PJ Harvey won the prestigious Mercury Prize for her album Let England Shake yesterday, becoming the first artist to win the honor twice. Harvey had previously won the award, which is given each year to an English or Irish artist, for her 2001 album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.
Let England Shake, Harvey’s eighth studio album as a solo artist, is a collection of songs that reflects on the nation’s history of war. Many of the songs are written from the perspective of soldiers, while others look on at the devastation of war from a distance. The record has a cold, nearly journalistic tone, allowing for glimpses of humanity amid the horror and steering clear of romanticizing or outright condemning war.