Songs I Wish Everyone Knew: “Horses In My Dreams” by PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey is far and away one of the greatest artists in the history alternative music. Emerging in the early 90s with a raw, bluesy rock sound, Polly Jean immediately began evolving. Each of her monumental album she releases bares a stark contrast to its predecessor, even down to her vocal delivery, and while I would like to say, “but everything still maintains that distinct ‘x factor’ that lets us know it’s PJ,” I can’t. The truth is, when she has an idea, she carries it out as far as it could go and then completely moves on to something new. Her range is so vast that the only consistency in her music is its unparalleled high quality. Sometimes her output can be polarizing, but it’s amazing how time’s reflective nature has allowed a majority the nay-sayers to upgrade their ratings to “under-appreciated.” There’s not a singular PJ Harvey song that could ever exemplify her entire career, but there are several that could open the door to to it. For the time being, I am going with “Horses In My Dreams,” the penultimate track from her immaculate Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea long play. This album saw her tackle a more mainstream sound (which, seeing as it was made my Ms. Harvey, is still the farthest thing from what you’d hear on the radio,) even bringing Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on board as a collaborator on several tracks. Most of the the songs are huge, layered walls of sound, but “Horses In My Dreams” and the Yorke-assisted “Beautiful Feeling” are the vital anomalies. The latter is an atmospheric, stripped down piece that leaves tons of space for its beauty to resonate, but “Horses” is far more complex. The intro alone is enough to give anyone goosebumps, but the way the rest of the song moves is mesmerizing. Every time you listen to it, you will find a new part hidden in there, but only because it is so easy to get caught up in the “whole.” Her vocal delivery, delicate and exhausted, juxtaposes brilliantly with the haunting, simple progressions that are highlighted by light and steady percussion and an arpeggiated guitar part that sits comfortably on top of the mix. “Horses In My Dreams” is not her most famous track, but it’s one of PJ Harvey’s greatest moments. I wish everyone knew it.



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