\ Hip Displeasure: Hip-D Top 20 of 2006 » #13 » Jarvis Cocker - "Jarvis"

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hip-D Top 20 of 2006 » #13 » Jarvis Cocker - "Jarvis"

Even though Jarvis Cocker hasn't shut the door on a Pulp reunion, Jarvis certainly seems to be his way of separating himself from the band that he fronted for nearly 25 years. From the arrow pointing to him looking back at something on the album's cover, to the plentiful orchestral arrangements, there are several signs that this isn't meant to be We Love Life's successor. (Although, its sound is quite reminiscent of We Love Life.) Now, that isn't to say Jarvis is suddenly anything less than a great songwriter. It's just that he's writing a different type of song.

On the first real track (not counting the 30-second piano bookends), "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time" (originally written for Nancy Sinatra), Jarvis sings of a girl looking for love perhaps with the wrong man. In a Pulp song, this might come off as being sung scornfully by a former lover. On Jarvis, it's completely objective. Instead of essentially saying "You could've been happy with me," the message is to be happy with yourself. It's maturation for Jarvis Cocker. Even the music is rather sedate. The sparse yet stately soundscapes fill the space once occupied by heavy hooks. Only "Fat Children" really rocks out.

As a husband and father, he's no longer writing about touching girls in closets or watching them undress through windows. Themes of domestication ("Keep your family safe from harm / Get into classical music / Raise rabbits on a farm / Log on in the nighttime / Drink a half-bottle of wine") and happiness ("Outside there’s children laughing / The radio plays my favourite song / The sun is shining") make rare sincere appearances in Cocker-penned tunes, along with the usual clever jabs at society ("I had a little altercation... They wanted my brand new phone with all the pictures of the kids and the wife"). Thankfully, though, he still knows how to write dirty. Whether it's starting a song named "Disney Time" with an observation about pornography's etymology or describing the creepy men who lust after the title character on "Big Julie," Jarvis returns to his roots sporadically throughout the album.

Are you growing up? Are you finding music doesn't resonate with you the same way it once did? It's OK. As long as you aren't growing old, Jarvis is here for you.

-- Z (special correspondent pinch-hitting for jasmine*)

*jasmine is on the DL, due to emergency dental surgery. All of us here at Hip-D wish her a speedy recovery from the aforementioned procedure to repair her British teeth.

Z's Favorite Track: "Tonite"

This album appeared on the following staffers's lists:

  • jasmine (#4)
  • Darrin Frew (#4)


Blogger whykiki said...

I've read all eight capsule reviews featured, thus far, on the HD Top 20, but the album critiqued above is the first that I have not heard but want to hear. My affinity for Pulp harkens back to "This is hardcore" -- even at sixteen, I was a half-beat short of touching young women in closets (Jennifer, I was an arse) -- but "Different class" & "We love life" cemented my enthusiasm.

As it goes, it seems that this solo debut is a 180 turn from the group's work, but such it shall be. I heard Jarvis work on the "Goblet of Fire" soundtrack, & wasn't taken aback, so I'll give this next Pulp-free effort a go.

9:18 AM  

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