- Personnel: P.J. Harvey (vocals, guitar, E-bow, piano, keyboards, bass, djembe, maracas); Thom York (vocals, keyboards); Mick Harvey (accordion, harmonium, organ, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion, background vocals); Rob Ellis (acoustic & electric pianos, harpsichord, keyboards, synthesizer, drums, bells, tambourine, background vocals).
- Producers: PJ Harvey, Rob Ellis, Mick Harvey.
- STORIES FROM THE CITY, STORIES FROM THE SEA was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. "This Is Love" was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
- Polly Harvey in a mellow mood? Actually, sort of. While her trademark feminist angst is still largely in place here, by and large the music is less confrontational than in days of yore. Several of the tracks--"Good Fortune," "A Place Called Home," "One Line"--verge on pop; in fact, they could pass for slightly more abstract Pretenders songs ("You Said Something" really does sound like Chrissie Hynde singing a mutant country tune).
- Given its title, it's not much of a surprise that "The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore," manages to work up a convincingly atonal guitar racket, but otherwise the only song that really captures Harvey's trademark Captain Beefheart-like fury is (again, unsurprisingly, given its title) "Kamikaze." Other highlights include "Big Evil," which centers around a biting neo-psychedelic riff (sort of "Paperback Writer" gone dissonant), the hypnotically pretty "This Mess We're In," a sort of early Cure pastiche done as a duet with Radiohead's Thom Yorke, and the concluding "We Float," a piano-driven ode to making peace with your failures that Harvey sings with a sweetness that's almost inspirational.
Rolling Stone (10/31/02, p.135) - Ranked #8 in Rolling Stone's "Women In Rock: The 50 Essential Albums" - "...With STORIES, Harvey moved from punk to celestial..."
Rolling Stone (1/4/01, pp.106,110) - Ranked #6 in Rolling Stone's "Top 10 Albums of 2000" - "...Her most optimistic and straightforward album yet....Her magnificent diva-with-a-grudge voice testifies, swoons, purrs and whispers..."
Spin (1/01, p.73) - Ranked #7 in Spin's "Top 20 Albums of the Year ".
Spin (12/00, pp.215-8) - 8 out of 10 - "...Her return to the down'n'dirty....ending up in the heaven of great records..."
Entertainment Weekly (11/3/00, p.82) - "...High-voltage love songs....the rugged melodies...sink their teeth in and don;t let go. A bracing reminder of the days when female musicians reached for guitars..." - Rating: A-
Q (1/01, p.92) - Included in Q's "50 Best Albums of 2000".
Q (12/00, p.133) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...The dominant sound is that of a 3-piece garage band, fused with enough production panache to prove that Harvey remains an admirably intelligent auteur..."
Alternative Press (11/00, p.124) - 5 out of 5 - "...A mature, intelligent album shining gracefully with passion. It is unquestionably one of the best releases of the year."
The Wire (12/00, p.49) - "...[This] has the pulse and momentum that recalls [her] earliest albums. STORIES mostly derives its greatest strength from an authority of its own making. It's the best way forward."
CMJ (1/08/01, p.16) - Included in CMJ's "Best of the Year" for 2000.
CMJ (10/23/00, p.4) - "...Undoubtedly New York....spare, contemplative and as explosive as anything she's done in years..."
Melody Maker (10/24/00, p.59) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Pleasant. Inoffensive. 'The Pretenders'....A comforting swell of an album..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.65) - Ranked #25 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "[T]he skyscraping spirit of Harvey's commercial blockbuster was distilled entirely from the Big Apple."
Mojo (Publisher) (11/00, p.112) - "...Recallign a young Patti Smith...[its] an artist taking a supremely confident step back from the Zeitgeist..."
NME (Magazine) (12/30/00, p.77) - Rated #3 in NME's "Top 50 Albums Of The Year".
NME (Magazine) (10/21/00, p.42) - 9 out of 10 - "...A traditional New York record, both in texture and imagery....[Her] best album since 1991's DRY, a return to the feral intensity of that remarkable debut..."