Saturday, February 9, 2013

Last Day of the Miners Strike

A new song recorded for the band’s 2002 Hits compilation (which did not do well commercially), “Last Day of the Miners’ Strike” was, for a long time, the last word from Pulp, in terms of new recorded music. As befits a band’s farewell, the feel of the song is valedictorian and elegiac. It’s anthemic, without going out of its way to be approachable. The song never veers away from a repeating chord sequence. And yet the music rises and swells in a rousing, inspiring way. Jarvis loosely, obliquely charts his personal history and a general, awakening political consciousness, in relation to Sheffield. (The city’s Miners’ Strike of 1984-1985 is a significant piece of UK history. It’s also a fairly seminal moment in the band’s story, as seen in The Beat is the Law.)

At the song’s close, the theme becomes a clear: It’s another plea to move on from the past, to make something inspiring in the present. Jarvis reckons with his history – both in terms of his hometown and his band -- in order to put it behind him. It shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone that Pulp went on indefinite hiatus shortly after this song came out.

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