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Post Info TOPIC: We Love 20 Years
Ian


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"We Love Life" was released on 22nd October 2001 - 20 years ago today.

I thought it was their best album at the time and listening back recently, I think that it still has it's strong points but a couple of songs let it down. "Weeds II" doesn't do it for me, the novelty worn off fairly quickly and whilst "I Love Life" is a great live song, I think it lost something in the studio. My favourite song from the album now would be "Weeds" or possibly "Sunrise".

I think that the album could have sold a lot better if they had released different singles: they should have released "Sunrise" in 2000, even if they had done the same as they did for "Sorted" (live version mixed with a studio recording). Sure, it's a bit long but I think the mood was right at that time. "Weeds" and "Birds in Your Garden" would have both got plenty of airplay.

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Pye


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Its a good album, wickerman is up there for me and I completely agree on weeds and BIYG, I think BCV is also great but messed it up with the version they released. Sunrise shouldnt have been a double A side with trees, it should have been released on its own (in my opinion) I always skip Bob Lind as well.. I think the B sides, Yesterday and Forever in my dreams were also great as well as the remixed version of trees. Happy birthday WLL, I remember buying it from HMV in Blackpool on the day it was released, doesnt feel like 20 years ago though!

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I'm still waiting for the Deluxe edition...

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This is a really good article that made me listen to it afresh - thequietus.com/articles/30690-pulp-we-love-life

I don't really remember the day it came out - it got leaked beforehand (via this forum!) so I'd already downloaded it then bought the vinyl later. Wickerman and Roadkill have always been my standouts. As Owen Hatherley says in his book, Wickerman seems to be the sound of a band remembering what it does best, and I realised today that the same is true of Jarvis and Roadkill - atmospheric minutiae and lamenting dead relationships! And Weeds (I and II), Trees and Bad Cover Version all still hit the mark for me. Weeds II kind of makes more sense now than it did then - imagine if it was on Beyond the Pale.

I do think there are bits where the sound, or the treatment of the songs, doesn't quite do the material justice. Minnie, for example, is quite a dark, grimy tale really but the song seems determined to be a really light, jigalong thing. I Love Life, for me, doesn't quite do what it should either. I don't think you can blame Walker for that - his brief was to capture the feel of the band playing live and coax the best performances out of them, and he seems to have done that very well. It's not like they were playing the songs any differently onstage, really. I do wish Walker could've brought a bit more of his weird, dark atmospheric stuff to bear in parts of the album (love the bass stuff in Bob Lind), but I guess there was a sense of the band wanting to avoid anything too close to This Is Hardcore.

Anyway, happy birthday We Love Life. The dignified bowing out; the choice of stoicism over failure; the happy ending. No massage parlour required.

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Hardcore

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Kind of criminal that Birds In Your Garden wasn't a single. Ideally 4 singles should have released like the previous few albums, and they should have been Sunrise, The Trees, Birds In Your Garden and Bad Cover Version in that order.

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Pulp had to battle with Universal to release a second single, never mind four! 

For me, Minnie and I Love Life don't fulfil their intended purpose and I need to be in the right mood to enjoy all the Weeds and Roadkill. The rest of the album works for me, more or less. We never really got the record that reflected their quick creative spurt in 1999 after Hardcore and that's a shame as I think it would have been stronger and more commercial than what became We Love Life (notwithstanding the big overlap in songs). I have a feeling if WLL is properly celebrated with deluxe treatment one day, there will be a disc called 'The Quiet Revolution' containing a lot of 1999/2000 demos.

Personally, I'll always have cherished memories of this album though. It was the first and only time I bought a Pulp album at its time of release as a committed fan. I was awaiting it for months, even managed to get it on the Friday before the Monday UK release date and I vividly remember listening to it on CD discman that night, in bed with the lights off. Hoping and praying that Birds In Your Garden was the worthy successor to Something Changed (my favourite Pulp song at that point) that early reviews had hinted at. And being so happy to hear this was in fact the case. And Wickerman's maiden listen also leaving me entranced. I think I was stuck with them for life after that listen.

 

They were making great music in the present day and I was only too happy to bore my mates at school about them and lend them the album with pride. I'd been too young to enjoy Pulp's early 90s live peak, their fashionable Britpop period and their art of falling apart Hardcore era. We Love Life wasn't sexy or uber-exciting but it was lush and contained enough quality to keep me in-tow.



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The Only Way is Down

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Sturdy wrote:

Anyway, happy birthday We Love Life. The dignified bowing out; the choice of stoicism over failure; the happy ending. No massage parlour required.


 

Hmm...he still couldn't resist offering money in exchange for sex and getting a taxi home, though.



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I love WWL & it still get regular plays at our house. There's the odd bit of production that winds me up sometimes. Why does that last note on Minnie Timperley cut off so abruptly? You can hear the microphone open at the beginning of Birds In Your Garden, Trees could have maybe done with some more vocal takes as it just sounds ever so slightly out (this one's fine I suppose but it niggles) & I Love Life never again had that great bassy rib shuddering impact that it did the first time I heard it at Leeds 2000.

Having said all of that, it might be the reason ot still gets regular plays. It's not perfect but that'd be perfectly boring. Scott Walker's sound shines through on Bad Cover Version, Wickerman & Sunrise.

I love it's juxtaposition with This Is Hardcare being so bright & breezy in sound & nature in comparison.

In another world, with less faff & with all of those great songs that were left off, it could have been a double album. Hey... I wonder if they've ever considered a deluxe version?! Hey... maybe it'll happen before another 20 years roll by.

God how I love... We Love Life





-- Edited by weed on Friday 22nd of October 2021 10:51:57 PM

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Happy Birthday We Love Life !!! I recall downloading individual mp3s of the album from somewhere just before it was released. However before all of that, we were all treated to that 12" white label release of Sunrise promo with The Trees remix being on the reverse. I had to set up my pre amp and vinyl deck to play it and I swear down I couldnt have been more disappointed with it. Sunrise eventually grew on me, but we had the luxury of hearing it played at Homelands, Leeds, Flux ..... and it sounded amazing. Walker did a right number on that song - and it spoilt it, however as with most songs - it grew on me.

With everything that was recorded in the sessions that could have been used for WLL, a trick was definately missed. Trees was always a sweet charming song which was probably right to release - but a double A with Sunrise was not the way to go. I can remember the first time I heard the radio edit of Sunrise, and I cringed when it faded out half way through the instrumental !!!! I can just picture some chief executive within Universal going "oooo look, two songs called Sunrise and Trees - they go well together!" without even listening to the songs. Sunrise should never have been released as a single. Trees / Birds / Cuckoo could have been an amazing single release .

Bad Cover Version is just amazing, I only wish the keys and synths were louder - the video mix was a better version, just a shame it had the bad covered vocals. I cant add much more to what others have said - Minnie and I Love Life lost it on the record. Wickerman is the song that makes the album complete. Its nice to hear how it evolved from the demo to the final version . I think a ball got dropped with the album, BUT - it needs a deluxe release for sure - so much is being held away from us.

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I agree with the comments on the production. I think for some songs (Minnie, Trees, BCV) its striking how thin / wayward the vocals sound (although oddly they are great on Wickerman and Roadkill). On more recent stuff like Room 29 and Beyond the Pale I think Jarvis sounds fantastic - maybe depth given by 20 more years on the gaspers, but I wonder if its also down to better production. I remember him mentioning in interviews that he was intimidated by having to sing in front of Scott Walker - perhaps it was all just a bit awkward and no one wanted to say maybe try that one again?.

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Pye wrote:

 Sunrise shouldnt have been a double A side with trees, it should have been released on its own (in my opinion) 


 Me and my ex accosted Jarvis at the desperate they did around the time of the release.  Ex said that they should release sunrise and jarvis sat down with us (oh be still my beating heart) and said that they really wanted to but the label wouldn't let them.  He said something about how they hadn't been happy to release This is Hardcore as a single as it was too long.  So they compromised on the double A side

 

 



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Pye


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weener wrote:
Pye wrote:

 Sunrise shouldnt have been a double A side with trees, it should have been released on its own (in my opinion) 


 Me and my ex accosted Jarvis at the desperate they did around the time of the release.  Ex said that they should release sunrise and jarvis sat down with us (oh be still my beating heart) and said that they really wanted to but the label wouldn't let them.  He said something about how they hadn't been happy to release This is Hardcore as a single as it was too long.  So they compromised on the double A side

 

 


 Interesting bit of info, cheers!



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That is interesting. I do wonder if things had been any different if Pulp had got the kind of career-long nurturing support from Universal that, say, Blur got with Food/EMI. They were obviously good for them in the early Island days but had lost the plot (or lost interest) by 2000/01. Maybe we'd even had another album or two - it seems like Universal mucking them around was a factor in the decision to stop in '02, before which I seem to remember Jarvis talking about going back to some of the unreleased WLL songs to get another album out quickly.

At this remove though, I don't know if it really matters what singles were chosen. So many things would have had to be different for that album to sell significantly better than it did (label support, the band's/Jarvis' ambivalent attitude to the biz, the amount of time that had passed since Hardcore, the fact that the Zeitgeist had massively moved on from the Britpop moment, the nature of the music itself.... etc etc etc) I'm not sure it would ever have happened really.

It's been nice to see quite a few retrospective articles this week though - more than I remember there being for Hardcore. Maybe it's becoming more appreciated with age than it was at the time.

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The Only Way is Down

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Are there other ones apart from the Quietus one? (which was well-considered. Lost me with a lot of those arty references, though!)

I remember circa Feb 2002, Alex posted on PulpPeople that the group were working on new songs. Presumably the agreement to part ways with Universal came soon afterwards. As by August that year, all they had for the Hits comp was Miners' Strike and a second song half-cooked which was apparently scrapped. The torture of Hardcore  the false starts with We Love Life and finally, the lukewarm attitude of the label when it came to further material must have left the group feeling pretty shit.

Agree with what you say about Pulp's commercial clout possibly being doomed regardless. More than anyone, Jarvis became synonymous with Britpop. Oasis were big enough to outgrow it. Blur quickly went lofi and left field and Damon became very productive and pivoted to a cartoon band which became the most successful move imaginable.

Sadly for our group, it's as if the Jackson-thing froze Jarvis' image to that time. From then on, while his psyche grappled with the fallout from it, the public became more interested in his personality than Pulp's music. And even 25 years on he commands front-page of a broadsheet cultural spread but the Brits is always mentioned in such articles and he's usually asked about it because nothing he's done since has matched that for 'general interest' impact. Maybe if JK Rowling had pushed for The Wyrd Sisters to play a bigger part in Harry Potter, he could have had a second celebrity life. But he didn't want that anyway. So, because he gives good quotes and retains the "cool outsider with something to say" cache in media circles, his profile is high enough to warrant decent exposure when he has something to sell. I think he said it best before - something about being at a doorway at a party and unsure whether to enter or to shut it.



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200% and Bloody Thirsty

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There was this on Stereogum - t.co/JE1B815fWy

Big 6Music Twitter thread too.

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200% and Bloody Thirsty

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I've just been reminded of the petition for a deluxe WLL. Of course it's old news now, but why the heck not -

pulpwiki.net/Site/WLLPetition

youtu.be/wOTQ9Zk8t-c

twitter.com/welovelifepulp

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Deep Fried

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I had no love for the lp at the time, i went to one of the live shows at the time and that still didn't muster any extra affection..
Of course we've subsequently heard a handful of potential songs that didn't appear at that time..
A real shame i think we can all agree that Cuckoo & Quiet revolution are ace..
Anyroad, Wickerman remains perhaps the only lp track that i still entertain..

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Professional

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Thanks for posting. Glad to see Wickerman highlighted, as that's probably the song which drew me most at the time. The underground spirit of a place. Urban history, urban legends, the unwritten secrets of a place only known by those who live there. When you live in a place for a long time you can see both what is, and also what was, layers of life.

Stereogum: "Cocker talked often about how he was looking to nature more a jarring shift for a band that was always sleek and urbane"

I never saw Pulp as sleek and urbane. Urban yes, but not urbane; Pulp for me were a bit furtive and seedy. The only thing sleek was Steve Mackey's hair. I was drawn to the aesthetic they called 'charity shop chic' at the time, home made, assembled on a budget, finding treasure among the detritus. Sleek and urbane would repel me; the uniqueness of Pulp is the compelling thing - Candida had great style, but if you put those clothes on anyone else they would probably look daft.

Regarding the label problems and the decision to split, I'm sure I read somewhere that the contract was a problem. Didn't the band have some kind of 'escalator' clause in their contract, where they got paid more with each album? As Pulp became less commercial (and weren't all record sales in decline, after the Britpop bubble), the label got less of a cut, thus Pulp weren't wanted anymore. Were Fire still getting a cut by the time WLL came out?

 



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Rings a bell. I remember my 18 year-old brain struggling to understand the phrase "ascending advances" in the rather terse press statement released by Pulp at the time. The title of it was "Pulp 'Do One" and said that they didn't want to bore the arse off everyone but that the relationship with the label was over.

Sadly, so too was their recording career (save for After You which I'd love to read a "Story Behind The Song" article about. Even James Murphy hasn't given (m)any quotes as to how that session came about).

Perhaps Rough Trade should have taken advantage of the situation in 2002 and offered to put new Pulp music out through them. Maybe they didn't have the budget and/or Pulp had had enough music biz shit to last a lifetime by then, anyway.



-- Edited by Eamonn on Sunday 24th of October 2021 03:35:05 PM

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The Only Way is Down

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Another retrospective piece on WLL...blimey, they're all gagging for it twenty years on. Better late than never I guess.

https://www.popmatters.com/pulp-we-love-life-atr20

A couple of eyebrow-raising assertions (This Is Hardcore is a dirge and Party Hard a bad Bowie cover version?! And Trees and Birds...are "evergreen radio staples"?! If only...Cardi B and Adele still hogging the airwaves as far as I can tell...).

Still, nice to see a long/strong argument for Pulp's folk credentials.



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Street Operator

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I always think of this album as a disappointment, a collection of good & occasionally great songs recorded badly. Also often poorly chosen out of the material they had available.
The choice of singles was unforgivable too, tho' I'm sure that was the label & not the band. Plus, with the lack of keyboards, it didn't even sound like Pulp!
What's worse is how great they were live at that time - honestly, a concert album would have been a better release.

The production was dreadful. I starkly remember (& thoroughly agree with) Candida complaining about "out-of-tune, bass-y stuff. (Obviously on Bob "could have been a single if it was mixed better" Lind & I Love Life.)
The 17 minutes of quiet bird song before Birds In Your Garden were more frustrating than The Chord After The Revolution. With proper production, that could have been a huge hit. I was doing a lot of acoustic shows back in the day, people always requested it.

Bad Cover Version & Minnie turned out pretty well, tho'. If only Minnie was the first single. Sunrise (I still don't get why it's considered one of the best) was too long for radio, Trees (although I love the track) was a shitehouse choice for a single. It really seems to me that they failed on purpose because they wanted to go into semi-retirement. Either that or out & out record company sabotage.

'Twas the end of the music industry as we knew it.

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Ian


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James wrote:

Sunrise (I still don't get why it's considered one of the best) was too long for radio, Trees (although I love the track) was a shitehouse choice for a single. It really seems to me that they failed on purpose because they wanted to go into semi-retirement. Either that or out & out record company sabotage.


'Twas the end of the music industry as we knew it.





I think that the Island guy in Sturdy's book was quite vocal about the band wanting "Sunrise" as a single but everyone at the label wanted "The Trees" so the double a-side was a compromise. Don't get me started on that video...

I'd have been brave and gone with "Sunrise" as the sole a-side, they could have cut the instrumental in half to make a radio edit. It had established itself as a popular live song and it did get airplay on Radio 1. With a video and some decent promotion behind it, then I think it would have done quite well.

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Street Operator

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Cheers Ian, clearly I need to re-read Truth & Beauty lol.
& yeah, a radio edit of Sunrise would have made more sense (& given a video director more to work with, got to agree with you again!!!!) than The Trees.
But why was Trees the compromise? As I said, I'd've picked Minnie, but even Weeds would've been better.

Also, I'm ill so might be rambling/flying off on one a bit ;)

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James wrote:

The 17 minutes of quiet bird song before Birds In Your Garden were more frustrating than The Chord After The Revolution. With proper production, that could have been a huge hit.


17 minutes?  Gosh I must have the wrong CD/LP.  I always liked We Love Life, and it always reminds me of my 2 year old son belting out the lyrics to Birds in Your Garden and Bad Cover Version along with SFAs Not The End of the World which was out at the same time.  I always thought it was a shame it didnt herald a new start for Pulp after Hardcore which did feel like the end.  Probably sounded good as we just moved into our house and pretty much all was good in the world.  Still is as we are still in the house. 

Shame there wasnt a deluxe version to wrap up loose ends, but for me as good as anything from Countdown onwards.



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