St Valentine’s Day, The Boss and Pulp

I’m not sure if I’ve ever said it explicitly here, or even if anyone but family and my close friends know, but I don’t get on very well with my dad. In fact, it’s not even so much that I don’t get on with my dad as that I don’t have any kind of relationship with him at all. I haven’t had basically since I went to university in 1995. Yet, I have always held a very fond memory of listening to dad’s tape of Born in The USA repeatedly- do I need to tell you who was responsible for this record? Of course not. Good.

I’ve always thought this album- so present in my family’s history that my mum said something like “Not that bloody album again!” when she saw that I’d bought it on cd- represented good memories of my dad. Now I realise it’s just the fact that it is a bloody good album, perhaps even a great one. Every time I hear a track from it on the radio and start singing along, I get Jo’s dad expressing surprise that I could enjoy such an album. Particularly as I’m into… well, the music that I’m into, which you’ll be familiar with by now. I hope! But who couldn’t love Bruce Springsteen’s songs on this album? Songs like Dacing In The Dark and Cover Me and Bobbie Jean- with that ridiculous sax solo and, of course, the American army confusing title track. Only an organisation as institutionally stupid as that one could have misread it. I suppose it’s a bit like Pulp’s Sorted For E’s & Whizz being said to glorify drugs by the British media. Idiots.

Speaking of which…

Reader of had been voting for their best Pulp song and the results came in yesterday. Unsurprisingly, Common People took the top honours, which I’m not sure I agree with. I get that it’s the one that everyone remembers, the one that really turned Pulp into household names and that it is, when all is said and done, a brilliant song. But, for me, all of the majesty of Pulp’s music, the sharpness of Jarvis songwriting is distilled into the 6 minutes and 24 seconds of This Is Hardcore. Which still sounds absolutely staggering 14 years later. Although I did also once say, on this very blog, that I thought Pulp’s best album was “Hardcore”. I now know that’s not right, so my judgement is, possibly, untrustworthy. I love the overall atmosphere of the album, it’s much more to my taste than Different Class, but I’m not sure you can argue with the overall quality of the 1995 album which doesn’t have a bad song on it. Even if you’re not a particular fan of the singles- which I’m not.

With songs like Weeds and Weeds II, the euphoric Sunrise, Wickerman (I’m so obsessed with this song right now, it’s only Depeche Mode’s Pimpf keeping me from listening to it on repeat) and I Love Life on the album We Love Life, I’d love to make a case for that being Pulp’s best album. But I can’t, because it isn’t.

Anyway. Jo and I went out for a meal last night, we celebrated St Valentine’s Day in Zizzi’s. We are, if nothing else, a classy couple. We came home and put a cd on. It’s only just occurred to me that, after 8 Valentine’s Days together, we don’t need to have a debate about what’s going on the cd player as we have similar tastes in music. So, the compromise that I once had to make- ok, you can listen to Celine Dion/ Bon Jovi, as long as I get Portishead afterwards is unnecessary. Thinking about it, that’s undoubtedly a good thing these days and not just for the obvious reason.

Oh, just in case you were wondering, we were listening to The Lyre Of Orpeheus by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Like I said, classy.

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