Tonight is gym night followed by 60 minutes of yoga while the girls do their Aquafit class. I’m opting for the yoga instead of the Aquafit because, well, we all remember how that turned out last time (click HERE). Of course, prior to any of that “relaxing” bendy-twisty, I have to endure 60 minutes of the jumping and skipping plyometrics which totally suck. But I’m already beginning to notice the performance difference with my running/cycling so I’m going to suck it up and get ‘er done. Tonight then I’m digging deep into my “tough guy” albums to keep me inspired and properly motivated in completing this evening’s routine, the ‘To Bring You My Love‘ album by PJ Harvey.
Now, first, let me say to all you naysayers out there about labeling a PJ Harvey album as a “tough guy” album. It is. It just fucking is. This album has more kick ass than a barn full of burros.
In fact, it’s probably one of the best He-man albums I’ve ever listened to and I’m surprised that I only thought about it recently to put on and listen to at the gym
Anyway, ‘To Bring You My Love’ is the 3rd studio album by the English alternative rock empress. It was released by Island Records back in 1995 and produced by Flood, best known for his other work with U2, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails. My girlfriend at the time loved it and, therefore, so did I. I mean, really, as long as she was letting touch her jubblies I probably would have professed to loving Barry Manilow but, hey, since then I have really grown to appreciate this album as it deserved to be. In fact, it’s easily among my Desert Island albums.
What can I say? She was smarter than me. I just didn’t know it at the time.
The album was recorded after the break-up of the PJ Harvey trio so it stands as her first proper solo album; heavily influenced by American blues music. In back with Flood at the helm, it sounds like some kind of sonic alien blues from the outer reaches of the solar system.
Every song is fucking excellent. Relying heavily on religious metaphors and imagery borrowed from the blues, Harvey has written a set of songs that are lyrically reminiscent of Nick Cave’s and Tom Waits‘ literary excursions into the gothic American heartland. Since she was a product of post-punk, she’s nowhere near as literally bluesy as Cave or Waits, preferring to embellish her songs with shards of avant guitar, eerie keyboards, and a dense, detailed production. It’s a far cry from the primitive guitars of her first two albums, but Harvey pulls it off with style, since her songwriting is tighter and more melodic than before; the killer lead in to the opening title track ‘To Bring You My Love‘, the menacing ‘Down by the Water‘, the psycho stomp of ‘Meet Ze Monsta‘, the stately ‘C’Mon Billy‘, the amazing sonic wobble of ‘Working for the Man‘, and the wailing ‘Long Snake Moan‘ which has been a regular in many of my “tough guy” running playlists.
Seriously, it doesn’t really matter what sequence you put the songs in either as that would inevitably just be like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic; it doesn’t matter where you sit you’re still going to drown…albeit in sweat.
Like I said: every song fucking rocks!
Put ’em altogether though and what you have is the perfect foundation for the perfect motivated plyometric ass-kicking that ultimately left me feeling like an accordion on the last day of Octoberfest.
Killer album; killer workout.