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PJ Harvey: Siren Rising

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In a career spanning over a decade, PJ Harvey has continually defied expectation and classification with her seven blues-drenched studio albums, attracting a fanbase including Madonna and Courtney Love and achieving worldwide recognition in the process.


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In a career spanning over a decade, PJ Harvey has continually defied expectation and classification with her seven blues-drenched studio albums, attracting a fanbase including Madonna and Courtney Love and achieving worldwide recognition in the process.

30 review for PJ Harvey: Siren Rising

  1. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    I don't usually read biographies, but I picked this one up because I've been a huge fan of Polly's music for years (but am horribly lazy when it comes to following an artist's work closely). The writing was mediocre at best, but the interviews in chronological order saved me the trouble of Googling them. Blandford's writing, as I mentioned, leaves much to be desired, but the copious interview excerpts were very satisfying. I'm unlikely to read anything else by James Blandford, but I'm now more o I don't usually read biographies, but I picked this one up because I've been a huge fan of Polly's music for years (but am horribly lazy when it comes to following an artist's work closely). The writing was mediocre at best, but the interviews in chronological order saved me the trouble of Googling them. Blandford's writing, as I mentioned, leaves much to be desired, but the copious interview excerpts were very satisfying. I'm unlikely to read anything else by James Blandford, but I'm now more of a PJ Harvey fan than ever. I did feel that the book was, for the most part, as respectful of her privacy as any biography could be (I was pleasantly surprised to see no sensational details about her relationship with Nick Cave, though I didn't enjoy that line that suggested that Vincent Gallo and PJ Harvey had been more than just close friends), and didn't feel horribly guilty about reading it, though the writing was certainly too subjective on several occasions. The one thing I did come away with was a comprehensive list of all her projects, and I found that extremely useful. So yeah, this is pretty much a book for the lazy fan then. I agree that the choice of the cover image was off the mark, but then again I'm not certain which image, from which era, would serve to represent who Polly is (not unlike David Bowie). But then again, I suppose that's only to be expected from someone as phenomenal at evolution and innovation as Polly Jean Harvey.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brittney

    To the lady herself, I award five out of five stars. The actual book provided a wealth of information, yet due to the oft subjective nature of the writing and the lazy editing, it was difficult to determine how much of it was accurate. Polly’s reclusive nature was mentioned on more than one occasion in this book, and I could not help but possess a constant underlying feeling of trampling on her privacy. Still, it was my own decision to read it, and I do feel enlightened about certain aspects of To the lady herself, I award five out of five stars. The actual book provided a wealth of information, yet due to the oft subjective nature of the writing and the lazy editing, it was difficult to determine how much of it was accurate. Polly’s reclusive nature was mentioned on more than one occasion in this book, and I could not help but possess a constant underlying feeling of trampling on her privacy. Still, it was my own decision to read it, and I do feel enlightened about certain aspects of her personality, yet I understand that no biography can be comprehensive.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I thought this book was okay. Being an enthusiastic fan of PJ Harvey I've done pretty extensive research on her and know a lot about her background. This book provided me with 90% of information I already knew. The pictures were a nice touch and I did enjoy reading about her childhood but the rest of the book was the same song and dance about her music career and life. I thought this book was okay. Being an enthusiastic fan of PJ Harvey I've done pretty extensive research on her and know a lot about her background. This book provided me with 90% of information I already knew. The pictures were a nice touch and I did enjoy reading about her childhood but the rest of the book was the same song and dance about her music career and life.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    I need to give biographies a rest. Well, horribly written ones. I did not need to be reminded how wonderful she is as an artist. I guess I was hoping for something MORE than what I already know? I am inspired by this woman and this book just made me feel like I was reading some OTHER fan's notes about her life. I need to give biographies a rest. Well, horribly written ones. I did not need to be reminded how wonderful she is as an artist. I guess I was hoping for something MORE than what I already know? I am inspired by this woman and this book just made me feel like I was reading some OTHER fan's notes about her life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    It is quite hard to distinguish between my love for P J Harvey and this biography of her. First, I need to acknowledge what other readers said about the book. Other people have said that Blandford shows no insight whatsoever, that he has simply done an (admirable) literature survey and summarised 17 years of interviews with and articles on Polly. Admirable, yes. Worth a published biography, maybe not. I’d be more inclined to set up a website, perhaps an information resource for fans. I honestly h It is quite hard to distinguish between my love for P J Harvey and this biography of her. First, I need to acknowledge what other readers said about the book. Other people have said that Blandford shows no insight whatsoever, that he has simply done an (admirable) literature survey and summarised 17 years of interviews with and articles on Polly. Admirable, yes. Worth a published biography, maybe not. I’d be more inclined to set up a website, perhaps an information resource for fans. I honestly have doubts as to whether Blandford has ever met Harvey, or whether he ever listened to any of her music. (I try not to be influenced by the fact that he first wrote a biography of Britney Spears). Given his frankly obscure comments on some of Polly’s music, as well as that of her contemporaries, I honestly have doubts as to whether he has in fact bought an “alternative” album in his life. And if he has met her and he has listened to her genre of music his entire life, why is it not showing in his writing? One small point of contention: He waxes lyrical about the Glastonbury set where Polly used a staff to beat out the rhythm to “Goodnight”. I was there, it wasn’t only one song. She did it during “To Bring You My Love”. My intention is not to “pull rank” or anything of the sort. However, if you’re going to mention something in four different places in your book, get your facts right. Better yet, try not to depend so heavily on other people’s reviews if you weren’t there to experience it first-hand yourself. Am I glad I purchased the book? Yes. It is a nicely packaged reference manual of all her songs, collaborations, interviews and bootlegs. Am I enthusiastically awaiting the “authorised” biography whereby I may just learn a sliver of information about this intenseley private and brilliant woman? Of course.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maddie D

    I must say i was quite disappointed with this book. My expectations were set high as she is an incredibly talented artist. i also felt uncomfortable about the fact that this book was un-ortharised by pj. his attempts to pry into her background proved shallow.i did enjoy the details of her background and home life but it was missing the depth i would have hoped for. any one could have pieced this together with the internet and mediocre writing abilities. Pj Harvey deserves better. And one more thi I must say i was quite disappointed with this book. My expectations were set high as she is an incredibly talented artist. i also felt uncomfortable about the fact that this book was un-ortharised by pj. his attempts to pry into her background proved shallow.i did enjoy the details of her background and home life but it was missing the depth i would have hoped for. any one could have pieced this together with the internet and mediocre writing abilities. Pj Harvey deserves better. And one more thing, what the hell was he thinking with the cover? there are far better pictures of Polly that show her character. that picture looks fake and bares little resemblance

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mira

    I think I'm rating this book so highly because I like PJs music so much. The book itself is pretty straight down the line, reeling off the facts. Some amusing moments and bits and pieces I wasn't aware of (played a show at the TATE in London, art school moments, etc.). I read a tiny tiny book based on the lyrics to "rid of me" and that was just irritating. In the end, I'd rather just listen to the albums. I think she should write a book of comedy. One wry sentence per page. In true dada fashion. I think I'm rating this book so highly because I like PJs music so much. The book itself is pretty straight down the line, reeling off the facts. Some amusing moments and bits and pieces I wasn't aware of (played a show at the TATE in London, art school moments, etc.). I read a tiny tiny book based on the lyrics to "rid of me" and that was just irritating. In the end, I'd rather just listen to the albums. I think she should write a book of comedy. One wry sentence per page. In true dada fashion. It'd be great.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ming

    Has interesting excerpts of PJ Harvey interviews. Blandford's writing style is rather annoying, however, and he often makes rather unwelcomed comments about other artists when telling PJ Harvey's story (e.g. how Mel B is a Z-list celebrity, how so-and-so is inferior to PJ Harvey in such-and-such a manner). Somewhat irritating but it's a nice resource to have if you're interested in getting some insight behind PJ Harvey's artistic journey. Has interesting excerpts of PJ Harvey interviews. Blandford's writing style is rather annoying, however, and he often makes rather unwelcomed comments about other artists when telling PJ Harvey's story (e.g. how Mel B is a Z-list celebrity, how so-and-so is inferior to PJ Harvey in such-and-such a manner). Somewhat irritating but it's a nice resource to have if you're interested in getting some insight behind PJ Harvey's artistic journey.

  9. 5 out of 5

    S.P.

    Interesting book about a very enigmatic individual. Doesn't do much to reveal the mystique of the woman, but then that would probably ruin the whole experience of the music. Interesting book about a very enigmatic individual. Doesn't do much to reveal the mystique of the woman, but then that would probably ruin the whole experience of the music.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Emens

    If you're a fan of PJ Harvey's it's a must read. If you're a fan of PJ Harvey's it's a must read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    You could write this book with google searchs. I think thats what this guy did.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    I love Polly's work. But this book leaves a LOT to be desired. This guy is a visitor in Polly~land and it shows... I love Polly's work. But this book leaves a LOT to be desired. This guy is a visitor in Polly~land and it shows...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Apollonia7

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Noone

  16. 4 out of 5

    Iñaki

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ben Marshalsea

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kim To

  19. 5 out of 5

    Manushi

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lori Lundstrom

  21. 4 out of 5

    Duncan Osborne

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dummytree

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erica Medrano

  24. 4 out of 5

    K. Poulsen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Agathe Molvik

  26. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  27. 4 out of 5

    Absurd

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lara

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert Thomas

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gary

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