Song of the Week

EHSDA Song of the Week: Help the Aged

The workforce is aging, reflecting changes in society as a whole. Labor force participation rates for workers aged 55 or older are expected to rise through 2030, while participation rates for other age groups are expected to remain at the same level or decline. The Song of the Week takes a sarcastic look at getting older with Pulp’s “Help the Aged.”

The British alternative rock act released the song in 1998, written by frontman Jarvis Cocker as a tongue-in-cheek look at his own aging. Of course, he was all of 34 at the time, but that seems pretty old for someone who doesn’t know any better. The song was the first single off Pulp’s album This is Hardcore, although guitarist Russell Senior didn’t like the song and tried to prevent it from being released as a single, eventually leaving the group.

“Help the aged/Don’t just put them in a home/Can’t have much fun when they’re all on their own/Give a hand, if you can/Try and help them to unwind/Give them hope and give them comfort/’Cause they’re running out of time.”

The song starts quietly with piano and guitar and builds into a loud full-band crescendo.

“Help the aged/’Cause one day you’ll be older too/You might need someone who can pull you through/And if you look very hard/Behind those lines upon their face/You may see where you are headed/And it’s such a lonely place, oh.”

The song was a hit in the U.K., where it hit #8 on the singles chart. Pulp released one more studio album before going on hiatus in 2002. After nearly a decade, the band reunited for a tour in 2011 and then again in 2023. And Cocker, who wrote “Help the Aged,” is now 60, so there’s that.

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