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Thread: "Shaker Aamer" - new song 2013

  1. #16
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltic View Post
    This song, whatever context, required very little on PJ's part (I would hope)
    Just reading about Guantanamo and this man's case is emotionally draining, and I've only been introduced to his situation. In fact, I can"tfollow most of the news out of Guantanamo because its so chilling and sad and disturbing. And PJ, who has presumably been thinking about the subject, and reading on the subject and reflecting enough to compose a song, record etc... And this required "very little" according to you?? Don't like the production, ok, dont like the lyrics, the message, the project, dont like PJs politics, cool, all understandable and defendable! but to extrapolate that this required very little on her part or that people that genuinely enjoy the song are PJ sheeples is tacky and dumb. Stunned at the ignorance in this thread.

  2. #17
    condemned to wires and hammers ebby's Avatar
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    (edit: not aimed at Banjee, obvs)

    Well, I feel schooled. Apparently my opinion isn't valid and I'm not allowed to like something because other posters have deemed it terrible and bad. Soz like. Let me just unplug my own critical thinking and mindlessly agree with the contrary thoughts about the piece of work.

    Perhaps I can "make pretty much anything or anyone seem stupendous, the way [I] analyze things" because I apply the same critical thinking to things I dislike as well as what I do like, and thus form my own opinion of the piece of work I'm posting about. It's obvious that I'm just fanwanking. (except I don't do that. see: tori amos, bjork's volta, PJ's "cat on the wall".)
    Last edited by ebby; 08-04-2013 at 03:28 PM.

  3. #18
    Senior Member Baltic's Avatar
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    It doesn't really sound like anything on 4-Track Demos or UHH in terms of production. The sound obviously borrows from LES. 4-Track Demos is a piece of great work, but SA sounds very whiny. I doubt in a couple weeks, months or years people will be talking about this PJ Harvey track called Shaker Aamer. It's totally forgettable, sounds like it was put together and recorded in 10 minutes and is kind of surprising that PJ would release something like this, considering she's a perfectionist and scrutinizes her own work exceedingly. It didn't take any creativity to make this song, it's so reminiscent of LES. In fact, it sounds egotistical.

    Perhaps PJ Harvey is moving into a new more political phase in her career, but hopefully the next full piece of work isn't so connected to LES.

    I would assume, based on the work she put into LES, that she knows of the political situation in Guantanamo, so this song, though I have to say is thoughtful, probably didn't take a lot of time to make comparatively speaking to her other songs. It was probably recorded in one take, the lyrics are very simple and mostly unimagined, and, I would guess, didn't take hours of research. I don't know though. If she did spend days or weeks on this song, and it sounds like this, yikes!

    This reminds me of a Patti Smith song she put up on her website in response to the bombing of Lebanon and there's another one written about a person who was also wrongly imprisoned (I forgot the person's name now). The songs were very simple. Just Patti and her guitar. But, the difference is that Patti didn't add some cheesy echo/dub effect on top of a whiny vocal.

    My apologies if my impression of the song makes you think I am judging you! But, the fact that you say you like something because a, b and c is the same thing as me saying I don't like it because of a, b and c. Still, I doubt anyone will value this song down the road, or would even care that much if the subject matter was different.
    "The only time I get in that position is when I give birth." - Dorothy Zbornak

  4. #19
    Senior Member Baltic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebby View Post
    (edit: not aimed at Banjee, obvs)

    Well, I feel schooled. Apparently my opinion isn't valid and I'm not allowed to like something because other posters have deemed it terrible and bad. Soz like. Let me just unplug my own critical thinking and mindlessly agree with the contrary thoughts about the piece of work.

    Perhaps I can "make pretty much anything or anyone seem stupendous, the way [I] analyze things" because I apply the same critical thinking to things I dislike as well as what I do like, and thus form my own opinion of the piece of work I'm posting about. It's obvious that I'm just fanwanking. (except I don't do that. see: tori amos, bjork's volta, PJ's "cat on the wall".)
    It just seemed to me you analyzed something that begs not to be analyzed. Yet, here I am analyzing how bad of a song I think it is, so I am being hypocritical.

    And there's no way Cat on the Wall is a worse song than this. I think CotW is irritating to some degree, but the subject matter is insignificant. If PJ wants to honour or stand up for someone or something, she should put more thought and energy into it.
    "The only time I get in that position is when I give birth." - Dorothy Zbornak

  5. #20
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    You make what she does sound as easy as typing bullshit away on a computer.

  6. #21
    condemned to wires and hammers ebby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltic View Post
    It doesn't really sound like anything on 4-Track Demos or UHH in terms of production. The sound obviously borrows from LES. 4-Track Demos is a piece of great work, but SA sounds very whiny. I doubt in a couple weeks, months or years people will be talking about this PJ Harvey track called Shaker Aamer. It's totally forgettable, sounds like it was put together and recorded in 10 minutes and is kind of surprising that PJ would release something like this, considering she's a perfectionist and scrutinizes her own work exceedingly. It didn't take any creativity to make this song, it's so reminiscent of LES. In fact, it sounds egotistical.
    What's the intent of the song though? Is it to be a work of musical genius, or to be a part of a campaign to free someone from prison and raise awareness of his situation? Does it inform listeners about his plight? Yes. Is it as good as anything she releases on her full albums? No. Does it spread knowledge about the only remaining UK citizen in prison in Guantanamo? Well, certainly. And the 20,000 listens on soundcloud in one day so far sure help spread the message the song is intending to deliver, as does the articles in papers like the Observer, so regardless of whether or not anyone will be listening to it in a few years matters not when the aim of the song is to be a part of particular focused campaign that will end when the man is released.

    That's the context of the song and that's the context that I am appraising it within. If it was then put on an album that went for sale as a PJ Harvey album, that would be entirely different. This is a free download put out to be a messenger spreading info about Shaker Aamer to the general public. I had no idea who he was before the song. So, in that small way, it's a success before even looking at the song itself, and I expected something far worse, but the song itself is rather decent and does feel like a weird LES b-side demo.

  7. #22
    Senior Member Baltic's Avatar
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    ^ In this regard, I agree with you, from your particular perspective. The song did what it aimed to do.
    "The only time I get in that position is when I give birth." - Dorothy Zbornak

  8. #23
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltic View Post

    I would assume, based on the work she put into LES, that she knows of the political situation in Guantanamo, so this song, though I have to say is thoughtful, probably didn't take a lot of time to make comparatively speaking to her other songs. It was probably recorded in one take, the lyrics are very simple and mostly unimagined, and, I would guess, didn't take hours of research. I don't know though. If she did spend days or weeks on this song, and it sounds like this, yikes!

    .
    This is absurd logic. LES is about WWI. What does WWI have to do with Guantanamo, and how would she have stumbled upon Guantanamo research, reports, info, researching WWI? because both are about War? So, PJ is now an expert on all wars ever- past, present and future!? Wowza.

    Edit: actually, I can't remember if it was WWI or not, but it was an early 20th C war.

    Edit edit: wiki says she did read up on Iraq and Afghanistan for LES; however, the hunger strikes have only been going for the past 4 months. I was under the impression that it was only about he Gallipoli campaign.

    I still think it's absurd to suggest that her art is effortless to her.
    Last edited by Banjee; 08-04-2013 at 05:27 PM.

  9. #24
    werewolves, not swear-wolves Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebby View Post
    What's the intent of the song though? Is it to be a work of musical genius, or to be a part of a campaign to free someone from prison and raise awareness of his situation? Does it inform listeners about his plight? Yes. Is it as good as anything she releases on her full albums? No. Does it spread knowledge about the only remaining UK citizen in prison in Guantanamo? Well, certainly. And the 20,000 listens on soundcloud in one day so far sure help spread the message the song is intending to deliver, as does the articles in papers like the Observer, so regardless of whether or not anyone will be listening to it in a few years matters not when the aim of the song is to be a part of particular focused campaign that will end when the man is released.

    That's the context of the song and that's the context that I am appraising it within. If it was then put on an album that went for sale as a PJ Harvey album, that would be entirely different. This is a free download put out to be a messenger spreading info about Shaker Aamer to the general public. I had no idea who he was before the song. So, in that small way, it's a success before even looking at the song itself, and I expected something far worse, but the song itself is rather decent and does feel like a weird LES b-side demo.
    I completely agree with you. The song served its purpose as in make people aware of Shaker Aamer and his imprisonment.
    I personally liked the production of the song and her vocals. However, the song itself is not something I would listen that often to, as in I found it not an easy listen, but then again I think it's supposed to make you uncomfortable.

  10. #25
    Crow Winger Bruce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltic View Post
    If PJ wants to honour or stand up for someone or something, she should put more thought and energy into it.
    Who are you to say how much effort or energy Polly put into this song? You write as if you were there with her while she churned out a paint-by-numbers war song while sipping tea and watching Seinfeld. Merits of the song aside, it appears (and I'm speculating here) this song came from a pure place of shock and horror about the detainment and abuse of Aamer, and Polly utilized her notoriety as a platform to express said outrage. It's a poignant, cutting little song that certainly brought this particular story to my attention, so in that regard it did its job. Not a fan of the delay on her vocals, but the song is haunting. A worthy effort to my ears.

  11. #26
    Senior Member uncanny hats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltic View Post
    She's wonderful for doing this, but the song is just not good. The production is very amateurish. It (the production and PJ's voice) reminded me of this:

    you'd really hate music that was released before 2005. : /
    Last edited by uncanny hats; 08-04-2013 at 05:33 PM.

  12. #27
    condemned to wires and hammers ebby's Avatar
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    (aside: we really could go on an interp-wank-fest about what exactly the delay on the vocal is perhaps meant to evoke: prison? solitary? echoing through the history of similar stories? the feeling of trying to get your voice heard but only hearing your own echoing back? to make the vocal sound eerier and creep out the listener more? But, that might be going a bit too far, don't you think? (indubitably))

  13. #28
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    Ooohh Ebby, I like all those ideas!!

  14. #29
    Senior Member Ime Achoo Dooa's Avatar
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    I thought the vocal delay was pretty obviously meant to evoke one's own voice echoing off the inside of a prison cell/one's own head. Not going too far at all, imo. Makes me think of Joe Meek.

    Even though I love this song (very earworm for me) I was a little disappointed when I heard it because it is sooo by the LES playbook. She really could just make songs sourced from other pieces of writing and add that sheen of off-kilter creepiness until the cows come home, couldn't she? However I do love the PJ Harvey + solo electric guitar riffage and minimal production thing and I wouldn't mind an entire album based off of that sound/atmosphere, as long as the lyrics weren't all Auschwitz and Goya this time around.

  15. #30
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    This project of taking people's diaries, journals and making them into songs reminds me of Anne Deavre Smith's artwork. smith's work examines heightened racial tensions in the US. She interviews folks around an incident (the Rodney King riots, a black boy killed in a Jewish neighborhood) that has dealt with race, then uses the interviews as the source material for her stage plays. All the text in the plays is from the interviews, she adds nothing (just used wiki to find out that it's actually a thing-- called, "documentary theatre"). She then performs all the parts herself. it is spectacular! It's kind of what PJ is doing. I'd love for PJ to watch a performance of Twilight: Los Angeles 1992.(there are clips on YouTube)
    Last edited by Banjee; 08-04-2013 at 06:36 PM.

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