Congratulations to PJ Harvey, who tonight won the 2011 Something Something Mercury Award, the most important music award in the UK. It’s the second time she’s been the winner; first time round, in 2001, announced on that fateful day, for an album that was a love letter to New York. This time, she’s won for an album that distills the last ten years of war, putting them in historical context of England’s role in previous wars (mostly The Great War).
And you have to say, she’s probably the most worthy winner (along with Elbow) ever seen. Once I finally got round to listening to it, I realised that this was something special. Sounding unlike anything she’d made before, yet distinctly her own sound, this was a record that dragged you into her world, with all resistance rendered useless. Sometimes making you laugh out loud (“What if I take my problem to the United Nations?”), sometimes wince in sympathetic pain (“I’ve seen and done things I want to forget”), you were left in no doubt that this was a very special record from a very special artist.
Whilst the other records were about love and losing it, being young, getting old, all that usual stuff, there was nothing that could touch this record, lyrically or musically. Whilst I rather like the King Creosote/John Hopkins and Elbow records (James Blake? You’re having a laugh), Let England Shake was so far out in front that any other winner would have had to go up to the podium and just go “You’ve made a mistake” (much like Arctic Monkeys charmingly did – “Someone call the police, Richard Hawley’s just been robbed”).
If you don’t have it already, buy it. Buy it now. GO!