Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Professional

Most bands wouldn’t devote such conceptual and musical energy towards a mere b-side. In many ways, “The Professional” handily summarizes the overriding themes of This Is Hardcore. Over a loungy sample, Jarvis practically raps an unsparing litany of self-loathing, painting himself as an aging has-been hack. Like the rest of This Is Hardcore, because Jarvis is so wittily relentless (or relentlessly witty), the song somehow avoids nauseating self-pity. It becomes a weird kind of catharsis. Also, the song is constantly inventive. There’s the moment when the music completely drops out, leaving him sounding completely naked and vulnerable. And there’s a whopper of a final verse, where the song stops being a general treatise on Jarvis’ lameness. Suddenly, the song becomes specific yet ambiguous. Jarvis describes himself abandoning lovers before they awake, only to pick up new ones and begin the deceptions anew. Is “The Professional” a character piece now? Was it always? The song constantly invites new interpretations, making it one of the band’s best b-sides, one that could’ve easily fit onto Hardcore.

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