How NOT to write about music – 71. Jarv Is

jarvis cocker

Note to self: do not mention the backing vocals.

There is no reason not to love this. The evolution of a life in a six-minute pop song. The evolution of the universe is less than six minutes. A musical version of all those written versions that have come before. A little mystery, some spookiness. A pounding bass. Do not mention the backing vocals. A voice questioning, searching, chiding. Slipping into gentle slumber. Slapping on a few limbs and a cloak of awareness. Broody. Brooding. Mostly explanatory though. A history of a life form in less than seven days. A foray into hope. A foray into deprivation, the deaf nation… growing quieter, more reflective, more mysterious, knuckle dragging, rave erupting, the primordial beat pounding, the primordial beat pounding. Building, building. Growing, growing, faster and faster, faster and faster… a series of mini-epiphanies, a climax of endurance. Do not mention the backing vocals. Endure this. Endure yourself. The song does everything a song should: it delivers a plot, it surprises, it feels its way to a denouement, it slows down and speeds up, it pulsates and pounds and feet send signals to the brain. The song does everything a song should. It has a woggly synth line. Out of the rubble, a noise. Some fire. Some fizz. Let’s get physical. Storytelling has always been the province of the storytellers.

What reason is there not to love this? Unless you are a child, and not into inebriation. Unless you are a parent and not flirting with authentication. Unless you are a cunt and too built on world domination. Unless you are a wizard and have no need for sophistication. Unless you are a water-gatherer and realise the futility of masturbation. Unless you are a sheep in search of mastication. Unless you are a rabbit caught up in fornication. Unless you are a chat show host built on degradation. Unless you are a Time Lord set loose on some deep space station. Salvation. Intoxication. Menstruation.

There is no reason not to love this.

I could continue like this for years, but I only had six minutes.

ADDENDA (in response to a colleague who I respect immensely and asked whether my review was some form of double bluff and repeated a question asked elsewhere, “Why would anyone take this seriously?”)

I’ve never had a problem with the stumbling amateur. I love this song because of course it’s bumbling pish but simultaneously it’s total fun and it’s got some hilarious one-liners among the self-flagellation, and killer squidgy synth. I am surprised that others are inclined to take it seriously however: it does not feel like a song that merits being taken seriously on any level.

Bringing in all back to context, for a second. I am fucked up with ‘flu but unable to rest because I have insane deadlines at work that cannot be ignored under any circs. So most of the time I am bunged up, slightly hallucinating and manic.Three days (and more) ago I went through the worst depression I’ve suffered since the last bout. Across my desk where I am sitting right now typing these very words usually sits a man who is intimately involved in the new Jarvis single (and indeed sent me across the link yesterday). He also happens to be in a remarkably similar place to me – work-wise – right now, but comes to it after several hours of rehearsing with Jarv Is. I played the song. It made me laugh out loud. I love it for that. Not because it is a great work of art. Because it amuses me.

And it has a great bass.

I have not seen the video because I do not interact with music that way. I wrote my piece in the six minutes it took the song to play out. Why would anyone take music seriously?

One thought on “How NOT to write about music – 71. Jarv Is

  1. I saw it first on Pitchfork (sorry!). I emailed the link to my partner, not something I often do. She wasn’t all that impressed but I like it. It’s cheery. It’s Jarvis Cocker doing what he does, rather well for once. What is there about it that would make anyone consider it needed to be “taken seriously?”.

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