PJ Harvey Announces I Inside the Old Year Dying
PJ Harvey has released a new song and video, “A Child’s Question, August,” the track arrives with the announcement of her new studio album, I Inside the Old Year Dying. The new album – Harvey’s first since her 2016 LP The Hope Six Demolition Project, will be released on July 7th via Partisan Records. The album is produced by long-time collaborators Flood and John Parish. Today’s song release comes with a video, directed by Steve Gullick.
PJ Harvey is the only musician to have been awarded the UK’s Mercury Music Prize more than once, winning first in 2001 for Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea and again in 2011 for Let England Shake. A poet and visual artist, as well as a musician and songwriter, her work is striking in its originality: vivid, absorbing and distinct. Since the release of The Hope Six Demolition Project, she has contributed compositions for stage and screen; most recently for Sharon Horgan’s acclaimed Bad Sisters mini-series.
I Inside the Old Year Dying’s story goes back six years, to the end of touring around her last album in 2017 and how Harvey felt immediately afterwards. What she keenly felt was that somewhere in the endless cycle of albums and tours, she had lost her connection with music itself, a realization that was troubling beyond words.
This was hardly a time of creative withdrawal: thanks to mentoring by the Scottish poet Don Paterson, she worked on Orlam, the accomplished work of poetry – her second, after 2015’s The Hollow of the Hand – that was published last year and became one of the new album’s key inspirations. There were also the reissues of Harvey’s preceding albums – and, in new editions, their demo versions – that came out between 2020 and 2022. But eventually, two things began to push her in the direction of new songs, music and sounds.
One was the memory of a meeting with the artist and film-maker Steve McQueen, in Chicago, during the Hope Six period. His advice was to remember what she loves about words, images and music and to put away the concept of writing “an album” to focus on and play with these three passions. The other catalyst for a return to music was simple: the sheer act of playing it. Picking up the guitar or sitting down at the piano to play her favourite songs by such artists as Nina Simone or Bob Dylan – reconfirmed her passion for the artform.
Something soon started to cohere. When Harvey began to write new songs, there was a liberating sense of making music for its own sake, rather than the first steps back into the album-tour-album-tour cycle. She drew on the sense of creative freedom she had felt in past musical work on soundtracks, and in the theater. At the same time, her perspective was shifting, away from the big themes of Let England Shake and Hope Six (“looking out, at war, politics, the world”), towards something more intimate and human.
The new songs, Harvey says, “all came out of me in about three weeks”. But that was only the beginning. The key to what would happen next – at Battery Studios, in North West London – lay in a three-way creative bond that now goes back nearly thirty years, between Harvey, her enduring collaborator and creative partner John Parish, and Flood: nominally a producer, though that word does not really do him justice.
I Inside the Old Year Dying
Prayer at the Gate
Seem an I
I Inside the Old Year Dying
A Child’s Question, August
I Inside the Old I Dying
A Child’s Question, July
A Noiseless Noise
Pre-order I Inside the Old Year Dying by PJ Harvey HERE
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