Pulp – Help The Ages (90s – 59)

October 23, 2013

When one of my best mates gave his CD collection – clearing out before clearing out but not before digitising – the sentimental few he kept were Pulp’s back catalogue.

Jump backwards and my entire knowledge of the band was Common People and Disco 2000 being played endlessly on the radio. I was very tired of Common People (a feeling only softened thanks to William Shatner’s version), and Disco 2000 was alright. As I was not watching music videos at the time I missed the Pulp shtick – the glossiness, the videos, Jarvis.

(Is Jarvis Cocker the smoothness of Bryan Ferry in the body of Chris Addison? I can’t imaging Ferry that shiny even at his smoothest.)

Thus it was until 1999 and the years afterwards when I met my mate who sat me down to explain and lend me their back catalogue from the early years of the Eighties onwards.

Help the Ages has become my favourite song in their catalogue, though I find it’s parent album – This Is Hardcore – overstays its welcome. While I love the more skittish earlier songs like Babies, there’s something about the slow glide of Aged which mixes innuendo with profundity. In fact has any band used sex as social commentary as successfully?

Other bands have written about aging and death – usually in regards to themselves – but not many artists are as direct, impersonal, social. This will be all of us – ponder that before you laugh at them.

My mate explained Pulp were all tin foil sheen, but one which peeled back shows as much darkness as any band in the UK at the time.


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