Album Reviews



We Love Life

RS: 3of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4.5of 5 Stars


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When Pulp's Jarvis Cocker became a mid-Nineties working-class hero in the U.K., the sudden and long-awaited fame nearly destroyed his craft. Whereas Different Class spawned quintessential Brit-pop anthems such as "Common People," its 1998 successor, This Is Hardcore, lacked hooks and hits, and the band recorded its next effort twice.

The resulting rerecording, We Love Life, is both messy and marvelous. The longest track, "Wickerman," sets a detailed interior monologue to orchestration recalling the art-song angst of Sixties cult hero and We Love Life producer Scott Walker. The catchiest cut, "The Birds in Your Garden," follows the plight of a sexually insecure narrator who might be a reluctant romantic but is most likely a deluded rapist, one who claims to hear birds singing, "Touch her inside." Even when the tunes seem comparatively slight and the band sounds dwarfed by august arrangements, Cocker's extended metaphors amaze: While suggesting but not quite playing Thunderclap Newman's psychedelic pop milestone "Something in the Air," he calls an ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend a "Bad Cover Version" of himself. Few songwriters articulate underachievement from the overeducated with Cocker's flair, a quality We Love Life both chronicles and embodies.

(RS 903 - August 22, 2002)

(Posted: Jul 30, 2002)


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