“Like a Friend” by Pulp
Song of the Day
“You are the last drink I never should have drunk.
You are the body hidden in the trunk.”
In 1998, Pulp collaborated with Patrick Doyle on the song “Like A Friend” for the soundtrack to the movie Great Expectations. It was specifically recorded for the 1998 film which is a modern-day adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel which moved the setting of the book from 1820’s London, to 1990’s New York.
The song was recorded between March 1997 and January 1998 (Olympic Studios, London & The Town House Studios, London). It is credited to have been written by the entire band and produced by Chris Thomas.
The song was also released as the b-side to the single “A Little Soul”.
At the time of the song’s release, the band didn’t seem interested in playing it live, so it wasn’t well-known as other songs Pulp was performing at that time. However, the song made its live debut at the Glastonbury Festival in 2011. After that, it became a mainstay throughout the band’s 2011-2012 reunion tour shows, including their farewell show at Motorpoint Arena Sheffield in December 2012.
It was at a movie theater in the late 90’s that I first heard “Like a Friend”. I bought the soundtrack soon after seeing the movie because, well, I love soundtracks and there were so many great ones in the 90’s. The soundtrack itself is great, and I love many of the songs on it, but this song was the one that always stood out from the rest. It started to become one of those songs I can’t get enough of.
I love the complexity of emotions the song elicits, the slow, sad start full of heartbreak and longing in all that “just stay one more night” kind of way. And then comes the build, that pulse thumping rise that takes the song into a bitter list of regret filled facts that are dripping in anger, grief, and desperation.
It didn’t take long for “Like a Friend” to become one of my all-time favorite “break-up” songs. It can also work as an “I know you are bad for me, but fuck it, I want to do it again” kind of song.
I’m pretty sure most of us have been there, or have been that person to someone else – I know I’ve been on both sides of it.
“Like a Friend” (live on Jimmy Fallon