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Pulp : Hits
Common people? Hardly
Following the huge success of 1995's 'Different Class', Pulp opened the curtains and let the dark in. With their gaudy pop threads eschewed for hushed orchestration and solemn introspection, 1998's 'This is Hardcore' marked the end of their halcyon chart occupation yet, conversely, the beginning of Cocker's most creatively fecund period. The messy electro-grind of the magnificent, Bowie-aping 'Party Hard', the bleak paternal odyssey that is 'A Little Soul': this wasn't hardcore, this was the low (g)rumble of encroaching middle-age and it fitted Pulp like a leatherette glove. Here, 'Sunrise', 'The Trees' (from last year's understated 'We Love Life') and doleful new track 'Last Day of the Miners' Strike' embody Cocker's most recent meditations; thoughtful, intense and 'mature' yet infused with a quiet optimism. Evolution, as Alan Partridge would put it, not revolution.
Ultimately, 'Hits' serves as both celebration and lament. While it proffers a suitably clamorous fanfare for one of the greatest of all British pop bands, it also marks the end of the most public chapter of Pulp's strange tale. Wherever life takes restless, permanently questioning father-to-be Jarvis Cocker, 'Hits' remains true to Pulp's word; that even when they were looking back, their eyes were trained on the future. Common people? Hardly.
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