#tbt Pulp / This Is Hardcore (1998)
After a long history in the UK music scene starting in the early 80’s, and releasing their largest selling album “Different Class” in 1995, Pulp made a left turn and put out their artsiest, and heaviest record to date, “This Is Hardcore“. The title might have seemed confusing with all the different sub-genres of hardcore music: dance, hardcore, hardcore metal, etc., but is actually a reference to the song of the same name, which to no surprise for any longtime Pulp fan, is about making a pornographic film. Sex has always been a recurring theme in Pulp’s music, however, this is the album where that obsession ends and deeper, psychological introspection begins. Heavy use of dark synth tones, low rolling bass lines, dissident guitar sounds, and minor string accompaniments give you the eerie feeling like you just walked into the most depressing, cigarette smoked filled lounge in Las Vegas, and you don’t wanna know what’s going on in that backroom. The lyrics, which are much darker, edgier, and heavier than any Pulp record, explore loneliness, depression, betrayal, sex (lack thereof), drug use, alcohol abuse, and aging, with the music fitting these themes like a comfortable slipper. Help the Aged reminds us that old folks were just like us once, “Drinking, smoking, sex, and sniffing glue”, while The Fear explores the anxiety of depression, drug abuse, and loneliness from a stagnant bachelor-pad waterbed. As far as amazing and beautifully dark albums go, this one is one of my favorites, and dares to ask you questions other albums will not. Check out Like a Friend below.