I bought this on the day after it came out. I listened to it on headphones, that night, after having consumed large quantities of beer. I listened again the next morning. Now, for your viewing pleasure, my thoughts on the album as I hear it for a third time...

00    Weeds: Twangy guitar a bit like Jon Bon Jovi. Turns into the Charlatans. Then comes early-Queen style backing vocals, courtesy of the Swingle Singers.
01    Not massively inspirational lyrics. This is very mid 90s fare. And very Charlatans, as said.
02    The keyboards are low in the mix. Normally they are very prominent, but this album is instead awash with guitars.
03    Quiet moment of reflection. 4. Segue to Weeds II.
04    Sounds like a slightly raucous chill-out room. Jarvis narrates over this throbbing synth and female vocalist backdrop.
05    Queen are back now. It is very slick production. Not at all like Pulp have tended to be before.
06    He is talking about something in a manner that suggests that Chris Morris character in the Blue Jam monologues. Spooky processed vocals buzz in each speaker.
07    A Beatles-esque guitar loop returns briefly at the end. Then some Different Class style sweeping phase, only slicker. 4. Night that Minnie Timperley Died.
08    Sounds like what the Smiths might sound like if they were still on the go. A bit of SFA there too. I was expecting something sinister like Down By the River.
09    But this is quite a jolly number really. "How can a girl have sex with these pathetic teenage wrecks?" No Jarvis enters pervy uncle mode. Repetition of
10    "Dangerous" recalls "This is Hardcore" album. Antics recall Manon. Dirty sod.
11    Not sure about this repeated vocal: "Oh, Minnie, I can feel the pain." repeated a la 90s Manchester. None of Jarv's usual chaos. And a slick repeated "Oh".
12    Things are looking very slick. 5. Trees. Sampled strings.
13    Nothing verse leads to very laid back chorus.
14    Nothing is happening. Very dull. Oh. Eighties middle eight.
15    Descending guitar fill. And a synth. Glad to see Candida's been given more to do than just arrange the string sections.
16    That chorus again. Very insubstantial. Maybe that's the point. We shall give this 3.
17    Wickerman. Begins like Metallica would sound if they didn't turn on their pre-amps. Jarvis talks about Sheffield.
18    That guitar riff sounds like something but I can't work out what. Quite nice imagery.
19    Nasty cod-thunder noise. Maybe it's authentic, but even if it is it isn't a very good noise. And now a change of pace.
20    This track is going quite well. Sounds much more like the Jarv we're used to.
21    Things take a turn for the scary. Female backing vocals in the distance. Jarvis describes things well. "I went there with you once - except you were somebody else."
22    You won't catch him jumping off that bridge, but then he fell out of a window. That sort of thing probably effects you. This reminds me of Inside Susan.
23    Going on about the river now. Good scary tune now. Like "Down by the River". This is the peak of the album so far.
24    Very cinematic now. Good. Yes. Except for that cod-thunder.
25    Finishes like Down By the River. I expect that distant laughter, but it never comes. 7. I Love Life. He sounds like my Uncle Dennis on this one.
26    He loves his life. I can't say the same for this song though. It's a bit weak and pathetic. Emaciated.
27    Very Adam Lucas chords. That is to say, write some letters down and hope for the best. Now get this right, he loves his life...
28    You better believe it. David Devant style guitar twiddlings and pace shift. Suddenly raucous. Dodgy lyric about fighting to the death for the right to live your life.
29    But now ominous and deadly strings envelope Mr Cocker in their "Live and Let Die" like grip. It makes up to some degree for what has preceded in this track.
30    There's probably a message there. If you play it backwards it says kill yourself. Maybe. There are no backwards vocals here though.
31    Um. 3 or 4. Birdsong introduces Birds in Your Garden. Followed by a Roger Waters-esque guitar part. This song is pretty interesting.
32    Jarvis has started singing an old song, and has segued to another at an appropriate point. Like you can with Lawrence of Arabia and Born Free. There must
33    be about five or six late-60s/early-70s musical clichés all rolled into one. That bit was "Starting Over" by John Lennon for instance. Hmm.
34    The verse is rather boring though. But this chorus is an amazing achievement of sellotaped cover versions. Ends like Roger Waters again. Wind effect.
35    So 5 I think. Bob Lind. God. It's "Chapter 24" from Piper! I'm sure I read once that Jarvis didn't like Pink Floyd etc. But that's two versions covered in as
36    many minutes. There's an exciting dissonant note there on the string-pad. The guitars are very jangly and the song turns into a Glen Campbell number.
37    This bit of the chorus sounds like M*A*S*H though.
38    Hmm. Only the "fuck-up" lyric belies their decade or two of darkness. Otherwise this could've been the over-produced follow-up to It.
39    Well, maybe that's a bit extreme. I'll be generous and give it 4. Bad Cover Version. This is a christmas song. Expect a late-November/early-December release
40    Nice comparison between Jarvis and God. And now we have a rather exciting chorus. Reminds me of Rialto's "Untouchable" which sounded not unlike "Last Christmas" by Wham,
41    which sounded like "I Can't Smile Without You". What we have here is a song with the tune and production values of a late-60s pop-record. Scott Walker, please stand up. Now, it's rather fantastic by this point, but...
42    we have to rationalise... (Death Goes to the Disco moment) ...whether it's a good or bad thing sounding exactly like a 60s record. Sounding 30 years old...
43    Now this bit with the dissonant moments and the rhythm tricks is also jolly good. Yes. Call it 6 I think.
44    Roadkill. Now this is definitely Roger Waters. If there was TV noise in this mix it could be ably placed on Amused to Death. Jarv is whispering now. If not
45    Waters, then Lou Reed. Which seems worse, so... Waters. Yes, so does it matter that Pulp are sounding
46    like something from a long time ago? Well if you think it does then perhaps you should buy something else. Something a little more experimental. Maybe you could start with Add N to (x) and work up. And if you
47    think it's fine to sound 30yrs old, then perhaps you should buy this record. Also try Scott Walker. I'm sure lots of people will be.
48    Give that 3. And now Sunrise. Begins with obligatory sunrise lost horizon twangy guitar. Lyrics aren't great here, and Jarvis is not in his finest voice.
49    Nice low vocals in there, but I'm not a fan of this track.
50    Again, harkens back to the stuff Pulp weren't doing at the time of Different Class. And now the track shifts direction and begins to sound like something off a
51    later Oasis album. When they had the money to say "yes, we want a helicopter over there and a thompson's gazelle nuzzling in that corner." Ladies and gentlemen: John Craven.
52    Quiet again, for a brief spurt of choir. And then build back up to the rather uninteresting guitar-fest. Jimmy Page would be proud, I'm sure.
53    Not my bag though.
54    and so 3 again.

How all that fits on vinyl is a miracle.

So let's look at the tracks again:

Weeds  Charlatans  4
Weeds II de Suze 4
The Night that Minnie Timperley Died If the Smiths were still going, and had had therapy 5
The Trees Dull 3
Wickerman Inside Susan once she's decomposed 7
I Love Life Emaciated David Devant and His Spirit Wife 3
The Birds in Your Garden 60s Megamix 5
Bob Lind Syd Barrett and Glen Campbell 4
Bad Cover Version Christmas song 6
Roadkill Roger Waters 3
Sunrise Oasis / Led Zepp 3

After three listenings, We Love Life scores 4.27.

How does this fit in with the other albums by Pulp?
Note that an album score above 5 is very good. Note also that scores can fluctuate according to mood.

Freaks (1986) Being Followed Home (8) They Suffocate at Night (3) 5.4
Different Class (1995) I-Spy (7) Pencil Skirt (3) 5.33
His 'n' Hers (1994) Acrylic Afternoons (8) She's A Lady (3) 5.27
Separations (1992) Don't You Want Me Anymore? (8) My Legendary Girlfriend (3) 5.22
This Is Hardcore (1998) Sylvia (7) Help the Aged (3) 5.17
Intro (1993) Razzmatazz (7) Styloroc (4) 4.78
Masters of the Universe (1986) Aborigine (7) They Suffocate at Night (3) 4.69
We Love Life (2001) Wickerman (7) The Trees (3) 4.27
It (1983) Wishful Thinking (6) <I'd have to dig the record out> (3) 4


To be honest, I don't think there's much surprise there. Remember that this album could be a grower, or perhaps it will appear less good after further listens. It is interesting to note, I think, that if we ignore the two singles compilations (italicised) then the three albums Russell Senior wasn't on are at the bottom of the list.

Next week I shall be re-evaluating the new album. Be sure to tune in and see how it does.

Evan Paris.

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