Sunday, July 15, 2007

Life Must Be So Wonderful

Of course, you know, the title is meant sardonically. Like the other songs on Pulp’s difficult second album, Freaks, the mood here is dour, the imagery almost oppressive (“And now blind eyes watch you bleed/ You rot in your bedroom, you cry on the phone”). And Jarvis struggles to eke out a tune with his tight, two-note baritone voice. Maybe “sardonically” is the wrong word; it implies a certain amount of humor that’s actually in woefully short supply on this song.

Nevertheless, “Life Must Be So Wonderful” is no lost cause, not quite. Arguably the most impressive element is the rhythm supplied by then-drummer Magnus Doyle (brother of Candida). Whereas most of his stickwork was loose and haphazard, here Doyle cleverly utilizes supple, Al Green-style beats in an unlikely setting. And the rest of the band has already begun to hit upon a unique skill in dramatic sweep, as the song lurches from sweet to dissonant and back again.

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