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Pulp: Bad Cover Version (song)

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Oh, the word's on the street:
you've found someone new
If he looks nothing like me
I'm so happy for you
I heard an old girlfriend
has turned to the church
She's trying to replace me
but it'll never work

'Cos every touch reminds you of
just how sweet it could have been
and every time he kisses you
it leaves behind the bitter taste of saccharine

A bad cover version of love is not the real thing
Bikini-clad girl on the front who invited you in
Such great disappointment when you got him home
The original was so good; the one you no longer own
And every touch reminds you of just how sweet it could have been
And every time he kisses you, you get the taste of saccharine

It's not easy to forget me, it's so hard to disconnect
when it's electronically reprocessed to give a more life-like effect

Aah, sing your song
about all the sad imitations that got it so wrong:
It's like a later Tom and Jerry
when the two of them could talk;
like the Stones since the eighties;
like the last days of Southfork
Like Planet of the Apes on TV;
the second side of 'Til the Band Comes In;
like an own-brand box of cornflakes
he's going to let you down my friend

Jarvis' comments

The main tune came from Candida. I wrote the words at night, then I went to bed, woke up in the morning and thought, 'I bet they're really shit, them words'. But then when I sang them they worked alright. When we recorded it with other people it never sounded right - it sounded like a pastiche of something. It's just a pop song but I find it quite emotional.

Doing [this song] was probably the most embarrassing moment on the record, for me, because the song had been written a long time before we knew we were gonna work with Scott Walker, and in the end section of the song there's a list of inferior things, but unfortunately in this litany I included Scott Walker's fifth solo LP, 'Til the Band Comes In. Because that record's always mystified me, because it starts off with original material, and it's pretty good, and then suddenly on the second side he just does six cover versions, and it's like he just kind of gets sick of the whole thing and just gives up half-way through the record. So I've always found it a very strange album for that.

Then of course when we were working with him, this became a problem for me, because I felt that I had to mention it to him. I didn't want him to suddenly realise it himself, and then come and punch me or something. So I was thinking about it, and it was coming closer to the day when I was gonna have to do me vocal, and I was really trying to find the right moment to broach the subject, but it never seemed to come along. And then one morning, it was getting to be a bit of a problem for me actually, so I was travelling there on the train and thinking: "Right, first thing, as soon as I get into the studio, I'm gonna have it out with him, I'm gonna tell him, I'm gonna tell it how it is." So I was thinking to myself: "Yeah, gotta do it, gotta do it, gotta do it." Got off the train, walked into the studio [...] pinned him up against the mixing desk, and just kind of blurted it all out: "Er, Scott well, I've just got to apologise for something, because, like, okay, at the end of the song, like, I make a reference to 'Til the Band Comes In, right, in a list of crap things, and, what I was trying, y'know, obviously..." And just kind of said all this stuff. And he just kind of looked at me in a very mystified way, of like, "What is this nutter ranting on about?", and then it kind of clicked with him what I was on about, and he just laughed and said: "Well, gee thanks guys, that's the way you repay me." I think he doesn't actually own any of his old records so I think he'd kind of forgotten that he'd made that one. But for me, it was embarrassing.


The "sad imitations" that Jarvis sings about in the final verse:

Promo video

Details here.

Alternative versions

Bad Cover Version (video mix)
Bad Cover Version (radio edit)


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Page last modified on September 26, 2020, at 09:46 AM