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Despite the widespread critical acclaim, Steve Albini, who recorded most of the album with the band at Pachyderm Studios outside Minneapolis, came in for his fair share of criticism for, among other things, the album’s rawer-than-raw sound and the walls of noise that sometimes obscured Harvey’s vocals.
The controversy only seemed to gild the album’s legend, though, and with time it has become a definitive document of the 1990s.
This year she has been nominated for a Brit award for best female singer - her fourth nomination.
Harvey's audience tends to be drawn from pale 30-ish men, for whom she is simultaneously sexy, scary and, it seems, in urgent need of protection; and women who identify with her fury, her damage and her hunger.
In the album’s wake, Courtney Love said, “The one rock star that makes me know I’m shit is Polly Harvey.
I’m nothing next to the purity that she experiences.” Similar accolades poured in from everyone from Kurt Cobain and Elvis Costello to Madonna and Jon Bon Jovi.
Music pundits just want to analyse her, sifting the evidence of her lyrics and her pronouncements and drawing a portrait of an artist who is troubled for reasons that no one seems quite able to put their finger on. She has read the descriptions so often that the adjectives fairly trip off her tongue. And brittle, kind of extreme, depressive, moody.' Harvey recites this list with the barest trace of irony, then sighs.
Very often Harvey's love for someone is expressed by her wish to help her, do something tangible to benefit her or serve her in some way.Hardly ever do I feel there's somebody I recognise there on the page. These days I'm so used to it, it doesn't upset me any more.'Harvey was born and brought up in Dorset, and - notionally at least - lives there still, by herself, in a house by the sea.She is very sensitive, cautious, and shy about showing others her feelings.Among the accolades she has received are the 20 Mercury Prize for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000) respectively—the only artist to have been awarded the prize twice—eight Brit Award nominations, seven Grammy Award nominations and two further Mercury Prize nominations.Rolling Stone awarded her 1992's Best New Artist and Best Singer Songwriter and 1995's Artist of the Year, and listed Rid of Me, To Bring You My Love (1995) and Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.