Monday, September 8, 2008

Disco 2000

If any Pulp single was ever to be a hit in the U.S., I guess this would have been it. After all, not only is “Disco 2000” loaded with monster hooks, but the most monstrous, most gigantic of those hooks is a nod to a very recognizable U.S. hit. The opening riff to “Disco 2000” blatantly references Laura Branigan’s 1982 hit “Gloria,” and Jarvis alludes to it as well with some of his phrasing choices. But of course it wasn’t really a hit in the U.S. Although the grunge era was waning by this point, perhaps we still weren’t quite ready to embrace a rock song that wittily recalled the early '80s without devolving into smug irony and distance.

Of course, the song is more than just its pop-culture reference. “Disco 2000” occurs in the middle of Different Class, in the section that addresses love and longing. Here, Jarvis approaches the subject from an almost guilelessly naïve perspective. The narrator on the song carries a torch for his very first crush from childhood, a girl named Deborah. Back then, he thought there was a chance, and now, crazily enough, he still thinks so, trying desperately to arrange for a rendezvous at some half-remembered spot he claims to have suggested way back when. The song conveys all this, plus some expertly sketched memories of adolescent hormonal craziness, with Pulp’s patented mix of big pop cheer and deep, neurotic sadness.

The video tells a completely different storyline. It also features the single mix of the song, which adds extra keyboards, backing vocals and other changes. It’s very catchy, but in some ways it’s not quite Pulp. As contrast, here's a live version performed on MTV.

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