There is a strange, human satisfaction in writing a list. There’s something about sifting through the chaos of myriad pieces of distraction to put pen to paper and set some sense of order in stone. Be it a ‘To Do’ list or a list of top 10 crisps, list writing is an art that finds the line of best fit through the mind of a scatter-brain and seems a bit like pornography to the obsessive compulsive. Make no mistake, putting pieces of life into a ranked order is one of the most soothing acts known to man – ultimately pointless, but therapeutic nonetheless.
First up, the top five collaborations by the lovely Polly Jean Harvey. PJ Harvey is the archetypal Rock n’ Roll femme fatal. From dark and brooding blues and fiery punk to tender acoustic lullabies and heavenly, melodic ballads, Harvey has covereda continent of territory with style and spirit, with no compromise.
Her sixth album, ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’ released in 2000, is often cited as one of the best records of the last decade, perhaps of all time. After setting the scene alight in the early nineties during the alternative rock explosion, she went on to become known as one of the most essential and individual artists of our time. Her talent knows no bounds, nor does her influence. Needless to say, she’s picked up a few famous fans along the way. Here is ultimate top 5 of her most impressive collaborations:
1. ‘This Mess We’re In’ (featuring Thom Yorke)
In 2000, two of the most influential musical minds of a generation got together, and the result was nothing short of astonishing. The Radiohead frontman’s tender howling lends itself perfectly to Harvey’s unearthly whispering and drawling guitsar. “I don’t think we will meet again,” laments Yorke. Shame.
2. Black Hearted Love (With John Parish)
In 2009, Harvey and Parish collaborated to create an album of smouldering and frivolous, demon-hearted fun. Parish creates the perfect backdrop of hell-ish animalistic distortion and organ-soaked acoustic melody, with Harvey in front crying like a beast unleashed. This is the brilliant sound of two wild minds set free.
3. Crawl Home (with Josh Homme + Desert Sessions)
Since 1997, Queens Of The Stone Age’s ‘ginger Elvis’ Josh Homme has invited a bredth of talent to his ranch in Joshua Tree to record ten volumes of the ‘Desert Sessions’ collaborations. Light hearted and free-spirited, the sessions usually bare the fruit of psychedelic, genre-less jams, but when Homme married his trademark stoner-rock guitar-riffery with PJ Harvey’s deviant, sleaze-rock vocals it created the perfect soundtrack to an endless plane of scorched earth.
4. Henry Lee (with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds)
With a shared love of exploring religion, sex, death, love, and violence through music, and a knack of penning a timless fable, it came as no surprise when Harvey hooked up with Antipodean demi-god Nick Cave for this haunting and dark yet charmning ditty.
5. Satisfaction (with Björk)
The Brit Awards have seen some legendary and joyful collaborations in its time. Recent years we’ve seen Rihanna perform with The Klaxons and Florence and The Machine with Dizzee Rascal, but back in 1994, pop fans were left horrified by two of music’s most insane eccentrics delivering this sparse and minimalist rendition of a Rolling Stones classic. Awesome.
By Andrew Trendell
Tags: Bad Seeds, Björk, Collaborations, crawl home, Desert Sessions, dizee rascal, Duets, florence and the machine, google, henry lee, John Parrish, Josh Homme, klaxons, nick cave, PJ Harvey, queens of the stone age, Radiohead, rihanna, rolling stones, satisfaction, Stories from the city stories from the sea, this mess we're in, Thom Yorke, video