PJ Harvey's tenth studio album, Let England Shake
, finds her working through her complicated feelings about her home country of England (she was born in the town of Bridport
in 1969). The first track on the album, "The Last Living Rose," is no different.
Harvey starts the song by complaining about Europeans and then yearning to be taken back to the "beautiful England" of yore. She then details some decidedly non-beautiful details about the country, from the "damp filthiness of ages" to "stinking alleys" and "the music of drunken beatings."
It's easy to read Harvey's observations as political statements, and many rushed to do so. Let England Shake
did pretty well sales-wise, but it generated even more buzz among critics and hardcore music nerds - the kind of people who like to analyze and politicize. Many interpreted the song (and the album) as a statement against war and England's colonial history. In an interview with her hometown newspaper The Bridport News
, Harvey made clear that that wasn't actually the case.
"Because I don't feel qualified to speak from a political or journalistic point of view," Harvey said, "I just haven't got that information, unless it was all I did and all I studied, I couldn't write like that, I could only write about the things I do feel."