Polly Jean Harvey has reactivated her nom de plume PJ Harvey for her first new album in seven years, I Inside the Old Year Dying. It is her first album with Partisan Records after spending 30 years with Island. The hopeful, swaying first single, “A Child’s Question, August,” is out now.
With the help of longtime collaborators John Parish and Flood, Harvey broke free from the creatively draining album/tour/album cycle while making I Inside the Old Year Dying (July 7). This time, she found inspiration at her own pace, from simply playing covers of Bob Dylan and Nina Simone songs to herself or reconnecting with her love of words and images.
Once in the studio, Harvey, Parish, and Flood emphasized live takes, resulting in what Harvey calls music offering “a resting space, a solace, a comfort, a balm – which feels timely for the times we’re in.”
“I think the album is about searching, looking — the intensity of first love, and seeking meaning,” she continues. “Not that there has to be a message, but the feeling I get from the record is one of love – it’s tinged with sadness and loss, but it’s loving. I think that’s what makes it feel so welcoming: so open.”
Although Harvey has devoted recent years to creative pursuits such as the full-length narrative poem Oriam in 2021, she has continued to make music, including a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire” for the Apple TV+ series Bad Sisters. Her influential back catalog was also reissued for the digital age, including a 59-track collection titled B-Sides, Demos, and Rarities.
Here is the track list for 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