Tuesday, February 5, 2008


It’s been quite a while since I’ve tackled any of Pulp’s truly definitive songs, so I figured I’d better get a move on.

“Babies” is such a potent pop song, it gave the band two lifts into orbit -- first as a successful indie single in ’92; then given a slightly different, brighter mix for the ’94 single which became their first UK top 20 hit. And make no mistake, even from my American perspective “Babies” sounds like a landmark hit because it marked their most perfect pop thus far. Simply put, every single part of the song is a genius pop hook, from the brilliantly rudimentary opening guitar hook (written by drummer Nick Banks) onward.

But you can’t discount that lyric, which perfectly, wittily captures the collision of lust, discovery and confusion of adolescence. And there are sisters. Plus, with Jarvis spending much of the song hiding in a wardrobe, you can think of it as Pulp’s own “Trapped in the Closet,” as a friend of mine once remarked. (“Babies” has but one sequel, which we’ll get to eventually.)

Appropriately, there two separate videos for “Babies,” a way-low-budget one and a glossier, mainstream-ready one. Plus, this strange “spoken word” version. Keep looking around YouTube and you’ll find plenty of live and TV performances as well.

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