Pulp, His ‘n’ Hers

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 04.04.11 in Reviews

His N Hers

Toughening up their already-ferocious satires

Over the course of the early ’90s, Pulp had become a much more lithe, glossy rock band than they’d ever been before. Jarvis Cocker, meanwhile, had pinpointed both his favorite lyrical topic — the way sex warps the edges of everything it comes near — and a new way of singing: stretching toward the whooping top of his range rather than the bottom, enunciating his words as if utterly strung out on lust, trying to play Casanova while unable to conceal his baser impulses. The group had also internalized the ideas from dance music that they’d carefully tinkered with on Separations, and didn’t try to ironize their songs’ beats and riffs and flights of grandness any more. (“She’s a Lady” even lifts its chord progression from “I Will Survive.”) 1994′s His ‘n’ Hers was where Pulp toughened up their already-ferocious satires of the way people talk and think about pleasure by making them overtly fun — a contrast that’s especially powerful on “Do You Remember The First Time?,” a thrilling fit of jealousy whose narrator hopelessly declares “I don’t care if you screw him/ Just as long as you save a piece for me.” The deluxe edition’s extra disc features a handful of demos and B-sides, songs from radio sessions that never made it to studio recordings, and three songs from the Sisters EP that extend the themes of “Babies.”