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Music / Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea

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This is love that I'm feeling! Even in the summer, even in the spring. You can never get too much of a wonderful thing!

Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea is the fifth studio album by PJ Harvey, released in 2000. It was a notable New Sound Album for the singer because the sound is more accessible than her earlier records, yet remained true to her Alternative Rock roots. Widely acclaimed as one of her best albums, Stories followed in the footsteps of To Bring You My Love and helped make Harvey an icon in her native England. It also allowed her to break into US markets thanks to its lyrics centered toward New York City, where she lived for about a year before the album's release.

Harvey has stated that the album was a culmination of her musical concerns at the time, a reconciliation of her more Deliberately Monochrome attitudes with melodic sections interpolated throughout the record. Her music was tied to other best-selling female artists of The '90s such as Alanis Morissette and Tori Amos, while she gained a foothold in the Alternative Indie revival during the Turn of the Millennium. Additionally, in the wake of The War on Terror, Harvey's music became more popular as it resonated with New York listeners, who were healing from the devastating terror attacks.


Stories is best remembered for the hit singles "Good Fortune", "A Place Called Home", and "This Is Love".


  1. "Big Exit" (3:51)
  2. "Good Fortune" (3:20)
  3. "A Place Called Home" (3:43)
  4. "One Line" (3:14)
  5. "Beautiful Feeling" (4:00)
  6. "The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore" (4:01)
  7. "This Mess We're In" (3:57)
  8. "You Said Something" (3:19)
  9. "Kamikaze" (2:24)
  10. "This Is Love" (3:48)
  11. "Horses in My Dreams" (5:38)
  12. "We Float" (6:07)

Bonus track in the UK and Japan:

  1. "This Wicked Tongue (3:42)


So I trope my good fortune...

  • Alliterative Title: "The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore".
  • Army of Thieves and Whores/Big Rotten Apple: "The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore" seems to refer to the dark underbelly of New York life:
    The whores hustle and the hustlers whore
    Too many people out of love
    The whores hustler and the hustlers whore
    This city's ripped right to the core
  • Big Applesauce: And, on the other side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, Harvey meant the album as a genuine tribute to New York City.
    • "Good Fortune"
    When we walked through Little Italy
    I saw my reflection come right off your face
    • "You Said Something"
    On a rooftop in Brooklyn, one in the morning
    Watching the lights flash in Manhattan
    I see five bridges, the Empire State Building
    And you said something that I've never forgotten
  • Continuity Nod: "Kamikaze" talks about "his horses coming in", while "Horses In My Dreams" speaks of "horses in my dreams".
  • Crapsack World:
    • "Big Exit"
    I walk on concrete
    I walk on sand
    But I can't find a safe place to stand
    I'm scared, baby, I wanna run
    This world's crazy, gimme the gun!
    • "The Whores Hustle And The Hustlers Whore"
    The whores hustle and the hustlers whore
    Too many people out of love
    The whores hustle and the hustlers whore
    This city's ripped right to the core
  • Crossover: Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs on four tracks.
  • Epic Rocking: "Horses in My Dreams" and "We Float" both break the five-minute mark thanks to their instrumental sections.
  • Face on the Cover: P.J. passing by in Cool Shades.
  • Female Gaze: "This Is Love"
    I can't believe life's so complex
    When I just wanna sit here and watch you undress
  • Girls with Guns: "Big Exit", which may or may not be self-aware about her own perceived sex appeal were she to carry a gun.
  • Let's Duet: Thom Yorke of Radiohead sings along with P.J. Harvey on "This Mess We're In".
  • Likes Older Women: PJ sings about a boy who likes her in "Beautiful Feeling":
    A smile from San Diego
    He is still a boy
    Two ends to every rainbow
    And a train from Mexico
    But he's the best thing
    A beautiful feeling
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "One Line":
    Do you remember the first kiss?
    Stars shooting across the sky
    To come to such a place as this
    You never left my mind
  • Messianic Archetype: Referenced toward the end of "We Float":
    So will we die of shock?
    Die without a trial
    Die on Good Friday
    While holding each other tight
  • New Sound Album: Compared to her earlier albums, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea was Lighter and Softer, but still good enough to keep her Alternative Rock audience drawn in.
  • One-Word Title: "Kamikaze".
  • Outlaw Couple: "Good Fortune"
    And I fantasize of our leaving
    Like some modern-day Gypsy landslide
    Like some modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, on the run again
  • The Power of Love:
    • "This Is Love"
    I wanna' chase you round the table
    I wanna' touch your head
    This is love that I'm feeling
    • "Beautiful Feeling"
    And when I watch you move
    And I can't think straight
    And I am silenced
    And I can't think straight
    It's the best thing, such a beautiful feeling
  • Precision F-Strike: "Kamikaze"
    Where the fuck was I looking when all his horses came in?
  • Record Producer: Rob Ellis and Mick Harvey (no relation to PJ Harvey) produced the record.
  • The Runaway: Both "We Float" and "Kamikaze" seem to feature runaway narrators.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: "A Place Called Home", which features layers of harmonizing that would have been out of place in Harvey's previous, rawer records.
  • "Somewhere" Song: "A Place Called Home"
    One day I know we'll find a place of hope
    Just hold on to me
  • Soprano and Gravel: "This Mess We're In", where P.J. is the soprano and Thom Yorke the gravel.
  • Special Guest: Thom Yorke (Radiohead) performs on this album. He sings and plays keyboards on "One Line" and also provides vocals on "Beautiful Feeling" and "This Mess We're In".
  • Working-Class Hero: PJ establishes herself as one in "The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore":
    Speak to me your song of greed
    Speak to me of your inner charm
    Of how you'll keep me safe from harm
    I don't think so, I don't see
    Speak to me of your inner peace


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