Saturday, January 3, 2009

Le Roi Des Fourmis

Pulp recorded this for a tribute to French singer Michel Polnareff in 1993, but it wasn’t released until 1999, by which point the band’s sound had evolved considerably (not to mention the completed transition of guitar players, from Russell Senior to Mark Webber). So upon release, this song must’ve seemed like a strange capsule to a time when the band was eagerly but innocently indulging their most poptastic impulses, filling the arrangement with glam keyboards, boisterous drums and hilarious guitar riffs.

On top of all this, Jarvis delivers a ridiculously camp vocal performance; the song is in French, he doesn’t pretend to understand it and he has a ball with it all the same. There is one spoken English line: “At ten thirty-five precisely I realized I had nowhere left to fall and from that moment it began to get better. Being small and innocent could be an advantage sometimes,” which sure sounds like it came from Jarvis’ pen. Reportedly, he planned to sing the entire song in English, but the translated lyrics made no sense at all. The song’s title, by the way, translates as “The King of the Ants.”

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