PJ Harvey’s turn in The Serpent Queen

The female empowerment, punk, irreverent, and even aggressive side of Catherine of Medici in The Serpent Queen are elements that help in the narrative: her clothes and the soundtrack. We’ll talk about the costumes in detail shortly, but it’s fun to wait for each episode to conclude to find out what the rocker theme is that defines the story. After Patti Smith, we come to PJ Harvey.

The second episode, The War Rather Than To Bed, closes with a rock classic, Rid of Me. While the pilot, The Medici Bitch, used Patti Smith‘s Gloria, stepping in with PJ Harvey in the sequel maintains the same vibe.

Rid of Me was the title track of the singer’s second album, and her bitterness and resentment provoked controversial reactions at the time. The lyrics, about a breakup, alternate between requests for reconciliation and threats to “twist the head” of the unfaithful lover. Nothing better suited to what Catherine has been facing to survive at the French court in The Serpent Queen.

The song was released when PJ Harvey was still asserting herself and was produced by Steve Albini (The Pixies). It was written during her stay in London when the singer was dealing with the difficulty of ending a relationship. The impact was immediate and artists like Kurt Cobain, at the time still recording In Utero. “Kurt told me very specifically that he thought Polly’s voice was great on these recordings,” Albini said in an interview. “He was a fan,” he added.

“It’s an ugly song, but ugly in a good way,” jokes PJ Harvey‘s band partner Rob Ellis. “The reason it makes me squirm is that it’s so close to the bone. The vocals are hysterical, crazy, crazy. It’s hard because you’re not sure if it’s embarrassing or if it’s really funny or what. But you can’t ignore the song. I’m proud of it,” he said in an interview.

In The Serpent Queen, we follow Catherine once again struggling to turn negative situations in her favor, and as the song says, her “victory” over Diana of Poitier comes down to you won’t get rid of me.

Perfect.

Tie yourself to me
No one else, no
You’re not rid of me
You’re not rid of me

Night and day I breathe
Hah hah ay hey

You’re not rid of me
Yeah you’re not rid of me
Yeah you’re not rid of me
Yeah you’re not rid of me

I beg you my darling
Don’t leave me
I’m hurting
Lick my legs I’m on fire
Lick my legs of desire

I’ll tie your legs
Keep you against my chest
Oh you’re not rid of me
Yeah you’re not rid of me
I’ll make you lick my injuries
I’m gonna twist your head off, see

‘Til you say don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her

I beg you my darling
Don’t leave me
I’m hurting
I’ve been lonely
Above everything
Above every day
I’m hurting

Lick my legs I’m on fire
Lick my legs of desire
Lick my legs I’m on fire
Lick my legs of desire

Yeah you’re not rid of me
Yeah you’re not rid of me
I’ll make you lick my injuries
I’m gonna twist your head off, see

Till you say don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Don’t you don’t you wish you never never met her
Lick my legs I’m on fire
Lick my legs of desire
Lick my legs I’m on fire
Lick my legs of desire

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