Monday, March 24, 2008

Mis-Shapes

At some point, Jarvis grew to regret writing this rallying cry of a hit single. The curdled after-effects of Britpop-era celebrity rendered this song hopelessly na├»ve in his mind. He so disliked this song that he pointedly left it off the band’s 2002 Hits compilation, causing a minor kerfuffle amongst some die-hard fans. Of course, I think he doth protest too much. Not only is “Mis-Shapes” a genre-defining anthem and perfect album opener, but it’s also filled with some real melancholy. I’ve always heard a desperate catch in Jarvis’ voice on lines like “Oh, we weren’t supposed to be” and “Brothers, sisters, can’t you see?” When he delivers the chorus’ pay-off line – “We’ll use the one thing we’ve got more of/ That’s our minds” – for the last time in the song, he’s followed by a dying synthesizer squall, as it to signify that there’s much, much more to this story. And indeed, the rest of Different Class goes on to show just how uneasy young adulthood can get for even the most defiant of nonconformists.

The story doesn’t end there. At some point in the 21st Century, a popular New York DJ night called “Mis-Shapes” began. I have no concrete evidence of my own, but in some circles the night has became fairly synonymous with hipster douchebaggery. For good or ill, the photograph book commemorating this night features some text from Jarvis, who DJed there along with Steve Mackey early on. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that victory can be pulled from even the most dire of events, and maybe all this will have softened Jarvis’ stance towards the song “Mis-Shapes” by the time Pulp launch a reunion of some sort.

Watch the video for the song here.

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