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At number eight on my best tunes of 2001 list, we have “The night that Minnie Timperley died”, a track that also figured on my Top five Pulp tunes post I did back at the beginning of this year.
This particular song appeared on the iconic Britpop band’s seventh and final album, “We love life”. It was never released as a single so I likely didn’t hear it in 2001. You see, I didn’t purchase this album the moment it was released into the record stores. Indeed, and as I’ve mentioned in other posts in this series, I was rather poor when we first moved to Ottawa in 2001, with not enough disposable income to lavish upon the purchase of many compact discs. I certainly remember looking longingly on the album’s simple cover and its adornment of block letters spelling the band’s name when I tortured myself by browsing through Record Runner, my favourite independent music store at the time, long since closed down. I had to content myself to the snippets I could catch on the internet, like the first single “The trees”, until I had stowed enough money working overtime at my call centre job.
When I finally put the CD in the tray and pressed play, track number three hooked me on first listen. To my ears, it most certainly should have been a hit, save the dark subject matter. Not that this has ever stopped Jarvis Cocker and company before. Never one to shy from the dark underbelly of humanity, Cocker mines a dream here, telling the story of a teenaged girl’s murder, lurking in the minds of both the victim and the predator. A song that starts so upbeat (“There’s a light that shines on everything & everyone”) but ends so dark and twisted (“And he only did what he did ’cause you looked like one of his kids”). It feels like Jarvis is playing with us. And if you didn’t pay enough attention, you could be easily fooled and taken in by the funky drum beats, handclaps and jangle, alien synth washes, and Who-worthy rock and roll guitar and bass slam riffs.
It’s brilliant stuff that proves this group was great right up until the moment they broke up.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.