Pulp - We Love Life

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-08-25

We Love Life­-produced by Scott Walker--is best thought of as the calm after the storm. Pulp's previous album, 1997's This Is Hardcore was the kind of record often made by intelligent and sensitive people who become famous after a lifetime assuming that being famous was what they wanted. Like Radiohead's The Bends, Elvis Costello's This Year's Model, Nirvana's In Utero or most of the solo albums of Scott Walker, This Is Hardcore was twitchy, disgusted, nauseous and distinctly uneasy listening. In contrast, We Love Life is by far the most musically benign album Pulp have been responsible for, emphasising a fondness for string arrangements and gently building melodies that have only been intermittently discernible before now (see "Something Changed" or "Live Bed Show" from Different Class). New songs such as "Bad Cover Version" and "The Trees" are among the most luxuriant Pulp have recorded; having the peerless balladeer Walker in the studio can't have hurt on this front. There is no blunting of the edge in Jarvis Cocker's voice or words, fortunately, even if he seems less concerned with himself these days than previously: opening track "Weeds" seems a touching and courageous hymn of admiration to asylum seekers. --Andrew Mueller

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