Monday, July 14, 2008


I very deliberately chose to place entries on this song and “Bar Italia” next to each other. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this mentioned elsewhere – and it didn’t occur to me till about a year ago – but both songs essentially describe the same situation. They both occur at dawn, after a long, long night of carousing. “Bar Italia” takes a dark, sardonic approach. But on “Sunrise,” Jarvis decides to be both caustic and optimistic. Over gently unfolding guitars, he laments his wasted, boozy adulthood with some of his most trenchant, self-needling lines, culminating with a gem of a couplet: “All my achievements in days of yore/ Range from pathetic to piss-poor.” But now’s he vowing to change, not so much his night-life habits, but his feelings of remorse and guilt over staying up all night. He’s trying to embrace that sunrise, not rue it.

The band began playing “Sunrise” in concert a good year-and-a-half before We Love Life was finally released. Its extended instrumental coda – contrasting Mark Webber’s minimalist but anthemic guitar lines with Nick Banks’ boisterous drumming – made the song a fan favorite from early on, and Jarvis tried to rush out a single version, just as they did with “Common People,” which live audiences also embraced early on. However, due to a changing record industry, it didn’t happen as planned. The song eventually came out as a double a-side with “The Trees,” both of which were coolly received by consumers. Still, “Sunrise” remains a fan favorite, and one of the finest songs by the “mature” Pulp. Here’s a live version with some especially impressive dancing from Jarvis at the end.

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