This Is Hardcore

This Is Hardcore

5.0 1
by Pulp
     
 

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Oh, the terror of one's mid-30s. Jarvis Cocker knows he's not a pup anymore, but (thank God) he's not middle-aged yet either. This quandary defines much of Pulp's 1998 recording, This Is Hardcore. Cocker strains to maintain his youthful insolence, declaring "I'm not Jesus, though I've got the same initials," then in the same song, "Dishes," sings -- whines,See more details below

Overview

Oh, the terror of one's mid-30s. Jarvis Cocker knows he's not a pup anymore, but (thank God) he's not middle-aged yet either. This quandary defines much of Pulp's 1998 recording, This Is Hardcore. Cocker strains to maintain his youthful insolence, declaring "I'm not Jesus, though I've got the same initials," then in the same song, "Dishes," sings -- whines, really -- of having to clean up the kitchen (feminism begins at home). But Cocker's tantrums are secondary to the high-gloss glam that brightens the recording's best songs, such as the title track, which echoes Eno-era Roxy Music and early Mott the Hoople. Elsewhere, "Glory Days" sounds like a Brit-pop update of "Suspicious Minds" and, in a wry twist, "Help the Aged," churns to a disco-ized beat. The back of the CD jacket says "It's okay to grow up, just as long as you don't grow old. Face it…you are still young." Cocker's struggle is far from over, but Pulp still has a lot of fight left in them.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
"This is the sound of someone losing the plot/you're gonna like it, but not a lot." So says Jarvis Cocker on "The Fear," the opening track on This Is Hardcore, the ambitious follow-up to Pulp's breakthrough Different Class, thereby providing his own review for the album. Cocker doesn't quite lose the plot on This Is Hardcore, but the ominous, claustrophobic "The Fear" makes it clear that this is a different band, one that no longer has anthems like "Common People" in mind. The shift in direction shouldn't come as a surprise -- Pulp was always an arty band -- but even the catchiest numbers are shrouded in darkness. This Is Hardcore is haunted by disappointments and fear -- by the realization that what you dreamed of may not be what you really wanted. Nowhere is this better heard than on "This Is Hardcore," where drum loops, lounge piano, cinematic strings, and a sharp lyric create a frightening monument to weary decadence. It's the centerpiece of the album, and the best moments follow its tone. Some, like "The Fear," "Seductive Barry," and "Help the Aged," wear their fear on their sleeves, some cloak it in Bowie-esque dance grooves ("Party Hard") or in hushed, resigned tones ("Dishes"). A few others, such as the scathing "I'm a Man" or "A Little Soul," have a similar vibe without being explicitly dark. Instead of delivering an entirely bleak album, Pulp raise the curtain somewhat on the last three songs, but the attempts at redemption -- "Sylvia," "Glory Days," "The Day After the Revolution" -- don't feel as natural as everything that precedes them. It's enough to keep the album from being a masterpiece, but it's hardly enough to prevent it from being an artistic triumph.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/12/2009
Label:
Plain
UPC:
0646315513110
catalogNumber:
131

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pulp   Primary Artist
Anne Dudley   Piano
Mandy Bell   Background Vocals
Neneh Cherry   Track Performer
Carol Kenyon   Background Vocals
Jackie Rawe   Background Vocals
Chris Thomas   Piano

Technical Credits

Chris Thomas   Producer
Pulp   String Arrangements
Anne Dudley   String Arrangements
Nicholas Dodd   Orchestration
Olle Romo   Programming
Matthew Vaughan   Programming
Miti   Engineer
Mark Haley   Programming
Chris Thomas   Producer
Peter Saville   Director
Pete Lewis   Engineer
Magnus Fiennes   Programming
Peter Thomas   Engineer

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