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White Chalk is the seventh studio album by English singer-songwriter and musician PJ Harvey, released on 24 September 2007 on Island Records.[1]

White Chalk
A woman sitting in an upright position in a white Victorian era dress. To her left, white text reads "PJ Harvey White Chalk."
Studio album by
Released24 September 2007 (2007-09-24)
RecordedNovember 2006–March 2007
GenreChamber pop
Length33:57
LabelIsland
ProducerFlood, John Parish, PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey chronology
Uh Huh Her
(2004)
White Chalk
(2007)
Let England Shake
(2011)
Singles from White Chalk
  1. "When Under Ether"
    Released: 17 September 2007
  2. "The Piano"
    Released: 3 December 2007
  3. "The Devil"
    Released: 18 March 2008

Work on the album started in 2006, with producer Flood and John Parish, who also worked on her To Bring You My Love and Is This Desire? albums. Other collaborators on White Chalk are Eric Drew Feldman and Jim White from Dirty Three.[2]

The first single released from White Chalk was "When Under Ether" on 17 September 2007 on digital download and 7" vinyl. A second single, "The Piano," was released on 26 November 2007. A third, "The Devil," was released on 7", download, and CD formats in March 2008.

Contents

StyleEdit

The previous album, Uh Huh Her, had a raw sound[3] but for this record White Chalk, Rolling Stone's magazine noted that Harvey "delved further into a Goth-like vibe in the much quieter, haunting, piano-based music".[3] For this album she gave up the traditional three-piece sound guitar/bass/drums and recorded a set of songs for piano, despite her lack of expertise on the instrument. In an interview in The Wire she explained, "the great thing about learning a new instrument from scratch is that it [...] liberates your imagination."[4]

Vocally, she sang in a much higher register than usual, at a pitch outside her normal range, and "howled about being possessed by demon lovers and ghosts".[5] Lyrically, Harvey continued with the dark, moody themes typical of much of her music.[4]

In an interview with NME, Harvey elaborated the meaning behind the album's title: “I just like the sound of the words white chalk. It can be millions of years old but erased in a second, and somehow has a timeless quality... The timelessness became more the source of inspiration.”[6]

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic80/100[7]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [8]
The A.V. ClubA−[9]
Entertainment WeeklyC[10]
The Guardian     [11]
Mojo     [12]
NME7/10[13]
Pitchfork6.8/10[14]
Q     [15]
Rolling Stone     [5]
Spin     [16]

White Chalk received generally positive reviews and has a score of 80 out of 100 on Metacritic.[7] Uncut hailed the album in glowing terms, calling it "an album of lonely beauty and piercing sorrow" before concluding, "White Chalk is P.J. Harvey back at the peak of her considerable powers."[17] The Observer gave the album 5 stars out of 5,[18] while Robert Christgau picked out one song from the album, "When Under Ether", as a "choice cut" ( ).[19]

AccoladesEdit

Publication Accolade Year Rank Ref.
NME 2007 Albums of the Year 2007 13 [20]
Stylus Magazine Top 50 Albums of 2007 2007 50 [21]
PopMatters The Best Albums of 2007 2007 47 [22]
The Wire 50 Records of the Year 2007 45 [23]

FormatsEdit

The US release is available on CD and 33⅓ rpm LP. The UK release is available on CD and 45 rpm vinyl record. White Chalk is also available on iTunes complete with a bonus track, "Wait".

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by PJ Harvey.

No.TitleLength
1."The Devil"2:55
2."Dear Darkness"3:09
3."Grow Grow Grow"3:21
4."When Under Ether"2:22
5."White Chalk"3:06
6."Broken Harp"1:57
7."Silence"3:05
8."To Talk to You"4:00
9."The Piano"2:36
10."Before Departure"3:45
11."The Mountain"3:10
Total length:33:57
iTunes[24] bonus track
No.TitleLength
12."Wait"2:17
Total length:36:14

PersonnelEdit

All personnel credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[25]

Chart positionsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (2 July 2007). "PJ Harvey Goes Into The 'White' On New Album". Billboard magazine. Retrieved 3 July 2007.
  2. ^ PJ Harvey to return with new album NME.com 7 February 2007, Retrieved on 07-07-07
  3. ^ a b Kem, Marc. "PJ Harvey Rolling Stone'Biography". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 October 2012. Harvey returned to a rawer, darker sound on Uh Huh Her (Number 29, 2004) and delved further into a Goth-like vibe in the much quieter, haunting, piano-based music of 2007's White Chalk.
  4. ^ a b Stubbs, D. (September 2007). "Return of the Native". The Wire 283: 34.
  5. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (20 September 2007). "White Chalk". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  6. ^ "PJ Harvey explains the story behind 'White Chalk'". NME. 21 September 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Reviews for White Chalk by PJ Harvey". Metacritic. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  8. ^ Phares, Heather. "White Chalk – PJ Harvey". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  9. ^ Phipps, Keith (2 October 2007). "P.J. Harvey: White Chalk". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  10. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (5 October 2007). "White Chalk". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  11. ^ Macpherson, Alex (21 September 2007). "PJ Harvey, White Chalk". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  12. ^ "PJ Harvey: White Chalk". Mojo (167): 91. October 2007.
  13. ^ "PJ Harvey: 'White Chalk'". NME. 21 September 2007. Archived from the original on 19 December 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  14. ^ Klein, Joshua (24 September 2007). "PJ Harvey: White Chalk". Pitchfork. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  15. ^ "PJ Harvey: White Chalk". Q (255): 98. October 2007.
  16. ^ Hermes, Will (October 2007). "Love Lies Bleeding". Spin. 23 (10): 95. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  17. ^ Hoskyns, Barney (October 2007). "White Chalk - review". Uncut. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  18. ^ Mardles, Paul (15 September 2007). "PJ Harvey, White Chalk". The Observer. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 2007). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  20. ^ https://www.nme.com/bestalbumsandtracksoftheyear/2007-2-1045343
  21. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20180317232747/http://www.stylusmagazine.com/articles/pop_playground/top-50-al0. Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ "PopMatters Picks: The Best Music of 2007". PopMatters. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  23. ^ "2007 Rewind: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 287. London. January 2008. p. 35 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  24. ^ "iTunes – Music – White Chalk (Exclusive Edition) by PJ Harvey". iTunes. Apple. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  25. ^ White Chalk (LP). PJ Harvey. Island Records. 2007. LC 00407.CS1 maint: others (link)
  26. ^ "australian-charts.com – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  27. ^ "PJ Harvey – White Chalk – austriancharts.at". austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  28. ^ a b "ultratop.be – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  29. ^ "danishcharts.com – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". danishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  30. ^ "dutchcharts.nl – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  31. ^ "finnishcharts.com – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". finnishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  32. ^ "lescharts.com – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  33. ^ "charts.de". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  34. ^ "GFK Chart-Track". chart-track.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  35. ^ "FIMI – Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana – Classifiche". Federation of the Italian Music Industry (in Italian). Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2012. N.B. User must select the weekly chart from the drop-down lists. For White Chalk, select 2007 > Ottobre > (Settimana 41).
  36. ^ "charts.org.nz – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  37. ^ "norwegiancharts.com – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  38. ^ "portuguesecharts.com – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". portuguesecharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  39. ^ "spanishcharts.com – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". spanishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  40. ^ "swedishcharts.com – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  41. ^ "PJ Harvey – White Chalk – hitparade.ch". Hitparade. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  42. ^ "PJ HARVEY | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  43. ^ a b c "White Chalk – PJ Harvey | Billboard.com". Billboard. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  44. ^ "Chart Log UK: H & Claire–Hysterix". zobbel.de. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  45. ^ http://infodisc.fr/Ventes_Albums_Tout_Temps.php?debut=10400
  46. ^ "French album certifications – PJ Harvey – White chalk" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  47. ^ "British album certifications – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type White Chalk in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  48. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (26 March 2011). "License Check". Billboard. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  49. ^ "American album certifications – PJ Harvey – White Chalk". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit