Pub rock charms from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds may have provided Pulp with a roaring, energetic display for their Different Class bonus tracks, but a further collaboration with Cave was just years down the line. Disco 2000 fires through as a sombre side to the days of Bad Cover Version, and this rendition of the classic Britpop anthem is anything but a bad cover. Tender shimmers mark the same structure as something new and total, a reflection of that meet-up promised in the Jarvis Cocker-helmed original. It is strange now they’re fully grown, and looking back on that and the era Disco 2000 found itself, even just a few years on from its release, is an incredible, well-needed experience.
Cave and company man that well, with a clear sophistication to the wordplay watched over by Cave. It is his demonstration and understanding of the lyrics that guide this one and make for a confident showcase of what that track is all about. Disco 2000 is as touching in the indie-pop-ready guitar riffs as it is here in the shimmering, stunning presentation from Cave. Reliant and rightly so on the charming crooner style of Cave, the Into My Arms intonations are as clear and present here as they are on The Boatman’s Call, it makes for quite the stunning rendition. His pub rock version, a shaky but homely appeal from the Different Class: Deluxe Edition in 2006, pales in comparison to this Bad Cover Version titan.
Covers of great songs are always a rare treat as artists cover the work they are fond of. Johnny Cash managed to form the latter half of his career on that alone. For Cave, it is a chance to lay down the obvious connotations of fear and love present in the strokes of beauty in Disco 2000. Lamenting the fear This is Hardcore had for audiences, building it up to that nostalgic meet-up so many years down the line. It is something the later live shows of Pulp would toy with as Blur did with their later renditions of Girls and Boys. Contemporary at the time, reflective in motion and a gorgeously worked piece that relies on the story Cocker laid out of his time in the presence of Deborah Bone all those years ago. Gifting that to Cave and letting the percussion take hold, the swaying repetition and the elongation of some vocal patterns from Cave are a warm embrace.
Disco 2000 is a titan of its own accord but having a great vocalist present himself for a chance to make major changes is always a treat. There are few who could do a better job than Cave, whose work here showcases his own vocal skills as well as the deep and personal fabric of the Cocker-written track. Even further than that, the richer and richer layers of the single’s cover, a nod to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, add that next step. They provide the lookback Disco 2000 always was but add with it a sense of placement, of when the track itself takes place. It may have been the cladding for clubs and bars across the country, then and now, but its setting is all those years ago, and Cave captures that perfectly well.