Posts Tagged ‘pulp’


August 13th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is also from Britain. Maybe the reason I’ve been listening to a lot of British bands recently is because Britain has more literate songwriters than we do in North America, and I’ve been feeling the literate-ness lately. Sure, we’ve got a couple pretty literate guys like Okkervil River’s Will Sheff or Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and nobody’s lyrics can match Dylan, but still. Britain’s got Morrissey, Ray Davies, Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Hal Davies, Richard Thompson, Mark E. Smith and Van Morrison (er, he’s Irish, but close enough) and the songwriter of this week’s BotW. Which is…


Lead singer Jarvis Cocker is Pulp’s iconic primary songwriter, responsible for hits like “Common People” off their masterpiece album Different Class. Cocker’s lyrics are often hilariously intelligent musings on life, people, romance and sex.  Cocker’s (oh shut up) intellectual take on sex is one of the things I love most about his writing. “Live Bed Show” (off Different Class) is a perfect example of Cocker’s excellent ability to illustrate a character and their particular sexual dilemma with skillful poignancy. He writes “She doesn’t have to go to work but she doesn’t want to stay in bed/ Cause it’s changed from something comfortable to something else instead/ This bed has seen it all from the first time to the last/ The silences of now and the good times of the pastSomething beautiful left town and she doesn’t even know its name./ Now every night she plays the sad game ooh ah ah/ Called pretending nothing’s going wrong oh, oh.” 

Musically, Pulp is a great mix of synth-brit-pop that transcends that genre’s limitations due to Pulp/Cocker’s fanatically tight songwriting and interesting arrangements. Often Pulp has an anthemic sound, with loud crunchy guitars, orchestral synthetic padding (until they got to the Scott Walker produced We Love Life at which point they got real orchestra treatment) and big drums. Cocker’s overtly British singing is inimitable and suits what he writes perfectly; able to convey emotion, humor, sarcasm and sympathy perfectly and always in way that is undoubtedly Jarvis Cocker. 

Recently, Pulp has called it quits and Jarvis Cocker released his first solo album (which is just as good as any Pulp album). If you’re in the mood for something to satisfy the head and the heart at the same time (assuming your not listening to The Queen is Dead all depressed 24/7) check out any of Pulp’s last four albums and/or the self-titled Jarvis Cocker album. Clearly it’s songwriting worth writing about.