Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Polly receives her just deserts

Congratulations to P J Harvey for winning a second Mercury Prize for her stunning album Let England Shake. She is a deserving winner for a record that could well be the album not just of 2011, but of the decade.

It is particularly fitting that she lifts this award on almost the tenth anniversary of 9/11. She won the prize the first time on 9/11 and was stuck in Washington as a result of it. This new work is in many ways born of the aftermath of that horrific event. It is a meditation on what it means to be English and how our character as a nation has been forged in war; a character that is as dark as it is bright.

Let England Shake is profound, unsettling, musically and lyrically witty and adventurous. It isn't just about our experience of war - containing songs based on stories of First World War battles as well as reflections on our recent adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan; it's also about how those experiences have shaped the nation in which we live, left its stain on our character and landscape.

It repays repeated listens and grows richer with each one. So well done Polly Jean!

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