Of the singer/songwriters who rose to prominence during the alternative rock explosion, few are as distinctive or as widely praised as Polly Jean Harvey. Over the course of her career, Harvey established herself as one of the most individual and influential songwriters of her era, exploring themes of sex, religion, and political issues with unnerving honesty, dark humour, and a twisted theatricality. At the outset, she led the trio PJ Harvey, who delivered her stark songs with bruisingly powerful, punk-like abandon, as on 1993's Rid of Me. Over time, however, Harvey's music became more nuanced and eclectic. Her 2001 album, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, featured a heady mix of trip-hop, guitar rock, and troubadourism, earning her the prestigious Mercury Prize.