Thursday, November 1, 2007

Being Followed Home

I’ve been pretty hard so far on Pulp’s second album, Freaks, it’s true. I do think that the album should be examined by scholars looking to see the effects of societal hostility on artistic temperments (maybe Richard Florida). However, for the rest of us, the album only offers badly recorded unpleasantness. The band members are quick to acknowledge this as well.

However, if there are a few songs on the album where everything comes together, one of them is undoubtedly “Being Followed Home.” As the opening sound effect of footsteps leads into a careful guitar line, the song is an excellent example of Pulp’s ability to create a vivid scenario with music. And this time, Jarvis has conceived an actual metaphor -- something few other Freaks songs contain -- to carry his fear and paranoia. The imagery here is fantastic; I’m especially fond of the attacker who “says something in a language I don’t understand.” But the song’s crowning moment is that it does end with the narrator’s attack. Rather, we move forward to some point later; the memories of the evening have faded, but the fear lingers. Adding to the spooky sense of mystery, I’m pretty certain Jarvis is addressing a number of people in this song; not just the ones who have followed him home, but someone else, someone he knows. This is someone else from his past that haunts him, reminding him of other bad choices and failed chances.

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