"Down By the Water". No one's quite sure what this song is about. Murder, rape, child abuse, infanticide, sexual abuse, jealousy, shame, incest, some horrible combination of any of those: the theories are out there, but what everyone can agree on is that this is an extremely dark song on an extremely dark album. What makes it even worse is that this track was actually used as a radio single.
Hearing Polly Jean belt out the titular lyrics of "Long Snake Moan".
Hell, just the intro...
*a few seconds of silence*
Polly Jean: M-hmmm...?
*wall of pounding guitars*
"Working For the Man" is also exceptionally creepy, particularly because PJ's voice is recorded in such a way that it sounds like she's whispering in your ear. The lyrics could be interpreted as being from the perspective of a man who picks up prostitutes in his car and murders them, but believes he is doing the work of God.
Dance Hall At Louse Point
"Taut" from Dance Hall at Louse Point is similarly vague and terrifying. There's clearly something horrific going on, but the lyrics barely rise above a frantic whisper except for Harvey wailing "Jesus save me!"
"Catherine" is perhaps one of the creepiest songs Harvey has recorded and that is saying a lot. Her voice in the entire song never rises above a whisper as she murmurs a prayer for the death and damnation of the titular women.
While not an overtly creepy song, some of the theories surrounding "A Perfect Day Elise" give cause to mention it here. Just what exactly goes on in Room 509?
This song was inspired by the J. D. Salinger story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," which is the first of Salinger's stories about a member of the Glass family, Seymour. In the story, Seymour is on vacation with his wife in Florida. While his wife stays in the hotel room and talks on the phone to her mother about his strange behavior, Seymour is having a day at the beach. Afterwards, he comes into the hotel room where his wife is sleeping and shoots himself.
"Electric Light" certainly qualifies. The entire song consists of a low, rumbling organ repeating the same riff over and over while a quiet drum machine can be heard in the background. Harvey's voice is extremely creepy, mumbling and whispering about how beautiful some girl looks under electric light, saying that it "tears her heart out" to see. It's never explicitly stated who this girl is or what happens to her, but that just makes it all the more unsettling.
The entire album. Some standout songs include "The Piano", "Grow Grow Grow", and "When Under Ether".
A lot of the theories surrounding "When Under Ether" are pretty interesting. Many people interpret it to be about abortion, although PJ denies this. It could also be about being in a drug-induced haze.
"To Talk to You" is also pretty depressing, as it's a song about PJ mourning the loss of her grandmother. At one point in the song, she even states she wishes she could be with her under the earth.
A Woman A Man Walked By
"Pig Will Not"
Let England Shake
Most of the tracks on Let England Shake, often combined with being Tearjerkers and with a sizeable dose of War Is Hell. Highlights include severed limbs strewn in trees, deformed children, fleeing civilians drowning in sewage and a soldier being haunted by the voice of a dying comrade crying out for help.
Louis ran forward from the line, I never saw him again Later in the dark, I thought I heard Louis' voice Calling for his mother, then me But I couldn't get to him He's still up on that hill, 20 years on that hill Nothing more than a pile of bones, but I think of him still