PJ Harvey's Rid of Me: A Story
'Songs are there for the people, to be used by people, in any way they want to use them.' (Polly Jean Harvey, 1993) This book takes Polly Jean at her word. Kate Schatz puts together a collection of stories that is weird, dark, and seductive in its portrayals of women, kidnapping, love, sex, isolation and power. Each story begins and ends with the first and last line of each song, and many of the remaining song lyrics will appear throughout each piece. Rid of Me lends itself easily and readily to a literary interpretation. Musically, apt comparisons have been made to everything from Beefheart and Patti Smith to vintage Delta Blues and Celtic punk. But lyrically and emotionally, Rid of Me deserves other comparisons: there is the gothic horror of Shirley Jackson and Poe, the confessional pain of Plath, the carnality of NiN, and the sardonic wit of Dorothy Parker. Harvey employs specific literary devices: repetition and allusion as well as recurring tropes, themes and images (size/measurements, bleeding, desire, body parts, skin) and a penchant for myth and archetypes (fire, hair, hands, Mary, the moon, queens, kings). Schatz does the same.
The 33 1/3 series is acclaimed for experimenting with different ways of writing about music. This book will bolster that reputation further.