I saw PJ Harvey sing in Rome last Sunday. She was alone on a wide, dark stage for two hours, with an upright piano festooned with strings of white Christmas lights, a cactus, and a picture of a deer. There were also a few guitars, a zither, and a harmonica. She hardly used any percussion save for one song where she unhinged an old-fashioned metronome set at 90 or so, and a few songs where she turned on a very retro drum beat machine to accompany her playing, seamlessly turning it off at the end. She played every song like a lean piece of meat—spare and hungry. It was transfixing, and there were moments when I’m pretty sure no one breathed.
I once dated someone who loved PJ and our relationship ended bitterly and sadly and consequently I avoided her music for years. The concert became a reclamation, and she became my music.
What experiences have others had with music they once felt “belonged” to someone else?