Sunday, December 9, 2007


I always thought this would make a good concert opener for the band. It begins quietly and simply and ends with a rousing, epic finish, ushering the audience into the show. This doesn’t appear to have ever happened. Instead, “Sylvia” served as the last song of the main set during much of the This Is Hardcore tour. Shows what I know.

“Sylvia” also handily refutes Hardcore’s reputation as a morose, joyless sex-and-drugs-fest. Alright, so the song is still pretty morose, or at least a pained reflection on a failed relationship. Still, this is an unabashed power ballad, and maybe it’s a little too eager-to-please and sentimental, but there’s genuine emotion in the bombast. I heard this song once in an HMV store shortly after the album came out. It sounded oddly appropriate and even a little stirring there. There’s something especially memorable about Mark Webber’s Big Guitar Solo, which he executes with just a few notes.

There is, of course, a twist to the lyrics. Jarvis begins the song singing to a woman who reminds him of the title character. But soon enough he begins to address Sylvia directly. It entirely possible that he’s using the woman he’s just met as a proxy for the absent former lover, simply so he can say the things he was unable to tell her face to face.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Yeah, the odd undercurrent of the lyrics on this one really interest me. It seems like it's coming a bit from the same place as "If I Fell" - where the narrator is kinda creepily using the girl he's ostensibly singing to in order to work out some issues with his real interest ("she would cry if she learned we are two").

But there's something in "Sylvia", maybe the part about how the unnamed woman looks like Sylvia all the way to how she wears her hair, that gets close to turning into Vertigo. I have no idea if it's intentional, but it's there.

Also love the pseudo-fakeout ending.