PJ Harvey – “Dear Darkness” – White Chalk – Demos

PJ Harvey – “Dear Darkness” – White Chalk – Demos

PJ Harvey has spent the pandemic releasing the Demos of her past albums, all of them being an absolute miracle and stunning insight to her fertile imagination.  This month is the demos of White Chalk, already one the bleakest and most beautiful albums ever.  White Chalk is Harvey’s truly Victorian Gothic album, dealing with such topics as murder, madness, abortion, miscarriage, suicide, and other wonderful gems, all in a stripped down form.  Her demo of “Dear Darkness” strips the song down to her trembling voice and her piano, highlighting the following lyrics:

Dear darkness, dear darkness
Won’t you cover, cover me again
Dear darkness, dear
I’ve been your friend for many years
Won’t you do this for me, dearest darkness
And cover me from the sun
And though the words tightening
The words are tightening around my throat and, and
Around the throat of the one I love
Tightening, tightening, tightening
Around the throat of the one I love
Tightening, tightening, tightening
Dear darkness, dear darkness
Now it’s your time to look after us
‘Cause we kept your clothes, we kept your business
When everyone else was having good luck
So now it’s your time, time to pay
To pay me and the one I love
With the worldly goods you stashed away
With all the things you took from us
The grimness of the lyrics match the seeming simplicity of the music.  In “Dear Darkness”, Harvey has written the gothic novel the Bronte sisters were never quite able to pull off (side note:  I love the Bronte sisters).  Listen to this song in the dark, look into the darkness of your Victorian soul (we all are Victorians deep down).

 

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