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We Love Life [US Bonus Tracks]
     

We Love Life [US Bonus Tracks]

by Pulp
 

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Pulp may have reached an artistic and popular zenith with the witty and irresistible "Common People" from 1995's Different Class, the British band's brilliant musical essay on class warfare. But equally remarkable is their creative endurance, even after nearly 20 years of left-of-center pop. Three years in the making, We Love

Overview

Pulp may have reached an artistic and popular zenith with the witty and irresistible "Common People" from 1995's Different Class, the British band's brilliant musical essay on class warfare. But equally remarkable is their creative endurance, even after nearly 20 years of left-of-center pop. Three years in the making, We Love Life -- can't you just see frontman Jarvis Cocker's knowing grin? -- largely eschews the social studies and glam-rock glitter of Pulp's best-known material in favor of aching introspection and a surprising psychedelic turn. With mood man Scott Walker producing, Pulp reimagines Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd for a post-rave generation on the dense, atmospheric "Weeds II," where Cocker's hushed narrative swims amid layers of tweaked keyboards. Nature imagery abounds -- on the edgy, guitar-filled "Weeds," on the shimmery musing on love "The Trees," on the sex/love story "The Birds in Your Garden" -- but don't let the pastoral paeans fool you; Cocker still writes for urban misfits. "I am a f**k-up; just the same as you," he admits on "Bob Lind." Overall, the mood is meditative, suffused in sadness, but not without the occasional ray of sunshine; though the lush sonics are built of rich guitars and choral harmonies rather than snappy synth beats. But as noir as it sounds -- what with Cocker dissecting dying and decayed relationships and musing on the dead and deceased -- Pulp wind down on a resigned but positive note with the guitar-fueled "Sunrise," which glows like a Chemical Brothers comedown track. "You've been awake all night, so why should you crash out at dawn?" Cocker wonders. We Love Life marks Pulp's own rebirth, and it's definitely worth staying up for.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It was clear that This Is Hardcore was a difficult, turbulent experience for Pulp -- it was such a troubled-sounding record that it was hard to tell where they would go next. Apparently that was as true for the band as it was for the listeners, since Pulp spent over three years preparing an album, cutting nearly a full record with longtime producer Chris Thomas before scrapping it all and entering the studio with cult hero (and Jarvis Cocker inspiration) Scott Walker. The pairing was intriguing but problematic, since Walker is not known as a producer and his recent recordings, such as Tilt and Pola X, were as inscrutable as Cocker was lucidly literate. Miraculously, the pairing resulted in the vibrant, reaffirming reinvention of We Love Life, an album that hints at music from Pulp's distant past (it's much closer to It than anything they've done since, though it has elements of the epics scattered through His 'n' Hers) while finding a new voice for the band and Jarvis as a lyricist. It's easy to see that this is a mature album, but that suggests a studied self-consciousness and safe, coffee-table artiness. This is maturation in a different sense -- Cocker has lived through dark times, as was evident in This Is Hardcore, and still sees difficulty in the present and past (the haunting centerpiece of "Wickerman"), but here he embraces life, even seeing his place in the grand scheme of things. Previously, Pulp's sleek music had been as darkly romantic as a drunken late night in a metropolis, and Cocker's lyrics were wittily urbane, embracing and mocking the idiosyncrasies of contemporary life, but here the music is considerably more organic -- Candida Doyle's synth, a former signature, can barely be heard -- and Cocker's elaborately detailed lyrics are trim and focused, filled with nature imagery. This is hardly a pastoral album, though, even with the occasional string section and acoustic guitars, nor does this sound like Pulp's version of a Scott Walker album. Instead, this is an emotional and musical breakthrough, finding the band leaping beyond the claustrophobic Hardcore and consolidating their previous obsessions, creating a textured, reflective record that in its own measured way is as impassioned as Different Class -- it's just that Jarvis is railing against the impulses within himself, and he winds up finding a way out. As such, We Love Life is warm and embracing, even when it delves into darkness, never nearly as despairing as Hardcore, and nearly as affirming as Different Class. And if that record was the mis-shapen misfit finally letting the world know that he was special, this is that same misfit turning inward, realizing that the world itself is special. Not the kind of thing that results in a massive hit, but it's tremendously rewarding all the same. [The 2002 reissue appends two more tracks, "Yesterday" and "Forever in My Dreams."]
Rolling Stone - Barry Walters
Few songwriters articulate underachievement with Cocker's flair, a quality We Love Life both chronicles and embodies.
Spin Magazine - Jessica Winter
Preposterous and sensational, We Love Life grapples with nothing less than how best to prove you're alive. (9)
Village Voice - Dennis Lim
A magnum opus four years in the making, We Love Life is, like This Is Hardcore's epic cold sweat, a disco-nnection record, well stocked with mis-shapes, mistakes, misfits. But Pulp's glamorama has never tingled so invitingly, thanks to the full-body massage administered by producer Scott Walker.
Mojo
Musically, it's the richest record of Pulp's career.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/20/2002
Label:
Sanctuary Records
UPC:
0060768320420
catalogNumber:
83204

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pulp   Primary Artist
Swingle Singers   Background Vocals
Scott Walker   Keyboards,Double Bass,Guitar (Baritone)
Danny Cummings   Percussion
Andy Findon   Flute,Ocarina
Claudia Fontaine   Background Vocals
Brian Gascoigne   Double Bass
Beverley Skeete   Background Vocals
Gavyn Wright   Leader
Alasdair Malloy   Percussion,Glass Harmonica
Thymios Papadopoulos   Bird Calls
Metro Voices   Choir, Chorus
Richard Hawley   12-string Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Joanna Forbes   Musical Direction
Sylvia Mason James   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Scott Walker   Sound Effects,Producer,String Arrangements
Jarvis Cocker   Art Direction
Candida Doyle   String Arrangements
Brian Gascoigne   String Arrangements,Choir Arrangement
Clive Goddard   Engineer
Howie B   Programming
Geoff Foster   Engineer
Chris Thomas   Engineer
Peter Saville   Art Direction
Pete Lewis   Engineer
Steve Hilton   Programming
Matt Lawrence   Engineer
Joanna Forbes   Vocal Arrangements
Steve Price   Engineer
Peter Walsh   Producer,Engineer

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