The Body Beautiful
“Tell me again what the body’s for /’Cos I can’t feel it anymore” sighs the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s leading man Kip Berman. With shoulders slumped and eyes down, it’s the kind of vocal delivery that convincingly captures all the angst of a universe-crumbling teen breakup. Berman’s boy’s world is at an end as he longs for an old flame, unable to envision a time when these feelings of heartbreak will lift and new loves will emerge. Even the title – “The Body”, not “My Body” – suggests feelings of numbness and Berman’s wispy delivery is perfectly on point.
But in the grand tradition of great pop music written about people getting screwed over, “The Body” is throwback indie-pop perfection. Plucked from the group’s still-great sophomore album Belong, the song is powered by a distinctly eighties concoction of fuzzy guitar lines, shimmering keyboard riffs and powerfully whacked drums. On the B-side, with an intensely strummed acoustic and slippery guitar riff, ‘Tomorrow Dies Today’ is a particularly strong non-album cut, sporting all the qualities and charm of a lost Smith’s single.