When a sad song sounds happy, I think it makes it even more poignant.
“Pimper’s Paradise” is undoubtedly a sad song. Even the name gives away the subject.
It’s about a party girl who gets sucked into a darker world through drugs, chasing the good times but becoming more of a wreck.
The story is told very well throughout the song. The progression is striking, and the song is stuffed full of clever lyrics, like “every need, got an ego to feed”, “now she is bluesin’ when there ain’t no blues”.
The song is cleverly structured as well. The verses, which are about “the good times” are quite jaunty and bouncy. The only thing that changes in the choruses is the addition of some extremely melancholy chords, but they make all the difference.
It’s a strong message, saying that this fake happiness caused by all the glamour and drugs is empty.
The song was released on Uprising in 1980, the last album to be released before Bob’s death.