May 1998
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Music review--Pulp -- This is Hardcore

By Lawrence Cabanero

Unlike the more playful Different Class, Jarvis and Company's latest project is darker, deeper, and more grown up. Their previous Brit-hits like "Disco 2000" and "Common People" brought images of kids on their tricycles bobbing their heads to their gitty rhythms. This is Hardcore strips away all the innocence of the Brit-pop that Pulp defined on Different Class.

The album's opener "The Fear" introduces this growth with the sounds of a deserted carnival, a carousel in slow motion. It progresses into a surprisingly expressive and explosive chorus compared to their previous trademark wall-to-wall anti-climatic chattering. What Pulp keeps is what made them so promising to begin with: their knack for creating clever, humorous, and ponderable lyrics. "A monkey's built a house on your back. You can't get anyone to come in the sack and here comes a panic attack," Cocker croons.

As the modern day Charlie Chaplin of music, Pulp masterfully blends humor and tragedy and set it to a sometimes mysterious and sometimes more cheerful soundtrack, especially on songs like "Help The Aged" and "TV Movie", where the band teases you with it's jarbled emotion and message. As a whole, This is Hardcore is successful on several levels. Establishing themselves as brilliant songwriters and musicians in an industry where neither seems to reign supreme. It's insanely genius, squeezing out more spunk than a traveling hockey team.

With the weak self-titled Blur album and the less than spicy Oasis effort from last year, unless other Brit-poppers learn to shake off the bubble bath and find path less traveled, expect Pulp to be the only one left standing and laughing in the end and to be the only UK popsters to be around "the day after the revolution." [A][95]

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