Monday, December 3, 2007

Grandfather's Nursery

As established earlier, the “Bad Cover Version” single served as the band’s swan song, in many ways. However, there were a few codas, subsequently. The strangest of these was certainly this song, not so much for the music itself, but more the event of the song’s emergence. For reasons no one seems to know, a professional-sounding 2000 demo recording of “Grandfather’s Nursery” popped up in 2002 as a free download on (Sadly, the song is no longer available there.)

What fans heard, just as Pulp was bidding adieu, was another bottomless well of melancholy. Supported by gentle tremolo guitar and glass harmonica, Jarvis devises a series of metaphors for something once flowering that has ceased to live. It could be a relationship, it could be Sheffield, it could just be his state of mind about life in general. As with “Bad Cover Version” it became impossible to hear as it anything but a eulogy for a band that felt its zeitgeist slip away. The song is as morose as anything on This is Hardcore, but in its last moments rescues redemption. Jarvis takes a sailboat to reconnect with his “true love.” (Remember, the band’s first single was “My Lighthouse.”) Finally, he imagines an opportunity for a life-giving rain, as the band enters full-force in the final minutes, with an appropriately Beatlesque guitar line sharing center stage with Jarvis’ cries of “Here comes the rain.” The song successfully alchemizes the botanical themes of We Love Life, and one could argue it’s a more effortless mix of the band’s gentle and anthemic sides than anything on the album.

Just as perplexing as its appearance, “Grandfather’s Nursery” also appeared on a 2005 Spanish compilation entitled 100% Sinnamon.

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