PJ Harvey

During the early-'90s alternative rock explosion, several female singer/songwriters rose to prominence, but few were as distinctive or as widely praised as Polly Jean Harvey. Over the course of three albums, Harvey established herself as one of the most individual and influential songwriters of the '90s, exploring themes of sex, love, and religion with unnerving honesty, dark humor, and a twisted theatricality. At the outset of her career, she led the trio PJ Harvey, which delivered her stark songs with bruisingly powerful, punkish abandon, as typified by the 1992 debut effort Dry. Following the noisy, uncompromising follow-up, Rid of Me, the trio fell apart, and PJ Harvey became the sole property of Polly Harvey. Her next record, 1995's To Bring You My Love, became her mainstream critical breakthrough, confirming her status as one of the cornerstone figures of '90s alternative rock.