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PJ Harvey yearns for change on new song ‘I Inside the Old I Dying’

Song will appear on her upcoming album, 'I Inside the Old Year Dying'

By Kory Grow

PJ Harvey (Picture: Steve Gullick)

A sense of yearning pervades PJ Harvey’s latest single, ‘I Inside the Old I Dying’, which will appear on her upcoming I Inside the Old Year Dying album, out July 7. She describes flora and fauna as “all waiting for His kingdom,” referencing someone named Wyman as she seems to become one with nature. “Slip from my childhood skin,” she sings before slipping into her native Dorset dialect, “I zing through the forest/I hover in the holway/and laugh into the leaves.” (Last year, Harvey released the book Orlam, a narrative poem written in Dorset; Wyman-Elvis was an ominous character in the book.)

In a statement, Harvey explained how she and her longtime collaborators John Parish and Flood figured out the song, which also features someone named Cecil on keyboards and playing field recordings and backing vocals by Colin Morgan. “This delicate and beautiful song eluded us until the very last day in the studio,” Harvey said. “Over the previous five weeks we had tried so many times to capture it and failed, and/but then John reinvented the feel of the guitar pattern. As he was demonstrating it in the control room, Flood handed me a microphone and pressed record whilst I sat next to John trying to work out how to sing to it. The result somehow captures the ethereal and melancholic longing I was looking for.”

“In the lyric, everyone is waiting for the savior to reappear — everyone and everything anticipates the arrival of this figure of love and transformation,” she continued. “There is a sense of sexual longing and awakening and of moving from one realm into another — from child to adult, from life to death and the eternal.”

Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña made the song’s video, which shows a man and his dog on a journey — camping, urinating, and appreciating a confluence of nature and domestic life. “We envisioned the video as a short story about love, death, and resurrection,” the filmmakers said in a joint statement. “We imagined that the video can be seen as a little fairy tale and also as an intimate ritual. We wanted to keep the animation in a state of scenic and material rawness, as if the elements we see are not characters or props, but artifacts and talismans that are part of a ceremony.”

Harvey has also announced a run of U.K. and European dates, detailed on her website, that will begin this fall. She previously released the track ‘A Child’s Question, August‘ off the album.

From Rolling Stone UK.