By Leah Greenblatt
December 27, 2006 at 04:00 PM EST

OK, Jarvis… free association, go! Onetime lead singer of Pulp, original Misshape, “Common People”… There was little about his reign as one of the crown princes of Britain’s singularly amazing rock scene in the ’90s that we didn’t love. But one thing we never pegged Jarvis Cocker for was having a crack sense of humor.

Here he is, the (albeit handsome and bookish) human equivalent of a praying mantis, all gawky gestures and skinny limbs, playing it nearly slapstick in the first single from his upcoming solo album, appearing as an English cabbie prone to advising his backseat customer — at the severe cost of keeping his eye on the road.

Now, the 37 of you who picked up the excellent Nancy Sinatra solo record last year (I bought two!), may recognize the tune, “Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time”: Cocker wrote it originally for Frank’s daughter but repurposes it to his own ends here. Minus her whiskeyed, world-weary intonations, it becomes less grim advice, more gentle admonishment, and the accompanying vehicular slaughter of prime London real estate (and several near-miss homicides-by-taxi) surprisingly suits his louche, Bowie-esque delivery. Then again, after a few viewings, we may be over the novelty, and ready for something a little less Jackass.