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This Is Hardcore

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Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker likes to have a laugh. At his expense, at yours, at life itself. Whether it’s tragedy turning to farce or his youth getting old, Cocker sees something in the transformation that makes for engaging cinema. As the leader of Pulp, he’s determined to wring the full entertainment value out of the situation with mannerisms that send things over the top. “I’m not Jesus, though I’ve got the same initials,” he sings with a wink, “I am the man who stays home and does the dishes.” 1998’s This is Hardcore was considered a bit of a comedown after the ebullient pop and social class study of 1995’s Different Class, but it’s a matter of texture and expectation. This is Hardcore is the darker, more confused album. How does a young pop star deal with the fact that getting what you want doesn’t guarantee satisfaction? With music that borrows from early Roxy Music, Mott the Hoople and the Kinks, Pulp celebrate their British roots in style. There’s an epic grandeur to “The Fear,” a quiet desperation to “Help the Aged,” “Seductive Barry” and “A Little Soul,” and a hip, knowing confident leer to “I’m a Man” that made the group one of Britain’s true bright spots in the 1990s.

Customer Reviews

You Name the Drama, & I'll Play the part

This album can be depressing, but also Humorous & Anthemic & Spectacular. Pulp are Huge in the UK but never caught on over here. I Heard them first as a sad kid, and as an adult it still stands up amazingly. "This Is Hardcore" is one the most Sexual & Cinematic tracks I've ever heard, "Help The Aged" a sad but clever look at the Elderly, and "The Day After the Revolution" is real Anthem, a great & uplifting end to the album. "Like a Friend" is just like that: A song that feels like an Old Friend. If you like Bowie or Boring British Bands like Blur & Oasis, do yourself a favor & check out Pulp, the Real Deal, Art Rock with a Sense of Humor & Drama.


Ok for starters I am not a die-hard Pulp fan. This album, when I first bought it did not strike me as good. Over time though I have slowly appreciated Jarvis Cocker's genius. He rates right up there along with Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn, musically and definitely lyrically. Any fan of the brit-pop scene should definitely check this out. Actually, His 'n" Hers, Different Class and This Is Hardcore are all essential. P.S Jarvis Cocker's solo album is also quality.

difficult, but still good.

It's only when you stop and think of each track individually that you notice this album's shortcomings. Together, they form a cohesive, dark, and fully excellent album. Apart they may not be so lucky. Someone once said that after the success of Different Class, frontman Jarvis Cocker set out to make a more inaccessible record. And while he did succeed in doing that with this album, the band couldn't have picked a worse album opener. "The Fear," while not exactly the anthem that "Common People" was, nevertheless appeals to the uncertain side of us all. Highlights include the aforementioned "The Fear," title track "This is Hardcore," and album closer "Like a Friend" (originally wasted as a b-side to the inferior but still quite good "A Little Soul"). This isn't the album you want if you're just getting into Pulp, but it's a great second step -- provided you're willing to give it the chance it deserves.


Formed: 1978 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '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...
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