Different Class

Different Class is the fifth studio album by English Britpop band Pulp. It was released on Island Records in the UK on 30 October 1995, and in the US on 27 February 1996.[2] The album was a critical and commercial success, entering the UK Albums Chart at number one and winning the 1996 Mercury Music Prize. It has been certified four times platinum and had sold 1,300,000 copies in the United Kingdom as of September 2017.[3] In 2013, NME ranked the album at number 6 in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[4]

Different Class
Pulp - Different Class
Studio album by Pulp
Released 30 October 1995
Recorded 1994–1995
Studio The Town House, London
Genre Britpop, art rock[1]
Length 52:50
Label Island
Producer Chris Thomas
Pulp chronology
Masters of the Universe
(1994)
Different Class
(1995)
Countdown 1992–1983
(1996)
Singles from Different Class
  1. "Common People"
    Released: 22 May 1995
  2. "Mis-Shapes" / "Sorted for E's & Wizz"
    Released: 25 September 1995
  3. "Disco 2000"
    Released: 27 November 1995
  4. "Something Changed"
    Released: 25 March 1996

Background and release

The album was released in the UK at the height of Britpop. It followed from the success of their breakthrough album His 'n' Hers the previous year. Two of the singles on the album – "Common People" (which reached number two in the UK singles chart) and "Disco 2000" (which reached number seven) – were especially notable, and helped propel Pulp to nationwide fame. A "deluxe edition" of Different Class was released on 11 September 2006. It contains a second disc of B-sides, demos and rarities.

The inspiration for the title came to frontman Jarvis Cocker in Smashing, a club night that ran during the early 1990s in Eve's Club on Regent Street in London. Cocker had a friend who used the phrase "different class" to describe something that was "in a class of its own". Cocker liked the double meaning, with its allusions to the British social class system which was a theme of some of the songs on the album.[5] A message on the back of the record also references this idea:

"We don't want no trouble, we just want the right to be different. That's all."

Artwork

The sleeve design was created by Blue Source. Initial copies of the CD and vinyl album came with 6 different double-sided inserts of alternative cover art, and a sticker inviting the listener to "Choose your own front cover". In all standard copies thereafter these 12 individual covers made up the CD booklet, with the wedding photograph used as the actual cover.

The full details of the wedding photograph used on the front cover of the standard sleeve editions were described on 2011 tour posters:

LOCATION: St Barnabas Church, East Molesey
TIME: 12pm, Saturday 12 August 1995
EVENT: Sharon & Dominic's Wedding
PHOTOGRAPHER: Donald Milne
CAMERA: 1979 Hasselblad 500CM with 80mm lens
FILM STOCK: Fuji Super G-400
DESIGN: Blue Source
ORIGINAL SLEEVE NOTES: "Please understand – we don't want no trouble. We just want the right to be different. That's all."

In an interview with BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Chris Hawkins on 8 April 2014, Dom O'Connor, the groom featured in the wedding photograph, recalled how the album cover had come about:

"When we got married we were putting the wedding together ourselves, we pulled a lot of favours from people we knew ... My little brother Ben went to art college in Edinburgh and he made friends with a guy who subsequently became a photographer and had done a lot of work with the Britpop bands – I think he worked with Blur, and Elastica, and of course Pulp. So we asked him about a couple of months before whether he would be prepared to do some photos for us, and he couldn't actually do it because he said he was busy working on some Pulp stuff. But he phoned us about a week before and said Pulp were thinking about using some photos with real people in them, including a wedding photo, and if we would do some joke shots where he'd bring some life-size cutouts of the band down, he would do some proper wedding shots for us as well. And that's basically what happened. They rocked up on the wedding day with the life-size cutouts of the band and took the photos, and I suppose the rest is history."[6]

Apart from the bride and groom, the photograph features the parents of both the bride and the groom, O'Connor's two brothers, his two best friends and his wife's best friend. O'Connor also told Hawkins that he and his family had no further contact with the photographer after the day of the wedding, and had no idea that the photographs would be used for the album cover until his mother saw a poster advertising the album in an HMV record store. He later saw a billboard poster of the album cover while he was out shopping. Pulp's record company at the time did not pay the family for the use of their picture, but when Pulp reformed in 2011 Rough Trade paid for the family members to see Pulp play live. O'Connor said, "Rough Trade very kindly sent us a signed copy of the photo that Jarvis had signed last year, just saying 'Thank you very much Dom and Sharon for letting us crash your wedding', which I thought was a really nice touch actually".[6]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[7]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[8]
The Guardian5/5 stars[9]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[10]
NME8/10[11]
Pitchfork9.3/10[12]
Q4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[14]
Spin9/10[15]
The Village VoiceA−[16]

Different Class received widespread acclaim from music critics in the UK. In the NME John Mulvey summarised the record as "funny, phenomenonally nasty, genuinely subversive, and, of course, hugely, flamingly POP!... Different Class is a deft, atmospheric, occasionally stealthy and frequently booming, confident record." Discussing the sexual themes and the characters played by Cocker in many of the songs, both as voyeur and adulterer, Mulvey wrote, "The roles [Cocker] takes for much of Different Class exploit the fears of the generations-that-never-inhaled in a far more real and frightening way... Pulp smuggle in all this filth, this plethora of 'single entendres' and soiled specifics, under cover of seamless, artful and almost unfailingly memorable tunes."[11] Melody Maker awarded the album its star rating of "bloody essential", and its critic Simon Reynolds observed that "the album's title alone announces that Cocker's broadened his scope, has another axe to grind: social antagonism", and stated that Pulp was "not so much the jewel in Britpop's crown, more like the single solitary band who validate the whole sorry enterprise".[17] In Q Robert Yates felt that "the range of Different Class is impressive: tracks such as ["Live Bed Show" and "F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E."] render more redundant than ever the view of Pulp as kitsch",[13] while in Vox Keith Cameron awarded the album eight out of ten and wrote that "no other Pulp album of recent years froths around the mouth so unselfconsciously... Pulp have managed to elevate their grandiose, popoid vision-thing to new and greater heights, without crashing into the realms of extreme fantasy."[18] In Mojo Bob Stanley stated, "You'd have to be a fool or a low-fi obsessive not to concede that it's easily the closest that Pulp have come to realising their potential... Different Class is curiously sparse yet lush enough in all the right places, warm and soulful where unnecessary electro-clutter used to be", and concluded, "Arguments about Blur versus Oasis are irrelevant. Pulp are in a different class."[19]

Different Class was released in the US in February 1996, and received equally enthusiastic reviews from American critics. David Fricke of Rolling Stone called it "a brilliant, eccentric, irresistible pop album about fucking and fucking up... The record is rife with sexual combat and bitter recrimination." He described Cocker's lyrics as "taking on the haves and the have-nots alike with a combination of tart social observation and bittersweet retro-pop grandeur", while the music was "the addictive locomotion of low-rent '70s glam pop and cheesy Eurodisco, like classic Roxy Music with a case of Boney M." He concluded, "Even in a truly classless society, sex separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, the romantics from the mere runters. Different Class is the sound of Jarvis Cocker keeping score – with delicious accuracy."[14] Robert Christgau wrote in The Village Voice that "1996 won't produce a more indispensable song than "Common People", and described the album as neither Blur nor Oasis, but "Culture Club with lyrics... Smart and glam, swish and het, its jangle subsumed beneath swelling crescendos or nagging keybs and its rhythms steeped in rave".[16] In Spin Barry Walters described the album as "songs about naughty infidelities, sexless marriages, grown-up teenage crushes, twisted revenge fantasies, obsessive voyeurism and useless raves; songs that demand your full attention and deserve it".[15]

AllMusic declared that Different Class "blows away all their previous albums, including the fine His 'n' Hers. Pulp don't stray from their signature formula at all – it's still grandly theatrical, synth-spiked pop with new wave and disco flourishes, but they have mastered it here. Not only are the melodies and hooks significantly catchier and more immediate, the music explores more territory ... Jarvis Cocker's lyrics take two themes, sex and social class, and explore a number of different avenues in bitingly clever ways. As well as perfectly capturing the behavior of his characters, Cocker grasps the nuances of language, creating a dense portrait of suburban and working-class life."[7] Writing about the album in 2011, BBC Music stated that "over 15 years since its release [it] continues to reward the listener with some of the smartest, slinkiest, sauciest, spectacular pop songs of a decade that was, looking back, not that brilliant once the bucket hats and ironic anoraks are whipped away."[20]

PopMatters retrospective review in 2004 opined that "nearly nine years after its release, Different Class has aged very well, possessing that timeless quality that is present in all classic albums, but is still obviously a product of its time, a snapshot of mid-'90s life in the UK. Along with Blur's Parklife, it remains the high point of the Britpop era; music, lyrics, production, artwork, it's as perfect as it gets."[2] Reviewing the 2006 deluxe edition, Garry Mulholland of Q stated that the album "defined the mood of the day",[21] while Drowned in Sound described Different Class as "easily the best album of its year of release and arguably the best album from the Britpop era" and went on to call it "a certifiable masterpiece that not only lived up to the sky-high expectations heaped upon it with appalling ease, but surpassed them."[22]

Accolades

The album was the winner of the 1996 Mercury Music Prize. In 1998 Q readers voted Different Class the 37th greatest album of all time;[23] a repeat poll in 2006 put it at number 85.[24] In 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 46 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.[25] In 2005 it was voted number 70 in Channel 4's The 100 Greatest Albums.[26] In 2006 British Hit Singles & Albums and NME organised a poll in which 40,000 people worldwide voted for the 100 best albums ever and Different Class was placed at number 54 on the list.[27] The album was ranked at number 35 on Spin's "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)" list.[28] Select ranked the album at number one in its end-of-year list of the 50 best albums of 1995.[29]

Released in 1995 at the height of the Britpop era, it is often considered an album which best defines Britpop and has featured at the top of polls of best Britpop albums. 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of Britpop, which drew strong interest from the music press with various polls. A BBC Radio poll of over 30,000 listeners voted lead single "Common People" as the top Britpop anthem. DJ Steve Lamacq said: "It is one of the defining records of Britpop because it seemed to embrace the essence of the time so perfectly."[30] Paste also ranked "Common People" at number one in its list, "The 50 Best Britpop Songs."[31] The Village Voice ranked Different Class at number one in its list of the 10 best Britpop albums.[32] Exactly twenty years on from its release, Complex magazine declared Different Class as "the most important Britpop album."[33] It also topped Pitchfork's 2017 poll of "The 50 Best Britpop Albums."[34]

Track listing

All lyrics written by Jarvis Cocker; all music composed by Pulp (Cocker, Nick Banks, Steve Mackey, Russell Senior, Candida Doyle and Mark Webber), except "Common People", "Underwear" and "Monday Morning" by Cocker, Banks, Mackey, Senior and Doyle.

Different Class
No.TitleLength
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
Different Class – Japanese edition (bonus tracks)
No.TitlePlace of originLength
13."P.T.A. (Parent Teacher Association)""Mis-Shapes" / "Sorted for E's & Wizz" single3:16
14."Common People" (Motiv8 club mix)"Common People" single7:51
Second Class – Japanese edition (bonus disc)
No.TitlePlace of originLength
1."Mile End""Something Changed" single4:32
2."Ansaphone""Disco 2000" single4:00
3."Live Bed Show" (extended)"Disco 2000" single4:10
4."Your Sister's Clothes"The Sisters EP4:37
5."Seconds"The Sisters EP4:19
6."Deep Fried in Kelvin""Lipgloss" single9:49
7."The Babysitter""Do You Remember the First Time?" single5:01
8."Street Lites""Do You Remember the First Time?" single5:55
9."Common People '96" (7" edit)"Common People" single4:07
Second Class – German edition (bonus disc)
No.TitlePlace of originLength
1."Mile End""Something Changed" single4:32
2."Ansaphone""Disco 2000" single4:00
3."P.T.A. (Parent Teacher Association)""Mis-Shapes" / "Sorted for E's & Wizz" single3:16
4."Live Bed Show" (extended)"Disco 2000" single4:10
5."Your Sister's Clothes"The Sisters EP4:37
6."Seconds"The Sisters EP4:19
7."Deep Fried in Kelvin""Lipgloss" single9:49
8."The Babysitter""Do You Remember the First Time?" single5:01
9."Street Lites""Do You Remember the First Time?" single5:55
Different Class – 2006 deluxe edition (bonus disc)
No.TitlePlace of originLength
1."Common People" (at Glastonbury 1995)"Mis-Shapes" / "Sorted for E's & Wizz" single7:38
2."Mile End""Something Changed" single4:30
3."P.T.A.""Mis-Shapes" / "Sorted for E's & Wizz" single3:17
4."Ansaphone" (demo)Previously unavailable4:09
5."Paula" (demo)Previously unavailable3:37
6."Catcliffe Shakedown" (demo)Previously unavailable6:43
7."We Can Dance Again" (demo)Previously unavailable3:51
8."Don't Lose It" (demo)Previously unavailable3:10
9."Whiskey in the Jar"Childline4:48
10."Disco 2000" (Nick Cave pub rock version)Previously unavailable4:22
11."Common People" (Vocoda mix)"Common People" single6:18

Personnel

Pulp

Additional personnel

  • Chris Thomas – production, additional guitar and keyboards
  • David "Chipper" Nicholas – engineering
  • Julie Gardner – engineering assistance (tracks 1, 2, 4-9, 11, 12)
  • Pete Lewis – engineering assistance (tracks 3, 10), additional engineering
  • Matthew Vaughan – programming (tracks 1, 2, 4-9, 11, 12)
  • Olle Romo – programming (tracks 3, 10), additional programming
  • Antony Genn – additional programming
  • Mark Haley – additional programming
  • Anne Dudley – orchestral arrangement and conducting (tracks 4, 7, 9)
  • Gavyn Wright – orchestra leader
  • Andy Strange – orchestra recording assistance
  • Kevin Metcalfe – mastering
  • Geoff Pesche – mastering
  • Donald Milne – photography
  • Rankin – photography

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (1995–96) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[35] 44
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[36] 24
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[37] 47
Canadian Albums (RPM)[38] 36
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[39] 22
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[40] 69
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[41] 37
German Albums (Media Control)[42] 71
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[43] 91
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[44] 17
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[45] 19
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[46] 7
UK Albums (OCC)[47] 1
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[48] 34

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[49] 4× Platinum 1,300,000[3]
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[50] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

As of 1996, worldwide sales stood at over 1.5 million copies, according to Billboard magazine.[51]

References

  1. ^ Walters, Barry (September 1999). "The 90 Greatest Albums of the '90s". Spin. 15 (9): 140. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (19 May 2004). "Pulp: Different Class". PopMatters. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b Copsey, Rob (13 September 2017). "The biggest selling Mercury Prize-winning albums revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  4. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 100-1". NME. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  5. ^ Lamacq, Steve (host) (8 February 1999). "Different Class". Classic Albums of the 90s. The Different Class Story. London. BBC Radio 1.
  6. ^ a b Hawkins, Chris (10 April 2014). "How a Wedding Picture Ended Up on the Cover of an Iconic Britpop Album ..." The Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Different Class – Pulp". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  8. ^ Kot, Greg (2 May 1996). "Pulp: Different Class (Island)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  9. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (1 September 2006). "CD: Pulp, Different Class". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  10. ^ Ali, Lorraine (18 February 1996). "Pulp, 'Different Class', Island". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  11. ^ a b Mulvey, John (28 October 1995). "'Class' A". NME. p. 52. Archived from the original on 13 October 2000. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  12. ^ Reynolds, Simon (3 July 2016). "Pulp: Different Class". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b Yates, Robert (December 1995). "Quotable". Q. No. 111. p. 142.
  14. ^ a b Fricke, David (4 April 1996). "Pulp – Different Class". Rolling Stone. No. 731. pp. 61–62. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  15. ^ a b Walters, Barry (March 1996). "Pulp – Different Class". Spin. Vol. 11 no. 12. p. 108. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  16. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (9 April 1996). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York City. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  17. ^ Reynolds, Simon (28 October 1995). "Working-Class Heroes". Melody Maker. p. 37.
  18. ^ Cameron, Keith (December 1995). "Polyester day once more". Vox. No. 62. pp. 112–13.
  19. ^ Stanley, Bob (November 1995). "Let Them Eat Cocker". Mojo. No. 24. p. 108.
  20. ^ Diver, Mike (2011). "Review: Pulp – Different Class". BBC Music. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  21. ^ Mulholland, Garry (September 2006). "Top of the Fops". Q. No. 242. pp. 116–17.
  22. ^ Cowen, Nick (26 September 2006). "Album Review: Pulp – Different Class (2006 re-issue)". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  23. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums Ever". Q. London, England: EMAP (137). February 1998.
  24. ^ "100 Greatest Albums Ever". Q. London, England: EMAP (235). February 2006.
  25. ^ "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". Q. London, England: EMAP (165). June 2000.
  26. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums". Channel 4. 17 April 2005.
  27. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London, England: Guinness World Records. pp. 400–01. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  28. ^ Zaleski, Annie (11 May 2015). "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)". Spin. p. 5. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  29. ^ "50 Albums of the Year". Select (67): 78–79. January 1996. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  30. ^ Michaels, Sean (14 April 2014). "Pulp's Common People declared top Britpop anthem by BBC 6 Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  31. ^ Stiernberg, Bonnie (11 June 2014). "The 50 Best Britpop Songs". Paste. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  32. ^ Laws, Mike (11 December 2014). "The 10 Best Britpop Albums of All Time (or At Least Since 1993 or So)". The Village Voice. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  33. ^ Yoonsoo Kim, Kristen (30 October 2015). "Why Pulp's 'Different Class' Is The Most Important Britpop Album 20 Years Later". Complex. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  34. ^ "The 50 Best Britpop Albums". Pitchfork. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Pulp – Different Class". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  36. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Pulp – Different Class" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  37. ^ "Ultratop.be – Pulp – Different Class" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  38. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 62, No. 24, January 29, 1996". RPM. Retrieved on 16 July 2012.
  39. ^ "Listen - Danmarks Officielle Hitliste - Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark - Uge 15". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). Copenhagen. 1996-04-14.
  40. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Pulp – Different Class" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  41. ^ "Pulp: Different Class" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  42. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline". Musicline.de. Media Control. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  43. ^ "パルプのCDアルバムランキング" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  44. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Pulp – Different Class". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  45. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Pulp – Different Class". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  46. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Pulp – Different Class". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  47. ^ "Pulp | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  48. ^ "Pulp Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard.
  49. ^ "British album certifications – Pulp – Different Class". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter Different Class in the search field and then press Enter.
  50. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1996". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  51. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=wwkEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA85&dq=pulp+album+sales&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiF4dHGmNXVAhXE0RQKHcIEC7wQ6AEISDAG#v=onepage&q=pulp%20album%20sales&f=false

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