“this is the sound of someone losing the plot, making out that they’re okay when they’re not; you’re gonna like it, but not a lot, and the chorus goes like this…”
Pulp handled success badly, which is surprising since, before Jarvis Cocker’s late-90’s breakdown, they strived towards pop. After the persistent press coverage that arose from Different Class and several televised performance of Common People, Jarvis had had enough. And the drug addiction and end of a long-term relationship didn’t help. The album This Is Hardcore is a glorious masterpiece of melancholia, starting with “The Fear” (promising ‘the sound of loneliness turned up to 10’) and following with eleven more dark, sinister songs. Dark, sinister songs that you can sing along with. Dark, sinister songs with choruses and quotable lyrics.
“Dishes” is a frail self-analysis of unwanted limitations, self-loathing, existentialism, but also features a comic line in which Jarvis beats Jonathan Coe in delivering: “I am not Jesus, but I have the same initials.” Underneath the sadness, there is subtle humour, the same force that can drive you through life. After all, the darkest song is amusingly titled “Seductive Barry”. One of the less likely singles, “Party Hard”, is anthemic without a proper chorus, but still infectious for the ear; the sound of someone reluctantly at a club or party, standing awkwardly to loud music, having a miserable time, but starting to enjoy the music. Never has depression made such easy listening.