Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sorted for E's and Wizz

Upon its release, Pulp’s breakthrough 1995 album Different Class was thought by many to be a brash statement of intent from the misfits of the world. It seemed that the lanky, gawky, oddly attired Jarvis Cocker was the perfect vessel to deliver the message that the wallflowers of the world had united and we had every right to parties, sex, revenge, all of it.

Twelve years later, it’s pretty apparent that this is merely a superficial read on Different Class. The album really illustrates the way the freedoms of young adulthood can slowly calcify into routine as easily as any staid middle-class existence. The brash outsider who declared war on the squares in the album’s beginning is, by the end, exhausted and hung-over, one of the “broken people.”

“Sorted for E’s and Wizz” is the eighth track on Different Class and the moment where the disillusion really begins to set in. Documenting Jarvis’ brief dalliance circa 1989 with rave culture, the song pinpoints his realization that a park full of wasted kids is not the unlocking of the secrets of humankind; it’s just a park full of wasted kids. More crucially, the song describes the realization that you don’t have much in common with your chosen social scene. Add to that the sinking sensation of too many drugs and you get a literal hangover to go with the figurative one. And “then you come down,” as the chorus goes. (At the song’s end, Jarvis cleverly alters it to hammer home the woozy paranoia; “What if you never come down?”) Is it any wonder the band’s next album, This is Hardcore, detailed his descent into overindulgence and exhaustion?

You don’t need to have attended a rave to get this song. It certainly helped that it’s one the band’s most effortless pop efforts, with skipping drums, twinkling synths, Jarvis’ acoustic strums and a fantastic chorus melody. “Sorted” went to number 2 in the UK charts (watch the video here), garnered the band some controversy (see here) and was played at most (if not all) Pulp concerts from this point onward.


Ian said...

I'm gald that Wiki entry explained the title... "E's" I got (that apostrophe aside) but "Wizz" not quite.

This Is Hardcore is my favourite, so I look forward to your take on those songs especially.

Bob said...

This was my favorite on the album for a good while, moved down since for "Monday Morning" I suppose. My favorite bit is that echo effect on "at 4 o'clock the normal world seems very, very, very far a-way."

Something about the faux-live concert sound makes it fit perfectly where it's placed on the album, a brief open feel before the arrival of that sweaty claustrophobia that sets in for the last few songs.

I think you're right, it's definitely the album's transition between what "Mis-Shapes" sets you up to expect and the actual feeling of resignation that Different Class really delivers with the "Underwear"-"Monday Morning"-"Bar Italia" run at the end, which lays the groundwork for This Is Hardcore.

Iain F said...

Same here actually, and I'm British... (but probably too young)

Looking forward to seeing mroe of this blog too!