PJ Harvey, Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (Island): With a bracing, droning rock-guitar jangle, Harvey sings: "Look out ahead/ I see danger come/ I wanna pistol/ I wanna gun/ I'm scared baby/ I wanna run/ This world's crazy/ Give me the gun." Like Bob Dylan circa Blonde on Blonde, Elvis Costello circa This Year's Model, and Patti Smith, who some people seem to think she sounds like on this album, Harvey sings with certainty about her internal life and the world around her. It's hard to keep from quoting lyrics when writing about this album, because they're so good. But flat on the screen, the words don't convey Harvey's vocal nuances in a line like "And he's the best thing/ He's the best thing/ He's the best thing/ A beautiful feeling." The way she almost whispers a word, and then lets minimal guitar notes fill the air — just a little longer than you might expect. Or sings "And when I watch you move," and then just holds that last word. This is one of the best albums of 2000. — Michael Goldberg

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