Let England Shake is the eighth studio album by English singer-songwriter and musician PJ Harvey, released on 14 February 2011 by Island Records. Production began around the time of White Chalk's release in 2007, though it is a departure from the piano-driven introspection of that album. Let England Shake was written over a two-and-a-half year period, and recorded in five weeks at a church in Dorset during April and May 2010.
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PJ Harvey followed her ghostly collection of ballads, White Chalk, with Let England Shake, a set of songs strikingly different from what came before it except in its Englishness. White Chalk's haunted piano ballads seemed to emanate from an isolated manse on a moor, but here Harvey chronicles her relationship with her homeland through songs revolving around war. Throughout the album, she subverts the concept of the anthem - a love song to one’s country - exploring the forces that shape nations and people.
Let England Shake Lyrics: The west's asleep, let England shake, Weighted down with silent dead, I fear our blood won't rise again, Won't rise again, England's dancing days are done, Another day, Bobby. The west's asleep, let England shake Weighted down with silent dead I fear our blood won't rise again Won't rise again. England's dancing days are done Another day, Bobby, for you to come Home and tell me indifference Is won, won, won. Smile, smile Bobby, with your lovely mouth Pack up your troubles and let's head out To the fountain of death and splash about Swim back, forth, back, back, laugh out loud.
PJ Harvey’s new album was recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset, on a cliff-top overlooking the sea. It was created with a cast of musicians including such long-standing allies as Flood, John Parish, and Mick Harvey. It is the eighth PJ Harvey album, following 2007’s acclaimed White Chalk, and the Harvey/Parish collaboration A Woman A Man Walked By. Such are the bare facts. But what is remarkable about Let England Shake is bound up with its music, its abiding atmosphere – and in particular, its words. If Harvey’s past work might seem to draw on direct emotional experience, this new album is rather different. Its songs centre on both her home country, and events further afield in which it has embroiled itself. The lyrics return, time and again, to the matter of war, the fate of the people who must do the fighting, and events separated by whole ages, from Afghanistan to Gallipoli.
On Let England Shake, Harvey is not often upfront or forceful; her lyrics, though, are as disturbing as ever. Here, she paints vivid portraits of war, and her sharp focus on the up-close, hand-to-hand devastation of World War I- depicting "soldiers falling like lumps of meat"- provides a fitting setting for today's battlegrounds
Lyrics to "Let England Shake" song by PJ Harvey: The West's asleep. Let England shake, weighted down with silent dead . I fear our blood won't rise again. England's dancing days are done. Another day, Bobby, for you to come home & tell me indifference won. Smile, smile Bobby, with your lovely mouth. Pack up your troubles, let's head out to the fountain of death & splash about, swim back and forth & laugh out loud, until the day is ending, & the birds are silent in the branches, & the insects are courting in the bushes, & by the shores of lovely lakes heavy stones are falling.
PJ Harvey's new album finds her at something of a creative peak. Plus: it's got tunes. It says something that Let England Shake, the album she chose to announce on the Andrew Marr Show last April – an opaque exploration of Englishness delivered in a high, keening voice, that contains not one, not two, but three harrowing songs that explicitly reference the 1915 Gallipoli campaign and a further handful that seem more generally informed by the carnage of the first.