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Baker's Dozen

A Woman, A Man: John Parish's Favourite PJ Harvey Recordings
Jennifer Lucy Allan , February 3rd, 2021 08:42

As PJ Harvey continues a major series of vinyl reissues of her incredible discography, her long-time collaborator and friend John Parish guides Jennifer Lucy Allan through his favourite 13 of her recordings


‘Man-size’ (From Rid Of Me)
Polly, perfectly reasonably, hates to be pigeon-holed, but it’s obvious why she was adopted as a feminist icon at this time. Several songs from Dry, and many of the songs on Rid Of Me articulated feminist concerns and frustrations in a witty and combative way – ‘Man-Size’ being a perfect example. The lyric is great, because it's funny and it's very serious, it's addressing very serious issues but in a really non-didactic way. Lots of people could relate to it. It’s a great rock song. It's very powerful and very odd (the timing on it is really strange) but you don't know it’s strange until you try and play it! There's nothing I dislike more than complicated music that sounds complicated, where everyone's thinking ‘oh that must be really hard to play, aren't they great musicians’. I don’t take joy or satisfaction from that, but I do from when you hear something that seems straightforward and flows, but you can take it apart to find a really unusual structure.