PJ Harvey is receiving some harsh criticism for “Community of Hope,” the new single off her latest album The Hope Six Demolition Project, which drops April 15. Why is a song with such an optimistic sounding title getting bashed by Washington politicians? Harvey is clearly being sarcastic in the song’s refrain when she repeats “community of hope” several times, seeing as she paints a dismal picture of the U.S. Capitol and D.C.’s Ward 7 throughout the rest of the song’s lyrics. She calls Benning Road a ‘pathway of death’ and Ward 7 a ‘drug town’ with ‘one sit-down restaurant.’ Former D.C. mayor Vince Gray and Congressional staffer Grant Thompson, both of whom are campaigning to win Ward Seven’s city council seat, were quick to criticize the song. Gray called the track an “inane composition” and Harvey “really didn’t get the song.”They’re not the only ones who weren’t too fond of the British singer’s take on Washington, D.C. The controversial song shares its name with that of an actual D.C. nonprofit providing a variety of free services to underserved Washington communities like Ward 7― and the real Community of Hope is not impressed. While Harvey is likely trying to highlight the economic disparity between Capitol Hill and nearby poverty-stricken areas like Ward 7, “Community of Hope” is pretty vague in its commentary and generalizes. The Hope Six Demolition Project features songs about the artist’s travels, primarily through Kosovo and the Balkans, and at least two more Washington, D.C.-inspired tracks, “River Anacostia” and “Near the Memorials to Vietnam and Lincoln.” If they're anything like “Community of Hope,” they’re sure to spark some conversation.
Credits Words by Christie Sentner