1998, Music

This Is Hardcore (1998) by Pulp

I think one of the things that distinguishes Pulp from their supposed contemporaries in Britpop is simply their experience – they’ve been making music so much longer than most of the other bands they’re lumped in with, they just know how to do things better. At least, that’s my theory as to why I like them more.

Because, you see, I don’t particularly like Jarvis Cocker’s lyrics. It’s not that they’re bad, they’re just not for me. When he’s being sincere, he’s too sex-obsessed for me – and when he’s not sex-obsessed, he’s interesting in things I’m not as interested in – and when he’s being snide I don’t find him particularly clever.

But he’s a hell of a performer, and he sells these lyrics to me very well. His theatricality serves his songs perfectly and he just comes off as knowing exactly what he is doing.

The band behind him is very strong – stronger than I remember from Different Class. The music is a tad over-arranged but, again, Pulp’s professionalism shows through. Even when there are entirely too many instruments on a track, this still sounds like rock music and it still sounds well-produced. I attribute this to their long career because I don’t know what else to attribute it to.

And I once again finding myself listening to a band I don’t expect to like and liking them, in spite of plenty of things about the record I could dislike.

7/10

All lyrics written by Jarvis Cocker; all music composed by Cocker, Nick Banks, Candida Doyle, Steve Mackey and Mark Webber, except where noted.

  1. “The Fear” 5:35
  2. “Dishes” 3:30
  3. “Party Hard” 4:00
  4. “Help the Aged” 4:28
  5. “This Is Hardcore” by Cocker, Banks, Doyle, Mackey, Webber, Peter Thomas 6:25
  6. “TV Movie” 3:25
  7. “A Little Soul” 3:19
  8. “I’m a Man” 4:59
  9. “Seductive Barry” 8:31
  10. “Sylvia” 5:44
  11. “Glory Days” by Cocker, Banks, Doyle, Mackey, Webber, Antony Genn 4:55
  12. “The Day After the Revolution” 14:56
  • Jarvis Cocker: vocals, guitar, keyboards
  • Nick Banks: drums, percussion
  • Candida Doyle: keyboards, organ, vocals
  • Steve Mackey: bass
  • Mark Webber: guitar, keyboards
  • Pete Lewis – engineering
  • Magnus Fiennes – programming
  • Mark Hayley – programming
  • Matthew Vaughan – programming
  • Olle Romo – programming
  • Chris Thomas – piano (5), production
  • Neneh Cherry – vocals (9)
  • Mandy Bell – backing vocals (1, 9)
  • Carol Kenyon – backing vocals (1, 9)
  • Jackie Rawe – backing vocals (1, 9)
  • Anne Dudley – piano (5, 7, 11), string arrangements (2, 5, 7, 9)
  • Nicholas Dodd – orchestration (5, 9)

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