PULP: Disco 2000

Disco 2000, which tanked in the charts at New Year and thus gloriously failed to provide Jarv and the lads with the pension-fund payoff they’d so cynically hoped for, is famous for several reasons. First off it ripped off a piss-poor soft-rock track, to the delight of the worm-brained rock press (Yeah, very cool, NME, but somehow I don’t see Self-Control: The Greatest Hits Of Laura Branigan (Hallmark, ?2.99) getting too many spins on your office stereo, so why put up with it coming from Mr. Gangly Pants?) But secondly it got props for using the word ‘woodchip’ in a song – how, y’know, un-rock-and-roll of it.

Discounting the fact that ‘woodchip’ was surely one of the top twenty Words Most Likely To Appear In A Pulp Song, this kind of masturbatory Thesaurus-worship is a fool’s game. A song is not somehow improved because somebody used a word in it, particularly not if the ‘message’ of said song is “Ha! It is the year 2000 and I am now a famous pop star and you’re a poverty-stricken single mother, that’ll teach you to knee me in the goolies and call me a skinny freak when I tried to cop a feel in the school lunch queue, bitch!” But try telling that to the critics: drop a word like ‘woodchip’ in and suddenly you’re a people’s hero with a poet’s eye for detail. Belle And Sebastian, among others, learned the lesson well – put ‘velour’ and ‘Terry underwear’ in the winsome first track off your second album and bish-bosh, you’re suddenly the greatest songwriter in the world. Noel Gallagher tried the funny-word-game with ‘Acquiesce’ but couldn’t actually put it in the song because he’d no idea what it meant – nul points, Nozza.

Past Masters of this sordid practise are of course Shriekback, who have guaranteed themselves a place in the hearts of show-offs and wankers everywhere by slipping the word ‘parthenogenesis’ into their overcooked snarly white-funk travesty “Nemesis”. Shriekback were formed after Barry Adamson got kicked out of XTC (and think how bad you’d have to be to get kicked out of XTC) for writing what is surely the most laughable song ever written, “My Weapon”, the chorus of which goes “I’m gonna take it out on her with my weapon / my weapon / my weapon / my secret weapon”. Somewhere in Sheffield a young boy paused between bouts of self-love and paid attention.