For my money, PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love is the album featuring a series of songs that expresses how I feel when I have fallen hard in my life for various people. No one else gets quite to it like she does. Full of passion, desire, occasional anger and pain. She gets the WANT better than anyone. Take, for instance, Long Snake Moan.

Part of it is that PJ looks so tortured, too. This is a woman who KNOWS. Long Snake Moan is so great, so overt, not even half-way suggestive:

Dunk you under deep salt water
Bring me lover
All your power 
I’ll be no hell
Out of your spell
Over under die of pleasureHear my dreaming
You’ll be drowning
Hell’s no God above
All drunk on my love
You ought to hear my long snake moan
You ought to see me from my throne Dunk you under deep salt water
In my dreaming
You’ll be drowning
Raise me up Lord
Call me Lazarus
Hey lord help me
Make me my fail

I don’t think Peej has ever matched the studio version of Long Snake Moan – the live versions are great but you have to listen to the studio version to really feel what it is.

She has so many great love songs on To Bring You My Love, including the title track. But this one is the one that really gets me every time. The Dancer.

There is no better breakup song that I’ve ever heard. Sure, there are songs filled with anger and rage and bitterness. But THIS is about lost love, agonizing loss of a kind you can’t get back. The kind that keeps you up at night. The Dancer is the one that makes me certain PJ knows. She knows what it feels like to experience that kind of heartbreak. Here are the lyrics:

He came riding fast, like a phoenix out of fire-flames.
He came dressed in black, with a cross bearing my name.
He came bathed in light and splendour and glory.
I can’t believe what the Lord has finally sent me.

He said, Dance for me, fanciulla gentile.
He said, Laugh a-while, I can make your heart feel.
He said, Fly with me, touch the face of the true god,
and made me cry with joy at the depth of my love,

because I’ve prayed days, I’ve prayed nights
for the lord just to send me home some sign –
I’ve looked long, I’ve looked far,
to bring peace to my black and empty heart.

And my love will stay until the river bed runs dry,
and my love lasts as long as the sun shines in blue sky,
and I love him longer as each damn day goes,
but the man is gone, and heaven only knows,

I’ve cried days, I’ve cried nights
for the lord just to send me home some sign.
Is he near? Is he far? –
bring peace to my black and empty heart.
So long day, so long night,
oh lord, be near me tonight.
Is he near? Is he far? –
bring peace to my black and empty heart.

Finally, PJ gets it so right with Dress – if you don’t know how awesome she is you just have to watch this video. The song is about wearing a dress that will get the necessary attention. It’s just so utterly brilliant.

“Must be a way I can dress to please him. Swing and sway and everything will be all right.” I know, Peeje. I KNOW.