Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sickly Grin

There were two b-sides to the 1992 Caff single version of “My Legendary Girlfriend.” Both of them were outtakes from Pulp’s past, each recorded by completely different lineups that didn’t bear much resemblance to the one that made “MLG.” The first b-side, “Sickly Grin,” was the earlier song, recorded during the 1982 sessions for the band’s first album, It. Despite the fact that the band lineup from It never appeared on another Pulp song, “Sickly Grin,” unlike the rest of that album, bears some resemblance to Pulp’s most famous sound. The song opens with a catchy, driving bass line and features rudimentary, bright keyboards. The vocal melody snakes unpredictably, while still remaining appealing. It’s almost enough to distract from the fact that Jarvis’ lyric is a bit inelegant and clunky. He’s addressing his need to show his emotions truthfully, rather than indulge in “false jollity.” He’s trying to sound intelligent and perceptive, but he doesn’t yet have the command over language to make it work.

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