I loved the new Pulp album so much that it nearly made me physically sick. "You've got to fight for the right to get to love your life," went one line. Goddamn right. "Goddamn fucking right," I thought as I laid my head down on my desk and just listened to the rest of the album, headphones clamped on, volume up as pitifully high as my computer would allow. For the first time in Pulp's recorded career, the layers of instruments rise to the level of singer Jarvis Cocker's prominent vocals about class wars and, now, optimism. I raised my head up long enough to check out the production credits and there it was: Scott Walker. No wonder We Love Life sounds so sickeningly good, and it should be noted that this is the first time the '60s pop icon has produced anyone else's work but his own.
I know this column is supposed to be focused upon the local music scene, but I just wanted to point out to all of you who claim (and I hear it all the time) that I don't care about music that I care about it so much, it can almost make me physically ill. I live for those moments when I hear a band that can churn up love, rage, awe, jealousy, hope, sadness, and most of all, inspiration and wonder. Locally, it happens every time Modest Mouse puts out a record, or whenever 764-HERO would, and it happened just the other day when I heard the forthcoming Visqueen single "His Way," a song written by frontwoman Rachel Flotard about her father, who is currently fighting a battle with cancer. It's a joyous tribute, and the power-pop KAPPPPOWW! of the song is sweet in its buoyant humor and poignancy.
I love music, even though I may bitch about it after at least 32 years of being obsessed with it. It's saved my life over and over again, and it reminds me every day why I'm here to write about it. That's why a line like, "You've got to fight for the right to get to love your life," turns my stomach upside down, because I've spent the last two years, and never mind the 30-plus before, fighting for just that. And I've reached it.
So be warned: From now on, when I hear someone who doesn't know me whisper to someone else that I don't give a shit about music, get ready for a gale force of the most caustic opinion you've ever heard. My opinion--the only one I care about. Next time someone puts a cigarette butt into my nonalcoholic beer at an after-hours party (two weeks ago), or the next time (last Saturday) I'm using the downstairs Cha Cha bathroom--which amplifies conversations held outside--and hear someone say, "She drinks water at shows pretending she's sober, but last night I saw her drinking beer at a party [It was Coors nonalcoholic, you jackass]," I'm going to give you an opinion that just might leave you bleeding in the figurative sense.
Later that night, I met someone who knew what obscure song the lyric tattooed around my wrist is taken from. I know now that my two-year fight had been so I could connect with people like her.