Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bad Cover Version

This song just might’ve been Pulp’s last chance. Another sweeping ballad possibly musically inspired by Gene Pitney, “Bad Cover Version” was a last-ditch attempt at getting a hit single out of We Love Life. Nevertheless, despite one of the greatest music videos ever, it was not to be, and “Bad Cover Version” is to date the final Pulp single. It’s oddly appropriate for a track that manages to singularly combine snideness and melancholy. Jarvis marshals every last withering put-down – including some of the most obscure pop-culture references to appear in a rock song – in order to catalog all the ways an ex’s new lover unfairly compares to him. But the majestic ache of the melody only makes him sound more alone, as he lingers on every “great disappointment.” The fact that Pulp themselves were on the way out increases the bittersweetness. Now, six years later, with young, hot, less talented bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Long Blondes liberally copying pages from the Pulp textbook, the song stings even more.

2 comments:

Ian said...

I only really adore about half of We Love Life, but this is a magnificent swan song. The video/song is incredible too.

Bob said...

I agree with Ian on We Love Life, and this really is a strangely appropriate last call, for the reasons you note.

I do wonder if things might have worked out differently had the MTV landscape of the time been more amenable to giving more people a chance to actually see the video.