The music industry isn’t as bad as the movie industry, where the majority of the Serious Films that pop up on the award circuit will be released in the last quarter of the year, aptly deemed “Oscar Season” for the proliferation of Holocaust dramas and biopics one is likely to end up seeing with one’s mom. But an oddity has developed where, in the rush to quickly assert one’s opinionated supremacy, most websites and publications end up releasing their “Best Of” lists before the year is over, sometimes as early as the beginning of December never mind the fact that some bands may still be gearing up to release new music in the final month of the year. (The Village Voice is, to my recollection, the only major list that airs its opinions right after the new year begins.)
Not that this is intentionally done to thumb their nose at such constructions, but on the day after Christmas, the reunited Pulp released a fleshed out version of an old demo called “After You,” which was partially recorded with LCD Soundsystem maestro James Murphy, as a special treat to fans who’d attended a homecoming show in Sheffield, United Kingdom. From the gently propulsive instrumentation to Jarvis Cocker’s tender vocals dropping emotional bon mots like “From disco to disco, from Safeway to Tesco / We’re shopping around the cradle to death row,” it’s less a surprise than a genuine new highlight to be found in the band’s discography. And, of course, it comes out to late to make any of those year-end lists, which I’m sure it would’ve had it been released even a month ago. But that doesn’t make it any less of a great song.