Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Boss

With the 2006 release of the Deluxe Editions, a few tracks that were previously only known in lo-fi bootleg live recordings emerged in full-fledged studio guises. Or at least as demos. “The Boss” initially emerged in a ragged but enthused concert incarnation. Introduced by Jarvis as a song about “wondering about someone’s who going out with your ex-girlfriend or your ex-boyfriend”, the song is a typically exciting Pulp song of the early ’90, with a speeded disco beat, insistent Farfisa, and Jarvis saying “ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma,” a lot. Despite the bad sound quality, it sounds like a single. The studio version (from the band’s “audition tape” for Island Records) builds on this potential. It’s not fully finished; the lazily repetitive guitar line betrays the demo-ness. But Jarvis strings a compelling storyline of panic, sexual confusion and escape, and the band makes these emotions sound exhilarating. On trains and in hotels, Jarvis can’t help but bump into (or imagine) his ex and her new lover. It’s enough to convince him to get out of his current surroundings – a resolution we’ve heard from him plenty times before.

In case you wondered, it’s titled “The Boss” because, Jarvis claims, the band thought it sounded like Bruce Springsteen. (It doesn’t.)

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