29 October 2013

30th October - Pulp's Different Class

Artist – Album: Pulp – Different Class
Released: 30th October 1995
Sounds Like: Cocker spangles 

Britpop’s crowning glory didn’t come from Oasis or Blur, or even Supergrass or The Verve, but from a band that weren’t really very Britpop at all. Pulp had been floating about on the periphery of the UK’s indie rock scene since 1978 – back when the Gallaghers were just ruddy-cheeked rapscallions, scrapping away in primary school playgrounds – and had released three unremarkable albums before hitting big with His N’ Hers in 1994. Although their sound was more ensconced in alternative rock and post-punk than any Sixties revival, the public picked up on the lively ‘Babies’ and the single ‘Do You Remember the First Time?’ and bundled the Sheffield group on to the burgeoning Britpop bandwagon.

Fast forward a year and Pulp had headlined Glastonbury and scored a huge hit with the unbelievably good ‘Common People’ (a song so strong that even a cover by William Shatner couldn’t undermine it). Different Class was released in October and it became clear that any one of the other 11 tracks within could be released as a follow up single. As it was ‘Sorted for E’s & Wizz’, ‘Disco 2000’ and ‘Something Changed’ all made the top ten, but the theatrical opener ‘Mis-Shapes’, the relentless ‘Live Bed Show’ or the calm closer ‘Bar Italia’ could surely have troubled the charts too. The album is stuffed full of accessible rock pop, with Jarvis Cocker’s pithy observations about class-tourists (how about: “What's the point of being rich if you can't think what to do with it? 'Cause you're so very thick.” or “You will never understand how it feels to live your life with no meaning or control and with nowhere left to go”) and accented vocals the cherry on the cake. About the only thing that hindered their commercial appeal was the sexualised content of ‘Pencil Skirt’ or ‘Underwear’, and the darker moments, such as the frightening ‘I Spy’ and the insecure ’F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E’ .

The following year Cocker wiggled his bum at the Brit Awards audience during Michael Jackson’s performance, got arrested and released without charge thanks to Vic and Bob’s Bob Mortimer acting as legal representation, and forever cemented his place in my mind as one of Britain’s greatest frontmen.

Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1.       Mis-Shapes – 3:46
2.       Pencil Skirt – 3:11
3.       Common People – 5:50
4.       I Spy – 5:55
5.       Disco 2000 – 4:33
6.       Live Bed Show – 3:29
7.       Something Changed – 3:18
8.       Sorted for E’s & Wizz – 3:47
9.       F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E – 6:01
10.   Underwear – 4:06
11.   Monday Morning – 4:16
12.   Bar Italia – 3:42

Listen to ‘Live Bed Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6hkldGTFXs
Also released on 30th October:
2001: The National – The National

Also released on 30th October:
2000: U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind

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