Newest Review: ... CDs a few weeks later. The next track is "Pencil Skirt", one of many tracks on the album not to be released as a single but whic... more
Really is in a class of its own.
Different Class - Pulp
Member Name: cha97mw
Different Class - Pulp
Advantages: Pulps strength is in the song lyrics. Some of the tunes are very catchy.
Disadvantages: Started to get bored by it being a bit self indulgent by the end.
The cover to the disc is not that inspiring, but certainly very striking. Featuring a colour picture of a wedding scene, the band are superimposed in black and white over the top. To me this always has a bit of an old feel to it, and while not that appealing to me, perhaps more appealing to the parents of me and my friends who had grown up at the same time as front man and singer, Jarvis Cocker, and experienced similar angst to him. The tagline inside, 'Please understand. We don't want no trouble. We just want the right to be be different. That's all. ' There is something very appealing about this sentiment to someone on the cusp of becoming an adult and establishing their opinions at an alarming rate.
The CD I own was purchased from Woolies - thanks to a receipt tucked in the cover, I can see I paid £12.49 for it. How amazing that you can get albums cheaper than this now. One of the only commodities that doesn't cost you more these days. The album features 12 songs with an alternative rock feel, sung by Jarvis Cocker in a style that features his Yorkshire accent and sometimes almost feels more speech like than singing, with a bit of a nasal property. Each track has a run time between 3 and 6 minutes, so the CD as a whole runs for about one delightful hour.
Mis-shapes opens the album - a song that reached 2 in 1995. This is quite a catchy tune about class divide and how people who stand out get mistreated. It is a song about standing up for yourselves and rising up in spite of where you come from. 'We want your homes, we want your lives, we want the things you won't allow us. We won't use guns, we won't use bombs. We'll use the one thing we've got more of - that's our minds. ' For someone from a working class background, that is so relatable about rising up beyond what you have using education and hard work.
Pencil Skirt is more of a little ditty to me rather than a full blown song, spoken by Cocker in quite a breathless voice about an affair between two people who shouldn't be together. You can't help but feel he is the underdog who is not quite good enough as the other man. I love the rhyme in the lyrics with this one, it always makes me chuckle a bit with its descriptiveness and although it kind of is meant to be a bit seductive, its like a satirical northern version of it. 'When you raise your pencil skirt like a veil before my eyes. Like the look upon his face as he's zipping up his flies.' I can't think of anything less romantic sounding myself.
We are then took into the biggest hit from this CD that has most mass appeal, Common People. Another number two, this was the song of my summer. At 6 minutes, it is quite long, but it doesn't necessarily feel it. It describes a girl lowering herself a bit with an affair with a boy who is a lower social class than her, but there is this undercurrent that she can always stop pretending and go back to her normal life whenever she wants, and how pretending that your poor is not the same reality as being poor. This for me is such a relevant theme even now though is obviously more from Cockers own youth in the 80s. It definitely felt relevant at the time where I was approaching my own University/college education, making it sound an exciting time.
I Spy - this has a bit of a sound of the Pet Shop Boys to me. This is almost whispered by Cocker, over music which starts really quietly and then builds throughout the song, leading to song through the chorus. It seems a quite jealous song to me. Some of the words are pronounced quite harshly with a lot of emphasis on the 's' sound which sounds almost like hissing. 'You see you should take me seriously. Very seriously indeed. Cause I've been sleeping with your wife for the past sixteen weeks. Smoking your cigarettes, drinking your brandy, messing up the bed you chose together. And in all that time I just wanted you to come home unexpectedly one afternoon, And catch us at it in the front room. You see I spy for a living and I specialise in revenge, On taking the things I know will cause you pain. I can't help it, I was dragged up.'
Disco 2000 - another hit from the CD, though this one was only ever number 7 in the charts, but I found it far more 'pop' and catchy than Mis shapes. I love looking back now at 'Let's all meet up in the year 2000' which at that point was a future event, but now how long ago was that? It describes Cocker's real life, of falling in love with someone totally unattainable, and how they grew up not very differently, but the girl is infinitely more popular and never notices him and his love in unrequited. It's hard to see that the track did not achieve more commercial success as it is a lot more cheerful than some of their other tracks.
Live Bed Show - this is quite a melancholy sound which to me is about the demise of a relationship that has just slipped away. This is to me, a couple who are moving apart from each other, like ships in the night. I love the line 'It's changed from something beautiful, to something else instead.'
Something Changed - It's a nice guitar based track. It always puts me in the mood of the film, Sliding Doors, what would happen to you if you made one choice in life rather than following another route. 'When we woke up that morning we had no way of knowing that in a matter of hours we'd change the way we were going. Where would I be now if we'd never met? '
Sorted for E's and Whizz was the other A side of the track, Mis shapes which reached number 2. The song has a bit of a spaced feel with clear reference to drug use, describing the trip. This seems to make drug use seem quite unglamourous to me, talking about feeling like you can't go home because you left part of your brain in a field in Hampshire.
F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E is a very weird song, following on well from the quiet ending of the previous track, featuring Cocker speaking in a very quiet voice through the verses that is difficult to make out like he is telling you a secret. The chorus starts with him almost whining like an animal that it is cold. It is an odd description of love, stripping it back to more of an animal thing. 'So what do I do? I've got a slightly sick feeling in my stomach, Like I'm standing on top of a very high building oh yeah. All the stuff they tell you about in the movies, but this isn't chocolate boxes and roses. '
Underwear - firstly, an odd name for a track - it sounds a bit sordid, and this is what the lyrics describe, someone stripping down to their underwear. I feel there is a bit of sordidness underneath the lyrics, someone not quite wanting to be where they are, but needing to continue once they have started. 'If you could close your eyes and just remember, that this is what you wanted last night. So why is it so hard for you to touch him, for you to go, to give yourself to him? Oh Jesus!'
Monday Morning - this song somes up perhaps how many people live, surviving the week to get to the weekend, where you live, until its Monday again and you are constantly on this repetitive cycle thinking how pointless it is. The lyrics make you think a little about what you would do if you could escape from the rat race.
Bar Italia is the 12th and final track on the disc. It describes the feeling at the end of the night, not wanting it all to end, making plans to do it all again, making it a good track for ending the CD.
For me, this disc starts with a bit of pace and passion, and kind of dies out by the last quarter where the more laid back and less popular tracks are. I find that the strength to this CD is the lyrics, and this is why Pulp always won over Blur for me as there lyrics have a lot more meaning to them. Musically, this could sound like other bands, but it is the strength of these lyrics and Jarvis Cockers unique voice that really mark this band apart from others. While this angst will not be for everyone, the catchy Common People and Disco 2000 (5* tracks) will drag people in to listen to the rest of the disc. For me, some of it is a bit self indulgent, and this is what stopped the band gaining more commercial mainstream success.
While I love the songs that charted from this CD, and I am amused by some of the other tracks like something changed and pencil skirt, I find that I only tolerate the last three tracks really.
This is a CD that calls out to you to listen to the words being spoken, unfortunately not all of them are that wise or worth listening to, and overall it is an average album with a couple of gems in it for me. I played it to death when it was new, I still don't mind the occasional listen, but it is music to match a mood and an era. A fun trip down memory lane, but the sentiments are a bit dated now for me.
Summary: A few stand out tracks, but this kind of disappears to not a lot by the end.