Saturday, May 28, 2005

Downloads Expired

Okay two songs tonight from Pulp. I've been having a bit of a pulp binge recently, re-listening to all my albums and singles and reading Mark Sturdy's (fantastic) biography named Truth & Beauty. The more and more I listen to Pulp the more I think that in 10 years time they will be the only one of the britpop bands to truly stand out as as innovative, original and just plain superior to all the rest. Pulp had everything. Fantastic songwriting, a great frontman who wrote incredible lyrics and the talent to make each album actually sound different and yet never to lose the feeling of what a Pulp record was.

Different Class (1996) was one of the first albums I ever bought (along with Blur's Great Escape and Eels' Beautiful Freak) and to this day is probably the album i've listened to the most out of everything I own. At this point I have absolutely no way of judging it objectively because like other songs/albums that become so ubiquitous with a time of our lives (see Nevermind for example) or just incredibly popular, you just can't really imagine a time before you heard these songs.

Anyway I often feel that the His N Hers/Different Class/This Is Hardcore period of Pulp's history is the only one that a lot of people listen to. Reasons could be that both the music press and Jarvis himself have trashed some of the music they wrote in the 15 or so years before His N Hers, and also their last (post This Is Hardcore) record We Love Life had about a £5 promotional budget and so was completely ignored by a large majority of the indie-record-buying-public.

The first song I've picked is Being Followed Home from Pulp's 1986 sophomore (or second, if you're English) album Freaks. This has always stood out as a highlight of their early period for me, and I feel you really get to hear where the Pulp sound originated from. The post-punk influence is obvious, and though the production may not be that strong it gives the track a foreboding feeling that is lost in some of the more sparkling production numbers you find on Different Class. In 1986 this track must have sounded pretty innovative, or at least very different...listen to this and consider that Arab Strap wouldn't release an album for another 10 years. Wow. Although Pulp got pushed into the 'britpop' scene (whatever that was), people forget that Pulp formed in 1979 and so lazy comparisons of Jarvis to earlier indie types like Morrissey really aren't that accurate. Also, listening to Pulp's 1982 debut single My Lighthouse, it would seem like a bad Belle & Sebastian parody if not for the fact that it was written 15 years or so before they released a record.

The second song I picked is off that last, very underrated record We Love Life. The Scott Walker production really stands out here, and over the 8 minutes or so you really get to see how far Pulp developed in their career. This is pretty mindblowing stuff. Enjoy.