The words “let’s all meet up in the year 2000” are rather frightening for those of who can remember enjoying that song when the words were still relevant. The year 2000 was twelve years ago. Different Class was seventeen years ago. Frightening. But what an album it was. Something Changed? “I could have changed my mind and seen a friend…” One of the most poignant songs about love ever written. Common People? I was never sure why going to a supermarket was such a grim working class thing to do, but it was the the epitome of perfect songwriting. Pulp had a way of getting not only the words, but also the music, to really make you feel that it was telling you something. Different Class was a classic album. One of the best ever. And that was just the top of the iceberg of one of the most remarkable things to come out of Sheffield since modern football…
OK, I’m being biased. Pulp are one of my bestest bands ever. Some of the early stuff was disturbingly weird, but there was never such thing as a duff Pulp song – and that’s something you couldn’t even say about the The Beatles, who wrote some classics but didn’t half produce some shite as well. And Jarvis Cocker? One of the greatest singers ever. Or perhaps better put, one of the greatest performers ever. It’s not so much his voice, but the way he emotively narrates the lyrics … and Pulp came up with some of finest lyrics ever penned. Just listen to something like Underwear, or Babies, or Cocaine Socialism, or even Help the Aged and tell me it’s not poetry literally in motion… and as for I Spy – is that not one of the most perfectly written and perfectly executed pieces of musical narrative ever produced? “Cause I’ve been sleeping with your wife for the past sixteen weeks, smoking your cigarettes, drinking your brandy, messing up the bed that you chose together. And in all that time I just wanted you to come home unexpectedly one afternoon, and catch us at it in the front room…”
Jarvis, you’re the man. Though I was always uncomfortable about being such a fan of his because at the same time I thought he was one of the biggest prats in showbiz. I guess it was that Michael Jackson stuff that did it. But then he appeared in that Harry Potter movie and … hey, I like this guy after all. There’s something of Harry Potter in Jarvis. The disliked nobody, the skinny nerd, but who came good in the end. Because magic works.
Then there was We Love Life in 2001, and then there was nothing. Pulp were gone. They were gone for ten years. Jarvis kept popping up here and there, and his solo stuff wasn’t too bad. But no more Pulp.
Ten years later, and they reunited. There’s been no more material, but perhaps the money’s starting to run short because it looks like they’re going to be regulars on the festival circuit for the next few years. Last year Spain got them at Primavera Sound, and in 2012, SOS 4.8 is one of the four European festivals they’re set to appear at. And the setlist they’ll probably be playing is an excellent choice of songs that is a reminder that Pulp, though massive in their day, remain one of the most underestimated groups in modern music history.
Did you know: The Spanish festival scene is jam packed with these ‘comeback’ bands, when they are often just the singer (Axl, we’re looking at you for example) appearing with a completely different set of musicians. Although I’ll bet you can’t name all of them, you’ll be glad to know that this is the proper original Pulp line-up that’s appearing. And that’s good.
Thursday May 3 to Sunday May 6 Murcia SOS 4.8 Festival
1. Do You Remember the First Time?
2. Monday Morning
4. Something Changed
5. Disco 2000
6. Sorted for E’s & Wizz
8. I Spy
12. This Is Hardcore
14. Bar Italia
15. Common People