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Hardcore

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I apologise for the somewhat rough title - never been much good at titling forum threads.

What are some songs from Pulp's library of tracks that you think should have been singles, album tracks, or B-sides? For me, I am absolutely baffled as to why 'We Can Dance Again' was never released until 2006's deluxe edition of 'Different Class' - I think it could have been up there with the likes of Common People and Disco 2000 if it were put out. I also think 'You're Not Blind' and 'Watching Nicky' from the deluxe edition of 'His 'n' Hers' would have been good candidates with a bit more polish (mainly on WN).

And while we're on the subject, let's flip the question on it's head as well - What are some tracks that you think shouldn't have been singles, album tracks, or B-sides? The obvious one to me is 'Silence' on the B-side of 'Master of the Universe' - 'Maureen' was right there in the same session and they picked 'Silence' over it?!



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The Only Way is Down

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Don't see the strong merit in Watching Nicky or You're Not Blind to be honest. Babies retreads as Jarvis says in the liner notes, except far weaker. As discussed recently, if they could have nailed Live On in the studio with the live energy it had, it may well have been their breakthrough hit. I wonder would its "indie/dance" sound have dated too quickly though. But it's a song I never tire of, the Goodier session version is a tour de force and one of Jarvis' best vocal performances. Similarly, Pink Glove as per the Peel Session version may have done well too. The constipated, Bullerized version on HnH is such a pity.

We Can Dance Again also has that undeniable pop shimmer but like Live On, also retains a whiff of quick obsolescence. It might have been a hit in early 1995 as a bridge between HnH and DC. But it's close to Pulp pastiche, is the cheesiest thing they ever did and I can see why they dropped it (as gloriously fun as it is).


I think Don't Lose It was strong enough for Different Class and possibly even had single potential. Still sounds great to me. At the very least, it should have been a b-side on Something Changed instead of both CD singles having the same tracklisting. Might have helped push it Top 5 in the wake of Jacko-gate.

It's A Dirty World would have been a bold but exciting comeback single in 1997. The radio/single edit could start a minute in where it "drops" and its sheer bombast would have given it a fighting chance of success. Pulp back and meaning business. Mark stamping his authority on the band. It features his best guitar playing of that era I feel (along with the climax to This Is Hardcore). I just can't fathom how it was fully recorded and mixed but then dumped until the reissues came out eight years later...

The Trees/Sunrise were woeful choices as a lead-single. Great songs in their own way but just not hook-laden enough. After You would have been the one for me (instead of having to wait a decade for it!). I wonder if there are any gems still unreleased from 1999/2000 that could have been big. Cuckoo is beautiful but more of a ballady third single from a successful album. The Quiet Revolution, with a modern mix to accentuate the stop-start nature of the guitar between the verses might have found commercial favour. Another really intelligent pop song. They really were on a roll then. Too many good songs discarded, unfortunately...If Jarvis wasn't the best judge of his own work, someone else in the band or at Island should really have properly championed a lot of that material. WLL is a solid album with lots of different song styles but I just don't think Minnie or I Love Life cut it, maybe Weeds neither. Those songs sound like the type Pulp think they should be writing instead of the more natural, unforced likes of Quiet Rev/Cuckoo/After You/My Mistake.



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Deep Fried

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Eh?
Watching Nicky....
We can dance again...
Frightened....
They're shit, that's why they didn't make an appearance at the time...
Sure, it's a thanks that they've been shared but...

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Sorted

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I definitely agree on You're Not Blind and Live On. While NYB is similar to Babies, that guitar line is oh so sweet. I feel like Babies doesn't necessarily have the same feel as the other songs (Happy Endings maybe?) on HnH but NYB and Watching Nicky feels in the same vein, which I like.

Live On is a classic and I feel they should have tried to record it live, then overdub it like a few artists did in the 80s and Radiohead did in the mid 90s.

Maureen definitely should have been at least an album/EP track, but I doubt it'd fit on Freaks.

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Sorted

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I do feel as if Dogs Are Everywhere should have been another single or the B-Side to it's EP... Mark of the Devil is way better.

Silence is horrid, could have been replaced by ANY other song from that era.

As much as I like it, Space doesn't feel like a B-Side, it fits really well as the beginning of Intro however.

"Is this House?" is... a travesty to say the least. Death Comes To Town, Rattlesnake, or Going Back To Find Her should have got a better chance.

Boats and Trains feels pointless at times and Sink or Swim or Looking For Life are better alternatives, but I see why it landed there to make it an LP and not an EP.


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Hardcore

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Well, suffice to say, I'm definitely in the minority when it comes to the HnH bonus tracks then! Perhaps my own enjoyment of the tracks has somewhat clouded my judgement on them.

'Live On' is a good shout - surprised that never got a proper release until HnH deluxe. Another song I think would have been a good one is 'You Are The One' from 'This Is Hardcore' deluxe edition, but there's not really anywhere it would have fit in, so I can see why that one was elbowed.



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The Boss

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I think that the live version of "We Can Dance Again" from 1994 sounded like it had lots of potential but the demo version is very underwhelming. Inferior lyrics aside, it just seems to lose something.

I've always said that Pulp would have sold a lot more records during the "This is Hardcore" period if the title track was a double a-side with "Glory Days". Granted, the band (well, maybe just Jarvis) wanted what they considered their best piece of work to be a single and that's understandable but a dark song at over 6 minutes was never going to convince the masses to go out and buy the album.

I don't have any major problem with "Silence" but if they wanted to put dark, creepy songs on the b-side then "Take You Back" would have sat a lot better alongside "Manon". I like "Maureen" but that would have been a case of the b-side being better than the a-side. Speaking of which...

"A Little Soul" was an extremely weak choice for a single.

I agree about "The Trees"/"Sunrise". Both great songs but would never sell well. Maybe if "Sunrise" had been recorded and released in 2000 when it was faster and devoid of all the extra bells and whistles, it would have made a decent "interim" single between the two albums.

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The Only Way is Down

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Yeah, I think Sunrise, a few weeks after its reception at Leeds/Reading might have fared well. Maybe labels are wary of "interim singles" though and that's why they're not the norm. Understandable if the artist has yet to finish the next album, I guess.

Also, with Sunrise, would the repeated instrumental section have to be cut in half for radio or could they have embellished/overdubbed it to maintain casual listener interest? I dunno... It's a good example of a song having enough energy that when performed live, the crowd can get swept away and don't really want the song to finish. On lucrative radio playlists for the masses though, a different matter...

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The Boss

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There is a radio edit on the promo - the intro is slightly shorter and it fades out after the first half of the instrumental ending. This was played on Radio 1 at the time of release.

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200% and Bloody Thirsty

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If there was any justice, Street Lites would be recognised as the best thing they ever did. Along with Common People. Kids would be required to study both at school.

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Different Class

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Got to agree with Street Lites- one of the most atmospheric, evocative Pulp songs- should have been on the album. Would have been good just before David's Last Summer. I was actually shocked by how bad the unreleased songs from the DC deluxe edition were- Paula- can't unhear that.

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The Only Way is Down

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C'mon, Catcliffe is a riot. And there's nowt wrong with Don't Lose It.

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Common Person

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How about this - drop Pencil Skirt from DC (fairly slight tune, fairly rancid lyrics, though would be sad to lose the working on your Dad bit). Underrated pop classic Ansaphone subs in, though wouldnt be right for track 2. Move Underwear to track 2, Ansaphone then a chilled cushion between the livelier FEELING and Monday Mornng.

I think a case also to be made for a more robustly recorded Seconds receiving a promotion. The chorus as recorded is too tinny and shrill, but if they gave that some more oomph the song could live up to the lyrics.



-- Edited by Kelvin on Saturday 24th of July 2021 05:19:16 AM

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The Only Way is Down

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Yeah, the production on Seconds is sub-par but the song itself is far too good for a b-side. Same with His'n'Hers. I don't think Your Sister's Clothes is on the same level though.

I love Ansaphone to bits but I don't know if it's album quality. Pencil Skirt is Pulp-perv perfection and wonderfully arranged.

Street Lites is a remarkable piece of work but like many Pulp mostly-spoken epics, you kinda need to be in the right mood (headphones on, relaxing, unrushed!). On an album, I fear it would have been deemed skippable by philistines.

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The Boss

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Possibly a controversial one - would "The Sisters EP" have sold better if it was released as a double a-side ("Babies" and "Your Sister's Clothes") rather than an EP? Of course, the other two songs could have still featured as b-sides.

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The Only Way is Down

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Don't see how? They were still grateful for any airplay in 1994. Diluting that over two songs would have made a breakthrough more difficult. And most diehards who bought the 1992 Babies single and '93s Intro were surely pacified with The Sisters being an EP (ie 3 new songs for an extra...quid(?) more than a single would have cost).

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The Boss

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Fair point on reflection. I guess I was just trying to imagine the success of "Mis-Shapes"/"Sorted" a bit earlier.

I'm not too sure about "Street Lites" to be honest. I don't mind it but like Eamonn said above, it might have been considered one of the weaker points on the album.

I think that "Sylvia" would have sold well if it was released around the time of Glastonbury. A live video would have been great. Oh and I think that "FEELINGCALLEDLOVE" with a shortened intro may have sold better than "Something Changed"; the chorus more than counterbalances the verses. It would have needed a "proper" video rather than the straightforward performance that "Something Changed" got

-- Edited by Ian on Monday 26th of July 2021 06:16:15 PM

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Different Class

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I quite like Last Day Of The Miners Strike.



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Master Of The Universe

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I've said it before & I'll say it again. The singles from We Love Life should have been; Weeds, Minnie & Birds. *drops mic & runs for cover*

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The Only Way is Down

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No!

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200% and Bloody Thirsty

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I don't disagree. Considering about a third of the songs on WLL were uptempo poppy stuff, it was just silly that they ended up going for The Trees + Sunrise. One or the other on its own, rather than a diluted double-A, might've worked; Bad Cover Version first (while people were still interested) almost certainly would've, as would any of the three mentioned above. The whole thing was a balls-up.

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The Boss

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Looking back now after nearly 20 years, I think "Weeds" would have been the best choice for a single; I think it would have rave reviewed in the press and got a lot of airplay.

Alternatively, if they had recorded "After You" properly at the time, that would have been an easy hit. Not sure how it would have fit in on the album though.

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The Only Way is Down

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If anything, WLL is too varied in song types (an anthem, a spoken-word reprise with some moody (admirable more than enjoyable?) electronics, a glam-stomp, a delicate string-sampled driven ballad, a semi-spoken lyrical epic.....etc. and that's just Side A!) so I don't think After You would have been out of place necessarily.

Weeds ain't bad but lyrically it's just a more mature Misshapes but not half as fun and musically it isn't terribly interesting or as heady and catchy as its forebear.

Pulp snookered themselves commercially with the last two records. Some wonderful songs were recorded amongst all the sessions between 1997 and 2000 but little in the way of radio-friendly instant appeal for the Chris Evans/Drivetime masses. Help The Aged, Party Hard and After You probably come closest.

I don't think they felt like playing the (pop) game anymore and that seeped into the writing. And just as well. Who wanted an album of songs trying to capture some of Different Class' razzmatazz like You Are The One or Street Operator? They're pretty reductive and diminishing returns sets in quickly based on their examples.

Unlike Radiohead or The Verve, Pulp had boxed themselves in as a witty pop band with hooks and a funny-looking front man with quips and soundbites that were lapped-up by light-entertainment media.
Jarvis was never going to be taken seriously as a "proper" rock star like Yorke or Ashcroft despite This Is Hardcore (the song) being as good and as challenging as anything on OK Computer or Urban Hymns.

I'm not surprised Island struggled managing Pulp commercially in the last five years of their relationship together. Bloody hard to pin down. I saw the new Sparks doc in the cinema last week (highly recommended) and I got a similar vibe. Quirky popsters will quickly outlive that tag if they have brains and ambition. It makes them hit and miss when it comes to labels getting a return on them. In the end you belligerently go your own way like Sparks (easier for them as there are only two in the 'group') or you get disenchanted by the whole thing and give-up (like Pulp, unfortunately for us).



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Different Class

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Trees was a charming choice for a single - however it should have never been released as such. Sunrise's success at festivals without doubt was the reasoning for its inclusion as a double A side - although the radio edit of the song destroyed it. I can see the shirts and ties sat around a board room table thinking "ooooo, look.....you can see the sunrise through the trees......thats got to be the first single!"

Weeds / Birds In Your Garden as a double A would have been a much more suited release for the first single - expressing the commecrcial side of the band and the slighty more chilled out relaxed kinda song.

Bad Cover Version - this was the right release for me, as it could have been used as a gimmick, and this came true with a video made with imitations of famous singers. I dont understand the release of the of the version with miscellanious vocals, although the mixdown sounded far more fetching than the album version.

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Common Person

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Slightly separate question, but does a double a-side ever actually work? Mis-shapes / Sorted was forced on them by events, but otherwise arent you just immediately diluting your impact in an already v challenging market? Obviously doesnt help if you pick the wrong songs. I was a huge Pulp fan, but then went to uni in 99 so fell out of following things regularly. I remember being excited new stuff was coming and then utterly deflated when I heard Trees (I think on some kind of morning show where Jarvis asked a child if they liked his outfit and they said no, unless Ive completely dreamt that). I saw them on the 2001 tour though and they were excellent, Weeds / I Love Life in particular were far better live.

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