Cocker made the video from home while in lockdown; it features photos of the band’s performances from the last two years. “Take your foot off the gas because it’s all downhill from here,” he sings in an eerie drawl, sounding like a You Want It Darker b-side. “You are a manifestation of the universe/Your form is unimportant/But please come over here.”
“The title popped into my head as I was leaving the cinema after having seen Nick Broomfield’s Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love documentary,” Cocker said in a statement. “The ‘Smooth World, Wrinkly World’ section came from a childhood memory of being ill: I would hear the murmuring of a large crowd accompanied by a visual image of a line drawing (rather like a Patrick Caulfield painting, I’ve since realized) in which all the objects switched rapidly between being smooth and bulbous and then thin and wrinkly. It used to absolutely terrify me.”
“Weirdly enough, Jason (our electronics wizard) said he had a similar childhood experience except he used to see a teapot surrounded by psychedelic outlines of itself,” he continued. “Emma, our violinist and backing vocalist, found herself singing ‘Smooth World, Wrinkly World’ as a lullaby to her 18-month-old daughter the other night. Pass it on.”
“Save the Whale” follows the lead single “Must I Evolve?” and “House Music All Night Long.” Beyond the Pale was originally slated for May 1st, but was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The record marks Cocker’s first new music since 2009’s Further Complications.