Song Of The Week: PJ Harvey—“The Wheel”

By Ayla Shiblaq

Adele may have made us miss her, but PJ Harvey is making us yearn for her. Yearning no longer, PJ Harvey is back after four years of waiting since her last album Let England Shake with The Hope Six Demolition Project. Following what she cites as a “unique artistic journey” to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C we see yet another politically charged record by PJ Harvey, one with gruelling anticipation to move its listener. Though not giving away too many hints, “The Wheel” does tease an aggressive take on today’s society.

The song begins with an abnormally long build up into the lyrical beginning, one that starts with such energy reminiscent of an ending rather than a beginning. Though aspects of the arrangement are curiously placed, the instrumentality of the piece does not disappoint. Harvey utilizes saxophone to add intricacies to the melody much reminiscent of Let England Shake. The build-up itself is Harvey’s singing along with the chanting adds vigour to the story – one that makes the tale, which is seemingly basic (a woman is listening to the wind blow) seem like the climax.

Though, objectively, the song contained many interesting elements, I wasn’t too blown away by “The Wheel”. Whether it’s me not giving myself enough time to listen to it, or the fact I’m listening to the single outside the context of the album that has not yet been released, I can’t bring myself to play this on repeat. However, much like Harvey’s previous works, The Hope Six Demolition Project cannot be judged solely by its singles and this piece of the puzzle is just enough to leave me curious.


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