Saturday, July 28, 2007

All Time High

This is one of the few bright spots on Shaken and Stirred, movie composer David Arnold’s collection of covers of James Bond movie themes. It’s not really Pulp per se – Jarvis, Steve Mackey and Mark Webber are supported by Arnold, an orchestra and a session drummer.

Shaken and Stirred came out about five months before This is Hardcore (but only a month before the album’s teaser single “Help the Aged”). In many ways, Pulp’s “All Time High” (originally recorded by Rita Coolidge for Octopussy) is of a piece with Hardcore. The lush setting is undercut by a seedy, gasping, mannered vocal from Jarvis. “All Time High” becomes another of his slightly ironic lothario portraits. The original version was sung to Bond. Jarvis sings it as Bond, simultaneously meaning and not meaning the pledge of eternal devotion. In particular, his delivery of the second verse – “In my time I've said these words before/ But now I realize/ My heart was telling me lies/ For you, they’re true” – contains an oddly poignant flavor.

A few months after this album’s release, the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies came out, with a score by David Arnold. Pulp were among the acts invited to “audition” a title theme. Their submission did not make the cut, but they eventually found a good use for it, so it’ll get reviewed here eventually.

No comments: