Saturday, March 8, 2008

Master of the Universe

While possessing an energy that’s more focused than most Freaks tracks, “Master of the Universe” still leans heavily on goth overtones. Still, glimmers of the Cocker wit show up here (“I am the Master of the Universe/ And I’ve got so big it hurts”). In later interviews, Jarvis would point out the incongruousness of the song. “I liked writing ‘Master of the Universe’ while being on the dole and not being the master of anything at all,” he told MOJO Magazine in 2003. “It was the winter I’d fallen out of the window – I was stuck in a wheelchair and my mother’s watching Lovejoy. So it had a certain grim humour.” That explains the S&M imagery of the song, as master morphs into debased servant. The song was released as a single in a “sanitized” version with toned-down lyrics. (Most notably, the word “masturbates” became “vegetates.”) That is the version that serves as the sorta-title track to the compilation of mid-‘80s Pulp singles and b-sides.

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