The Trees
by Pulp

Album: We Love Life (2001)
Charted: 23
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Songfacts®:

  • "The Trees" is the other half of the double A-side released in October 2001 as a lead-up to the release of Pulp's then-latest album We Love Life - the other side was the track "Sunrise." The single as a whole charted at #23 in the UK.
  • Jarvis Cocker talks frankly about the song's genesis, noting that it was all spawned from a sample of the song "Tell Her You Love Her" by Stanley Myers and Hal Shaper. Said Cocker: "I'd had (that song) for about four or five years and wanted to write a song around it. I'd had loads of goes. We were getting to the end of the sessions, so we had one more go and we nailed it."
  • The initial lines of the lyrics explain how the narrator "took an air-rifle, shot a magpie to the ground and it died without a sound." Cocker was keen to explain that this was hardly an autobiographical reference: "I'd like to point out that I've never shot an animal with an air rifle! There was an air pistol at my granny's when I was growing up and I was allowed to play with it without any pellets in it. As soon as I got to an age where I might have wanted to go out and shoot creatures, it was hidden. So I've never shot even a magpie... even though they are one of my least favorite because they bully other birds and they spoil their nests and stuff like that. They're a bit of a pest actually."
  • The lyrics paint an evocative picture of lust and a dark surrounding of forests and woodland - this was specifically in order to paint a picture of the mysterious world between the trees where any number of things could end up happening. Cocker explains: "The idea of the lyrics in that song is just... the idea of the trees being there and all the kind of human dramas that could happen in a forest: people meeting for an illicit affair or whatever, like that. But the trees are impassive to that. And the way that people will carve their name on the bark of a tree, thinking that's some kind of mark of permanence in a relationship, but then you go back a year or two later and try and read it, it'll be all like [twisted], because the tree doesn't grow in a linear way."

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