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This Is Hardcore (Deluxe Edition)

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Albenrezension

Universal U.K. reissued the three key '90s Pulp albums as double-disc Deluxe Editions in 2006. The Deluxe Editions for His 'n' Hers and Different Class are both excellent, filled with terrific B-sides and unearthed demos, but they both function as superb supplements to acknowledged classics. In contrast, everybody acknowledges that This Is Hardcore is a difficult record — dark soul-searching albums often are — one that sustains a claustrophobic atmosphere almost too well, but then kind of falls apart at the end. Here, the proper album is enhanced by the presence of the 14 B-sides and outtakes on the second disc of the Deluxe Edition; when added to the fascinating, flawed album, the overall set becomes a mammoth journey into the heart of darkness rendered more compelling by the additional material. Some of this new material — and there are six unheard songs and demos here — is a little rough, but their unfinished quality seems to be an appropriate fit for the conflicted emotions Jarvis Cocker unveils on these songs. With the exception of "You Are the One," a surging pop tune that falls halfway between the sound of His 'n' Hers and the sensibility of Different Class, all of these demos are quite nasty and dark — and with another exception, the character sketch of a hipster on "Street Operator," they're all naked explorations of the emotional crisis Cocker laid bare on This Is Hardcore. Literally quite naked: there's a pair of genitally-obsessed tunes in "Can I Have My Balls Back, Please?" and "My Erection," the former a drifting melancholy pop tune the latter a dark disco number sung through a vocoder that only makes it creepier. Then, Cocker paints a rather horrifyingly cynical portrait of domestic bliss on "Modern Marriage" (in his typically candid, witty liner notes, he reveals that he backed out of the engagement after recording this, and it's little wonder), and the fully-finished outtake "It's a Dirty World," a portrait of a stripper that sounds every bit as ugly, sordid and self-loathing as "The Fear" or "This Is Hardcore." There are some lighter moments here, too, and they're better than the lighter moments on the proper album: they come in the form of the stomping Slade-meets-Sweet glam fantasia "We Are the Boyz," recorded for the Velvet Tinmine soundtrack, and the richly cinematic "Tomorrow Never Dies," which was stupidly rejected as a James Bond theme (which was why it was originally released as "Tomorrow Never Lies" as a "Help the Aged" B-side). These, like the other previously released non-LP material here — the impassioned melancholy of "Like a Friend," the slow sleazy crawl of "The Professional," the sterile alienating pulse of "Ladies' Man" (like "My Erection," sung through a vocoder), the quietly contemplative "Laughing Boy" — all grow in stature by being accompanied by the outtakes, but nothing is as much as a revelation as "Cocaine Socialism." Originally intended for the LP, Cocker got cold feet and rewrote it as "Glory Days," one of the forced bits of positivity on the record, then released the lyric with new music as a B-side for "A Little Soul." Here, the words are reunited with their original music and the results are glorious: a "Common People" that purposely avoids pop hooks in favor of unrestrained fury, which gives Cocker's vicious satire of the self-satisfaction of Tony Blair's newly ascendant New Labor Party shocking force. Nearly a decade on, it still packs a wallop, reading as an epitaph for '90s liberal ideals — not only for Blair believers but for Clintonites in America, too. This is an unheard masterpiece and it's only the icing on the cake to a deluxe edition that turns a flawed but worthy album into a sprawling, complex, riveting double album — one that is still flawed, but deeper and more exciting and vital than it was in its initial incarnation.

Biografie

Gegründet: 1978 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Rock

Jahre aktiv: '80s, '90s, '00s

Most bands hit the big time immediately and fade away, or they build a dedicated following and slowly climb their way to the top. Pulp didn't follow either route. For the first 12 years of their existence, Pulp languished in near total obscurity, releasing a handful of albums and singles in the '80s to barely any attention. At the turn of the decade, the group began to gain an audience, sparking a remarkable turn of events that made the band one of the most popular British groups of the '90s. By...
Komplette Biografie
This Is Hardcore (Deluxe Edition), Pulp
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