Phenomenal single from ex-Pulp man.
Despite feeling decidedly lukewarm about Jarvis Cocker's debut solo offering, I approached my review of 'Fat Children' with a wry smile, assured in the knowledge that it was the record's greatest achievement. Bursting with sardonic lyrics that are most helpfully printed onto the promotional sleeve, the song is a tour-de-force. It has all of the cynical Jarvis observations that fans came to love via Pulp, yet there's also something darker here which is perhaps a reflection of the serious issue on the table. Gone are the more breezy times when Britpop was newly born, shortly to be followed by new Labour to get the country's hopes up. The return of Jarvis has been amidst the threat of terrorism, disillusionment with labour and under the shadow of global warming, and the dark tone of 'Fat Children' reflects this.
The song deals with being murdered during a mugging. Lines like "they wanted my brand new phone with all the pictures of the kids and the wife" and "The Police Force was elsewhere putting bullets in some guy's head for no particular reason" are a blunt expose of modern Britain, and draw attention to the issue of 'hoodies' as well as the ineffectiveness of the police.
Musically this song rollicks along at a swift pace and is catchy thanks to the inclusion of some "ah ah ah's" coupled with its insistent drumbeat. The frenzied pace and brevity of the song serve its purpose well, the direct lyrics make the song a shock to the sense in exactly the right way. 'Fat Children' illustrates that Jarvis still has a wondrous way with words, and lets hope he crafts more songs like this in the future.