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Fitzpleasure by Alt-J
Album: An Awesome WaveReleased: 2012
This song was inspired by a chapter from Hubert Selby, Jr.'s 1964 controversial novel about the brutality of urban life, Last Exit to Brooklyn. Lyrical allusions include "Tralala," (the title character of a prostitute character in the book) and "broom-shaped pleasure," (the chapter ends with a particularly gruesome gang rape of Tralala involving a broom).
The song title does not feature in the lyrics. Speaking with Secret Sound Shop
, frontman Joe Newman explained: "Basically the phrase is 'in your snatch fits pleasure, broom shaped pleasure,'" he said, "so fits and pleasure and Fitz like a second name, like Fitzpatrick so we thought Fitzpleasure, so more subtle."
Newman explained to Secret Sound Shop why he chose such a shocking subject matter for the song: "I always believe that you write about what moves you," he said, "and although that gang-rape scene is horrible... it really moved me, it's really well written, you don't really know which way is up after that chapter. I thought it was a really powerful thing to write about."
Another link between Last Exit to Brooklyn and rock music is that The Smiths titled their 1986 album, The Queen Is Dead, after a different chapter in the novel.
Mentioned both in this song ("Dead in the middle of the C-O-double M-O-N" ) and "Bloodflood
," The Common is a park in Southampton, the South England city where Newman grew up.
The lyric, "Dead in the middle of the C-O-double M-O-N" was inspired by a line from Puerto-Rican/American rapper Big Punisher's 1998 track "Twinz," which goes: "Dead in the middle of Little Italy. Little did we know that we riddle some middlemen who didn't do diddle." Newman explained to NME: "There's a gang in Southampton called The Mandela Boys. We were scared s---less of them when we were kids. The (next) line, 'Little did I know then that the Mandela Boys soon become Mandela Men' is me wondering whether they're still in the gang or if they've just all got jobs and kids now."
The song has been used in several TV series, including Weeds, Suits and Homeland.
This was used by Miley Cyrus to soundtrack a video interlude featuring the scantily clad singer during her Bangerz tour. Alt-J drummer Thom Green commented to GQ: "Straightaway I thought 'Wow, that's weird, she's a huge celebrity! Then I thought it's not actually that weird. I knew she'd tweeted about us in the past and just because she's hugely famous it doesn't make it any different from anyone else liking it."