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Dry is the 1992 debut album by PJ Harvey. It is widely received positive acclaim among critics and quickly became a cult hit in the Alternative Rock circuit, thanks to hit singles like "Dress" and "Sheela-Na-Gig".

Kurt Cobain placed it at #16 in his personal list of his 50 favorite albums of all time.

Tracklist:

  1. "Oh My Lover" (3:57)
  2. "O Stella" (2:36)
  3. "Dress" (3:16)
  4. "Victory" (3:16)
  5. "Happy and Bleeding" (4:50)
  6. "Sheela-Na-Gig" (3:11)
  7. "Hair" (3:45)
  8. "Joe" (2:33)
  9. "Plants and Rags" (4:09)
  10. "Fountain" (3:52)
  11. "Water" (4:32)


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Gonna take my tropes to anyone who cares:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    Look at these my ruby-red ruby lips
  • As the Good Book Says...:
    • "Heaven" refers to Adam and Eve.
    She burst, dropped off
    Picked the fruit and realize I'm naked too
    So cover my body
    • "Victory"
    Angel at my table, God in my car
    • "Water"
    Walking on water for years
    Samson the strength that's in your arms
    Oh, to be your stunning bride
    Samson, your hair glistening
    (...) He said: "Wait, Delilah, my babe
    "You lied in my face, you cut off my hair, you lied in my bed
    • "O Stella" namedrops "Stella Maris", which is Latin for "Star of the Sea" and refers to the Virgin Mary.
    O stella maris, you're my star
  • Break-Up Song: "Sheela-na-Gig"
    Better wash that man right out of my hair
    Just like the first time, said you didn't care
    Gonna take my hips to a man who cares
  • But Now I Must Go: Which may be a Break Up Song, but the lyrics are too vague for that.
    He's my big man
    Stays with me, some forty days
    No words
    Then goes away
    I cry again
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The music video for "Dress" was so low-budget that it had to be shot in black-and-white and had to repeat several scenes and play them backwards.
  • Dirty Old Woman: The "Sheela-Na-Gig" statues referred to in the song.
  • Advertisement:
  • Face on the Cover: An extreme close-up of P.J.'s lips and chin.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • The album title sounds innocent, but as P.J. explained herself in an interview with "Puncture" magazine:
    (...) I called the album "Dry" because it's a simple, minimal word, and more powerful because of it. It's a word of needing something else, and a lot of songs are about that. And I think it's funny to sing about dry vaginas.
    • "Sheela-na-Gig" refers to a Celtic stone carving, originally from Irish origin, of a female crouching down, holding her vagina open and laughing insanely. Most listeners and radio deejays probably had no clue what she was referring too. Harvey herself commented:
    What I like about it is that she's laughing and ripping herself apart. Humour and horrificness.
  • Hemo Erotic: "Happy And Bleeding"
    I'm happy and bleeding for you
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "Hair" and "Plants And Rags".
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • "Dress", a tongue-in-cheek song about dressing up to go out.
    The dress is filthy
    And my arms are empty
    Clear the way, better get it out of this room
    A fallen woman in dancing costume
    • "Plants & Rags" was inspired by a photography book with a double-page spread showing extreme images on each page, like light and dark.
  • Naked People Are Funny: "Sheela-na-Gig"
    Sheela-na-Gig, Sheela-na-Gig
    You exhibitionist!
  • One-Man Song: "Joe".
  • One-Woman Song: "O Stella"
  • One-Word Title: "Dry". The tracks "Dress", "Victory", "Hair", "Fountain" and "Water".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Joe" is about P.J.'s then partner, but they didn't stay together.
    Joe, ain't you my buddy thee?
    Stay with me, when I fall and die
    Always thought you'd come rushing in
    To clear the shit out of my eye
  • Record Producer: Mark Vernon, Rob Ellis and P.J. Harvey.
  • Reference Overdosed: "Sheela-Na-Gig" refers to a specific erotic Celtic statue, but the explanation behind the line "put money in your idle hole" is really obscure. It refers to a theory that the language of the medieval witch-cult was Basque and the term "sheela-na-gig" actually derives from the Basque "Chilo-nagi" ("the idle hole").
  • Refrain from Assuming: P.J. Harvey's song "Dry" ("you leave me dry") is not from this album, but the follow-up: Rid of Me.
  • Say My Name: "Oh My Lover"
    Oh my lover, why don't you just say my name and all of it is alright!
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: "Victory" and "Sheela-Na-Gig" have P.J. doing this.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Sheela-na-gig" refers to breasts as "dirty pillows", a confirmed reference to Carrie, where the prudent Christian fundamentalist mother also uses this oud-dated term to describe that particular part of female anatomy. The line "gonna wash that man right outta my hair" is a line from South Pacific (1958).
  • Slut-Shaming: "Sheela-na-Gig" is about being slut-shamed by a would-be suitor.
  • Stock Rhymes: "Sheela-na-Gig" has the word "ruby-red lips" rhyme with "hips".
  • Their First Time: "Happy And Bleeding" strongly implies a woman losing her virginity.
    I'm happy and I'm bleeding for you
  • Uncommon Time: "Water" is effectively a march in 5/4.
  • Unrequited Love: The protagonist in "Oh My Lover" goes to extreme lengths to make the man of her desire love her:
    You can love her, you can love me at the same time

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