Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Glory Days

Famously, the Criterion Special Edition DVD of Terry Gilliam’s classic Brazil contains the studio’s edit of the film, which fortunately was not the one released to theaters. However, the edit is cited as a fascinating example of the ways film editing can change crucial elements of story and character. Similarly, “Glory Days” – the final resting place of the “Cocaine Socialism” recording – shows how one can totally alter the spirit of a piece of music through mixing.

All the brashest elements of “Cocaine Socialism” have been excised, most notably the horns. There’s less echo, and the band’s parts sound much more muted. What was once savage is now strangely elegiac.

Jarvis seems to now regret this rewrite, recently describing “Glory Days” as “about nothing really.” I strongly beg to differ. The song is arguably one of Pulp’s most resonant and poignant, a grand summation of life’s most mundane moments. Here; as much as any other song, Jarvis posits that the most insignificant parts of existence can be fraught with odd poetry and meaning. The song is filled with casual desperation and procrastination, only to realize that the waiting was, in fact, the real point of it all. The song culminates with a deeply impassioned plea – perhaps to himself – to commit these crucial trivialities for posterity.

These glory days can take their toll

So catch me now

Before I turn to gold.

Yeah, we'd love to hear your story

Just as long as it tells us where we are

That where we are is where we're meant to be.

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