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Post Info TOPIC: This Is Hardcore At 25


The Only Way is Down

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30th of March 1998 was exactly 25 years ago! Help the aged indeed...Some nice writing here:

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/pulp-this-is-hardcore-anniversary-jarvis-cocker-b2309984.html#comments-area

 

Here is my preferred version of the album but I'm still not sure! And I can't pick out a hit single from it. Maybe an edited version of Dirty World from when the drums kick-in but that may be wishful thinking...

 

Side One - Debauchery, nightmares and diminishing returns...

 

1. The Fear

2. It's A Dirty World

3. Party Hard

4. Help The Aged

5. This Is Hardcore

6. Ladies Man *(maybe leave-off...)

 

Side Two - Self-realisation, reflection but perhaps now learning to live outside your head more clearly...

 

7. The Professional

8. A Little Soul 

9. Love Scenes (what Seductive Barry should have been called)

10. Like A Friend

11. Dishes

12. The Day After The Revolution or Glory Days (but not both. I cant decide which...)

 

Cocaine Socialism as a stand-alone interim single summer 1997 would have been fun but it might feel dated on an album that is otherwise quite enduring. Not that co-opting from politicians has fallen out of fashion...There's also the musical similarity to Common People and accusations of being a bad cover version aren't ideal...

 

Anyway, what a record and what a hell of a show. I look forward to them marking it in a special way this year.

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Eamonn on Thursday 30th of March 2023 02:40:54 PM

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Ian


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I would have gone for the following:

1. The Fear
2. Dishes
3. Party Hard
4. Help the Aged
5. It's a Dirty World
6. This is Hardcore
7. The Professional
8. Seductive Barry
9. I'm a Man
10. Sylvia
11. Glory Days
12. The Day After the Revolution

I think that "TV Movie" and "A Little Soul" are too weak to be on the album so would have been better as B-sides.

As for singles, I agree that "It's a Dirty World" should have been their comeback single in 1997 (unedited). Sure, it's a fairly dark song but it also sounds like a bold statement of intent: "We're back! Now deal with this!". Also, they were in a position to release whatever they wanted at the time and it would have sold.

Second single would have been a double A-side - "This is Hardcore" and "Glory Days". I remember Mark making a comment about him not wanting "This is Hardcore" as a single and I'd say that was justified to a point but pairing it with the most radio-friendly song from the album may have made it crack the top 10.

Third single - "Sylvia" around the time of Glastonbury then finally, "Party Hard". I did toy with the idea of "I'm a Man" as a single which would have sold well but I don't think that they could ever get it right live.

I would have also dusted off "Modern Marriage" and had it as a B-side to any of the above singles.

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Also, something that has just occurred to me. Is the "Permanent Darkness Remix" of the title track an official remix or just a bootleg? There are some comments on it here: jamiesrunoutgroove.blogspot.com/2006/05/mp3-pulp-this-is-hardcore-permanent.html

I'm asking this because the original only samples the trumpet loop from the Peter Thomas track but this one contains more of it. I don't have a clue how it works but I presume that the band only sought permission to use the trumpet loop.

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Professional

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"This is Hardcore" was the first thing I ever purchased on the Internet, because the record stores where I lived didn't stock it.

I bought it from a website called CDnow.com, which was eventually swallowed up by a little online bookseller called "Amazon".

The CD arrived in the my post a week before its official release date, which made me feel very special and smug. Didn't know what to make of the album though.

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The Only Way is Down

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Simply Fuss Free wrote:


The CD arrived in the my post a week before its official release date, which made me feel very special and smug. Didn't know what to make of the album though.


 

Still don't?!  You're gonna like it but not a lot... wink



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The Only Way is Down

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Another fawning (overly so?! Critics all love Pulp now) retrospective:

https://www.loudersound.com/features/this-is-hardcore-pulp-britpop-fame



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In January 1999 my Mum took me to see the Andy Warhol exhibition at the MCA in Sydney. I also had a $50 voucher to MYERs because I got a refund on my SeaChange series on VHS that on mass hadn't been transferred over correctly. I remember Mum talking to the MYER women and that they had a lot of returns. So with that $50 voucher I got This is Hardcore and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. As we drove back from Sydney I was sheepishly flicking through the sleeve - keeping it hidden because it was probably something that was not for my 13-14 year old eyes.

Here's my reimagining of TIH. I know Nick says its dense in parts - not sure if he meant the title track or the album - but I love how its overblown-ness.

1.The Fear (The Complete And Utter Breakdown Version)
2. Dishes
3. It's A Dirty World
4. Party Hard - the single mix where Candida's keyboards in the chorus are more punchier and not so lost
5. Ladies Man
6. This Is Hardcore (End of the Line Mix) - like the gigs + spending so much on orchestration?
7. This Is Hardcore
8. The Professional
9. Seductive Barry - but like the Glastonbury 1998 mix - more dub-by - more wah wah - less thin sounding
10. Like A Friend
11. The Day After The Revolution - I have no idea why I like this song so much but the ending I've always found slightly optimistic - dark days are over - light at the end of the tunnel - vibes.

As I write this I am flicking through the catalogue for 'Peter Saville Estate 1-127' exhibition which has a few outtakes from the TIH session as styled by John Currin, Horst Diekgerdes and Peter Saville. Should scan this in for the wiki if its not.

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The Only Way is Down

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Our tracklistings are quite similar!

I think while I'm A Man and Sylvia have their virtues, in essence they come across as the Different Class II (albeit less subtle, not as good and with more, louder guitars) material that the band were keen to avoid. See also, We Are The Boyz.

Mark Webber's guitar writing (presuming it's mostly him and not Jarvis) during this era is really intriguing to me. Some of it is so skilful and well-judged (the chorus of This Is Hardcore, all of Party Hard, the twinkly solo of Dishes, the drone and release of Seductive Barry etc.) that Russell would never have come up with. But then you've got lumpen chugging on I'm A Man, the rawk histrionics of both latter parts of Sylvia and The Day After The Revolution and the kind of obvious, uninspired playing on Glory Days (even Like A Friend arguably - although I guess that sets its stall out as a stomper as soon as the middle instrumental part kicks in).

 

Maybe the commercial considerations of being the favourite band of teenagers was weighing heavily on him as much as Jarvis. To be fair to Mark, his versatility and abilities on the keys as well as guitar is such that I don't think Pulp would have come up with something as layered and well-produced as Ladies Man (for example) without him.

Also, I guess we're all hearing Steve's bass-playing in a new way now. Man, that groove he manages on The Professional just propells the whole thing, doesn't it?

Finally, one of my favourite Pulp songs is Laughing Boy. I think it's probably too mature and understated to be on the album but it's such a little beauty. I think it's one of Hawley's favourites too and you can see why. A real troubadour's song.

 

Pulp really spread their wings as writers and musicians in 1997 under pressurised circumstances. They proved that they could put their hand to multiple styles and I think that's why they all rightly feel (or should feel) a sense of pride about this period.



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Mis-Shape

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Some great track listings here. Fully agree on Laughing Boy as an underrated gem. I dont like Sylvia, but I can see the calculation in having it on there as a meat and potatoes counterpoint to the artier songs. But how TV Movie made it against some of the b-sides is a real puzzler. Its three little song squibs roped together for no good reason.

That said, Im a big Day After the Revolution fan which seems a minority opinion, so what do any of know really!


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The Only Way is Down

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I have a real soft spot for TV Movie but think it's too slight to be on the album considering the merits of the tracks they left off

Jarvis seemed to be a big fan of it, but he might have been too close to the raw nature of the lyrics to have an unbiased view.

Put another way, it's exactly the sort of song that will come across as mawkish to some and no doubt one which Russell would have rolled his eyes at and used as evidence that it wasn't "creatively rewarding to be in Pulp anymore". Which is ironic, as all told, Pulp were as creative as ever in this period.



-- Edited by Eamonn on Saturday 1st of April 2023 04:18:12 PM

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Mis-Shape

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Hold on. Ive just had a couple of glasses of wine and listened to Sylvia all the way through for the first time in about 20 years. Its pretty good! im now going to be livid if not on the Finsbury Park setlist. 



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The Only Way is Down

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I think it does work well live in a big open air setting. I'm expecting a Hardcore-heavy set at Finsbury. Jarvis likes his "On this day" commemorations and it will be almost 25 years to the day since the Finsbury'98 performance.

I actually went for a run in Finsbury Park this morning and asked a security guard whereabouts the gigs take place. I only know it for playing tennis and going on runs/walks. Never been to a gig there.

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Got to agree. Not to just lay into the album, but I was surprised with how safe some of it was- key to this is the fact that The Professional (really my favourite song of this era) was left as a B side- it's more imaginative, interesting and insightful than a lot of the album tracks. The LP had been talked up as a more technology-oriented progression but always seemed uneven and sometimes pedestrian to me with those Bowie pastiches, Smoky Robinson and even a Beatles reference on the Day After the Revolution. You can hear the positive influence of Portishead in Steve's bass line for Help the Aged, the production of the title track and Seductive Barry was interesting but those lyrics left a lot to be desired and it all seemed like a fairly confused but solidly produced missed opportunity. And damn, releasing A Little Soul as a single and putting out Party Hard that late in the day with the worst sleeves Pulp had ever had were seriously bad moves. Nevertheless, nice songs.



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Eamonn wrote:

I think it does work well live in a big open air setting. I'm expecting a Hardcore-heavy set at Finsbury. Jarvis likes his "On this day" commemorations and it will be almost 25 years to the day since the Finsbury'98 performance.

I actually went for a run in Finsbury Park this morning and asked a security guard whereabouts the gigs take place. I only know it for playing tennis and going on runs/walks. Never been to a gig there.


 If I remember from last time, it's in a big open area near the entrance nearest the station. There will probably be a funfair.



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Ooooo I love a good old dream setlist thread.....here's my dream TIH album.

1 - Its A Dirty World
2 - TV Movie
3 - A Little Soul
4 - Tommorow Never Lies
5 - Like A Friend
6- This Is Hardcore
7 - Sylvia
8 - Laughing Boy
9 - Help The Aged
10 - Dishes
11 - Glory Days
12 - Day Of The Revolution

Controversial ......yes...... The Fear, Im A Man, Seductive Barry would all be B Sides for me.

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Probably the only album i listened from start to finish on headphones at my virgin megastore few days before the release. I remember standing in front of those listening boxes for like an hour (well the whole duration of the record) whilst people where shopping, passing by. Weird and hypnotic experience to have that music in my ears for the first time and the whole going by in front of me.

then on release day, lunch time in high school, time to take the bus and go buy the CD and vinyl version with all those extra tracks. What a time it was the 90s for music...

To this day, still probably one of the top 5 disc i would take on the desert island. the most anticipated record by Pulp, months before it was rumored to be called Hard Chord (or so i read in my local music newspaper, probably some journalist getting the info wrong :D), Like a Friend as a teaser on that soundtrack, their cover or All time High (which sound very TIH), the help the aged single... the wait. the LONG WAIT. (although compared to nowadays it wasnt THAT Long hehe)

My tracklisting too follow :D

(Cocaine Socialism sounds like Common People ? Really ?)

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I'd say "Cocaine Socialism" is a great song but perhaps a bit too bombastic to have been a single. I think that it would have been dropped from the live set in 2000 (that said, "Common People", "Mis-Shapes" and "Disco 2000" were dropped by 2001) and excluded from "Hits".

These are Mark's comments on the title track:
I was never a very big fan of this song. I can appreciate that it's good work, but I never really liked it from the outset. Jarvis didn't want people to expect an album of Common People and Disco 2000. He wanted to redraw the boundaries, and recently it's been a case of Jarvis' will overriding everyone else's common sense.

He certainly has a positive influence on this album. It's interesting to speculate how it would have sounded if Russell had stayed in the band.

I think "Laughing Boy" is fantastic but not sure if it would have worked on the album. "The Professional" should have been on there without a doubt.

All they needed at this time was a big hit single. The first three were never going to be massive and the public had lost interest by the time "Party Hard" came out. I know Jarvis was quite vocal about redrawing the boundaries but even "Glory Days" does this, it doesn't have the same singalong aspect of "Common People" but it would have easily been a number 1 single.

I remember someone once saying that "The Fear" should have been a single. Sure, it's all doom and gloom (and a fantastic song) but it does, for the first part, have a verse/chorus structure. I don't think it would have been an outright disaster if it was edited down.

I too remember hearing that it had the working title "Hardchord" or was it "Hardcord"? There weren't really any local music papers round here so I would have read that in one of the mainstreams.

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Master Of The Universe

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My list - This is Hardcore should have been a double album...

Disc 1; party ending

1. The Fear (complete version)

2. Dishes - How to not like this song? It's Jarvis being the anti-macho man. It's perfect, both musically and lyrically. I'm not Jesus though i have the same initials... i mean, genius.

3. Party Hard

4. Help The Aged

5. This Is Hardcore - probably the most perfect song ever made, or at least one of them

6. TV Movie

7. A Little Soul

8. I'm a Man

9. Like A Friend

10. Glory Days

Disc 2. party ended, darker

1. It's a Dirty World

2. Tomorrow Never Lies

3. We Are the Boyz

4. Ladies Man

5. The professional

6. Seductive Barry 

7. Laughing Boy

8. Sylvia

9. The Day After The Revolution

10. This is Hardcore (end of the line)


I really love too but would it work on a double album with Glory Days being here ? I dont know. both song area really different, only Pulp probably mastered that. To make two completely different songs out of the same melody. genius.



-- Edited by andy on Monday 3rd of April 2023 07:51:55 AM



-- Edited by andy on Monday 3rd of April 2023 07:52:29 AM

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Ian wrote:

I'd say "Cocaine Socialism" is a great song but perhaps a bit too bombastic to have been a single. I think that it would have been dropped from the live set in 2000 (that said, "Common People", "Mis-Shapes" and "Disco 2000" were dropped by 2001) and excluded from "Hits".

These are Mark's comments on the title track:
I was never a very big fan of this song. I can appreciate that it's good work, but I never really liked it from the outset. Jarvis didn't want people to expect an album of Common People and Disco 2000. He wanted to redraw the boundaries, and recently it's been a case of Jarvis' will overriding everyone else's common sense.

He certainly has a positive influence on this album. It's interesting to speculate how it would have sounded if Russell had stayed in the band.

I think "Laughing Boy" is fantastic but not sure if it would have worked on the album. "The Professional" should have been on there without a doubt.

All they needed at this time was a big hit single. The first three were never going to be massive and the public had lost interest by the time "Party Hard" came out. I know Jarvis was quite vocal about redrawing the boundaries but even "Glory Days" does this, it doesn't have the same singalong aspect of "Common People" but it would have easily been a number 1 single.

I remember someone once saying that "The Fear" should have been a single. Sure, it's all doom and gloom (and a fantastic song) but it does, for the first part, have a verse/chorus structure. I don't think it would have been an outright disaster if it was edited down.

I too remember hearing that it had the working title "Hardchord" or was it "Hardcord"? There weren't really any local music papers round here so I would have read that in one of the mainstreams.


 

Hehe thanx for confirming my memory about the album working title. 25 years is a long time...

I'd say about the singles that they were the perfect choice. Maybe except Party Hard. But TIH (the song) made sense, it was the biggest track on the record, the most ambitious, and the symbol of TIH (the album) and what they were trying to say. It was only possible in the 90s though, to release a track like that as main single.

Career suicide ? Maybe not, i mean 25 years later, Pulp has made history. It took time, but TIH is now very respected. Is it career suicide when you want to get away from the light, from fame and just make music for a fanbase that will really appreciate your work (trimming down the fat of the casual fans) ? Been there, done that once. Once is enough. Back to the real thing... 

Help the Aged worked as a teaser. Probably the most britpoppy track. And A little Soul has a really strong message.

It would have been a shame too if TIH video had never been made. It's a great piece of work on its own. 



-- Edited by andy on Sunday 2nd of April 2023 09:50:09 AM



-- Edited by andy on Sunday 2nd of April 2023 11:58:13 AM

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I remember it being announced in the NME as 'This is Hardcord' but I'm fairly certain it was just a misprint/ misreading of a press release on their part! Would have been an amusing title for a bootleg. Glory Days is certainly a highlight and it was interesting reading about the link between The Fear and Blondie's Fade Away and Radiate elsewhere on here. I had never made that connection. It was interesting how Mark came to the fore with his playing- more interesting use of e-bow, pedals and solidity of sound. I really think Russell had reached a (great) peak with his violin and guitar playing on Different Class- he maybe needed to practice more (they never did enough of that!- those loose Black Sessions, haha), develop his sound or quit which he did, bless him. 



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The Only Way is Down

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Sleeve - could you make an album's worth of songs from the TIH sessions that would make you not yearn for Senior?

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Difficult one! I definitely missed his input- to me, things began to veer on the edge of MOR without him.

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I never missed Russell Senior to be honest. Sure he brought the VU style to Pulp, but to be honest i prefered his guitar playing over his violin.

The violin is a very specific instrument and it can become a bit tiresome used that way. His departure allowed the band to explore unexplored territories.

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Sleeve wrote:

Difficult one! I definitely missed his input- to me, things began to veer on the edge of MOR without him.


 

A'ight...just give me an EPs worth, goddammit...



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Hmmmm ok, mine's boring tho'.

The Fear
The Professional
This is Hardcore
Seductive Barry (I liked the live Finsbury Park version a little more)
Party Hard
Dirty World (more production, could've been a single)
Help the Aged
Glory Days
Day After the Revolution
TIH (End of the Line Mix)




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