Manifestation of Angst and Paroxysm in PJ Harvey’s Music

What will otherwise be immoral and unethical for others to openly express one’s feelings of anger, disappointment, dejection, carnal desires, angst, etc, is home ground for PJ Harvey. Her music has all of these expressed very explicitly that sometimes is very scandalizing. Nevertheless, the expressions are crafted so beautifully and honestly that there is a sweet aura of melancholy, which soothes the human emotions.

Her lyrics are the epitome of breaking the conventional ties of ‘Repression’, which are the inevitable shadows of the human world. Repression stands as the cruel villain many times in life thereby, hindering the freedom of humans. So long as there is the world, there definitely will be a major role played by repression, which causes more pain than actually safeguarding the humans and their society. Therefore, repression subtly hides the real animalistic world present in the human world and only projects the civilized world, which is nothing but only a façade.

The animal instincts preset in every human is sobered down and manipulated cruelly by the umpteen roles taken by repression. PJ Harvey breaks through from repression and explicitly voices her opinions by adapting a very fiendish expression of presenting her music to the world. Her lyrics do not sound happy or lovely, which are au fait with the conventional ears. They are rather sadistic, scary and explicit to the highest degree that suits the fiendish ears.

A couplet from the title song of the album “Rid of me” reads Lick my legs I am on fire/ Lick my legs of desire. This is just another song on the pain of unrequited love. However, when closely analysing the couplet, the presence of sadistic behaviour possibly resulted by disappointment or more precisely out of jilted love is conspicuously seen especially in the first line. The burning desire that remains unfulfilled and that which can only be completed by the ex-lover is beautifully portrayed in the second line.

Such is the lyrics penned by PJ Harvey, which are not only beautiful but scathing but abrasive as well. They show the deftness of handling the awkward human emotions unconventionally. Her music may sound unsavoury, outlandish and outré to those who believe in conformity and conventional ties. However, those music lovers who understand the aura of real human emotions find it beautiful and soothing. Be it torrid romance, angst or paroxysm, PJ Harvey tames them all with her acerbic wit.


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