Sorted for E’s and Whizz // Pulp
When considering how music was defined in Britain in the 90s, two details come to mind: Britpop and rave culture. One song which perfectly combines these two manias is Pulp’s ‘Sorted for E’s and Wizz’, a satirical view of a typical example of an illegal rave. The lyrics describe Jarvis Cocker’s experience of taking ‘Es and whizz’, which refer to ecstasy and methamphetamine as they were prevalent throughout the rave scene.
After the initial cheers of ‘20,000 people in a field’, we hear the confusion and euphoria as Cocker describes his high and how the ‘normal world seems very far away.’ Despite the elation that this particular raver feels, he can only anticipate the misery of his comedown: “In the middle of the night, it feels alright / then tomorrow morning, oh then you come down.” In the latter half of the song we witness his emotional crash at 6am when he exclaims that he ‘wants to go home’, and the peak of his desolation when he suffers from guilt and alienation and groans “Mother, I can never come home again / ‘cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere / somewhere in a field in Hampshire.”
The track has become an anthem for both ravers and those against the ecstasy culture, as it is both relatable to many while painting a picture of the loneliness endured by those who spend their nights dancing with strangers. ‘Sorted for E’s and Wizz’ is unique in how it connects two vastly different but equally important cultures in history, and this universal theme is represented by the thousands that sing along as Cocker leaves us with the timeless question: ‘what if you never come down?’
Words by Nancy Davis
Feature compiled by Matt Ganfield