Departure live though.

  3. #3
    Militia of the Mind toriMODE's Avatar
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    I really do like White Chalk, and like the individual songs, but I don't tend to listen to it very often. The only song that had staying power for me was The Mountain.

  4. #4
    these days just seem to crush me
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    i need to listen to this album again because it's been too long. 'white chalk' the track, is the most stunning from that album. and 'before departure' is so devastating and gorgeous at the same time.

  5. #5
    discord ebby's Avatar
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    White Chalk is an album that lives in my car. I listen to it so much when Autumn/Winter comes around. It just seems to suit the wet, wild weather we get from October onwards (usually).

  6. #6
    I've been listening to it a lot lately, and I'm excited that she's included WC songs in the recent set. I think the songs could work quite well rearranged for a band.

  7. #7
    Lyrical acuity and mum-smarts menju56's Avatar
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    I loved her before but if anything this made me love and respect her even more. To try something so completely different was a bold move, and the whole album has a dark, beautiful, somewhat scary intensity. It's short but I think by the time it finishes you've been through the mill a bit, such is its intensity throughout. I'm also excited about band arrangements of songs from this album, and although I didn't see her on the tour to support it, I think that these songs slotted in nicely with her other work. I hope that's not it as far as writing on the piano is concerned though; I don't think Let England Shake has any piano songs, according to early reports, but hopefully at some point she'll incorporate it again.

    This is one of my favourite things she has ever done:


  8. #8
    Senior Member Cairn's Avatar
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    This album moves me in a way that, for all my love of Polly, I never imagined could happen with a PJ Harvey album. The stark beauty overwhelms me every time I listen.

  9. #9
    Crow Winger Bruce's Avatar
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    Such a powerful album, and a testament to what a true artist Polly is. Her unwillingness to settle paired with her readiness to try anything new to move forward and break new ground is something you don't see often in the music industry. I remember Tori talking about jumping ship with American Doll Posse (which was a load of shit), then Polly pulls White Chalk out of her bag and shows us the true meaning of 'jumping ship.' I feel that after Uh Huh Her, which was the first album that lacked that cohesion we have come to expect with each album, Polly herself needed this album to remind her why she was in the business, and it worked miraculously. And I agree with Menju, as much as I love the album, I wouldn't want it to be any longer as it is such a vacuous experience in that it sucks you in to this suffocating little underworld of clenched collars and enchanted shrubbery and ultimately death, that by the last shrieks of The Mountain you're left startled and relieved, but also completely blown away by what she and her mates just accomplished.

  10. #10
    Militia of the Mind toriMODE's Avatar
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    ^Excellent description!

  11. #11
    (Glad to see a PJ forum!)

    White Chalk was the first PJ album I bought and listened to. I love it. I guess you could say that I'm a "new PJ" fan, because I tried listening to some of her older stuff, and don't really like it. It sounds too harsh/rough to me. I much prefer her softer sound I guess.

    Favorites from White Chalk: The Devil, Grow Grow Grow, When Under Ether, White Chalk, Broken Harp, Silence, and The Piano.

  12. #12
    Alt Universe CliqueMember Spikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    I feel that after Uh Huh Her, which was the first album that lacked that cohesion we have come to expect with each album
    I always thought this was sort of the point of Uh Huh Her; sort of an anti-concept album.

  13. #13
    I don't think it's her best record but it's my favorite. The sound Polly, John, and Flood created is timeless and really well done.
    You can tell she knew where she wanted to take this record and worked insanely hard to realize it.

  14. #14
    What kind of fuckery is this? emptytuileries's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spikey View Post
    I always thought this was sort of the point of Uh Huh Her; sort of an anti-concept album.
    I agree. And in a way, a parody or collage of herself and her work. I mean, she did where shirts with her own image printed on them (along with the Spice Girls and others) during the Uh Huh Her tour. I've always thought Uh Huh Her so endearing because it's so purposefully patch-worky and uneven (in my opinion).

  15. #15
    girlfriend, you are so on Octopussy's Avatar
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    "collage" is the word that comes to mind when I think of Uh Huh Her. The artwork does a nice job at capturing the experience of it too. It's like PJ showing us what she has done so far, (but not in commercialized greatest-hits sort of way, or a farcical American Doll Posse way), and last quarter of the album points to where would go next with White Chalk and probably Let England Shake. All of PJ's albums have a theme or a concept, except Uh Huh Her - and that itself becomes the concept.

    Anyway, White Chalk is my least favorite of PJ's albums, and yet I still think it's excellent - you know you have a great artist when even their least-good stuff is brilliant. One thing I dislike about it... the singles!! First of all to be fair, I can't imagine any of these songs having the success of Down by the Water, Good Fortune or Perfect Day Elise. While I actually like the brain tease of having When Under Ether as the lead, it should've been followed by Silence and White Chalk. The former is easily the most pop-friendly song on the album, and the title track is a career highlight IMO.

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