7. PJ Harvey – Dress

Filthy tight, the dress is filthy, I’m falling flat and my arms are empty

This is a wonderful song. I loved it from the first time I heard it. I just read in Wikipedia that this is her debut single, so what a way to start.

The drumbeat in Dress is unexpected; the drummer isn’t playing straight four beats to the bar even though the rest of the band plays that way. This gives the song an alien edge, like Kate Bush’s Sat In Your Lap. This beat does make the song roll along. The bass and guitar build up a platform for PJ’s voice – they’re not too flashy or intrusive, but complementary. At the end of the song the guitar falls in sync with the odd drum beat.

PJ’s voice is just amazing. As the song tumbles along, the panic in her voice builds up, rising in pitch and moving into falsetto territory. It’s a frantic trip.



The video is so dull I am yet to watch to the end. I give up about sixty seconds in. It is saying something that I can’t stand the video, I don’t know the lyrics, I’m not a great PJ fan yet still this song is number seven.



Previous: 8. Interpol – Mammoth


3 Responses to “7. PJ Harvey – Dress”

  1. 1 Kevin
    August 17, 2009 at 23:53

    What about Sheela-Na-Gig for opening lines?
    Even though it lacks the street cred of “their first album was the best” I really like Stories from the City.

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