Different Class

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Different Class
Studio album by Pulp
Released 30 October 1995
Recorded 1994–1995 at The Town House, London
Genre Alternative rock, Britpop
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 (1995-05-22)
  2. "Mis-Shapes"/"Sorted for E's & Wizz"
    Released: 25 September 1995 (1995-09-25)
  3. "Disco 2000"
    Released: 27 November 1995 (1995-11-27)
  4. "Something Changed"
    Released: 25 March 1996 (1996-03-25)

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.[1] The album became a huge success for the band, reaching #1 in the UK Albums Chart, going Platinum four times and winning 1996 Mercury Music Prize. It had sold 1,255,000 copies in the United Kingdom as of September 2011.[2] The album was ranked number 6 in the 2013 New Music Express top 500 greatest albums of all time.

Background and release[edit]

The album was released in the UK at the height of Britpop, and led to the band being regarded as part of that movement. 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.[3] 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[edit]

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."[4]

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".[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[5]
BBC Music positive[6]
Drowned in Sound 10/10 (2006 reissue)[7]
The Guardian 5/5 stars (2006 reissue)[8]
PopMatters 9/10 (2004)[1]
Q 4.5/5 stars[9]
Robert Christgau A−[10]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[11]
Spin 9/10[12]
Yahoo Music 9/10 stars[13]

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."[5] Spin 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".[12] 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."[6] 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."[1]

Reviewing the 2006 deluxe edition, 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. Ten years on from its release and Different Class sounds as fresh as it did back in 1995; it's an album that carries a rare quality in that it could only be a product of its time, yet it remains a timeless album. The Pulp playing on Different Class burns with the urgency of a band that knows its time has come. Musically, it sounds more organic that its predecessor and more adventurous in its arrangements. Cocker's lyrical prowess has been remarked upon at length in the reviews for the other two deluxe re-releases, but here he's completely in the zone – his scope is widened, and he locks in on his targets with lethal accuracy and rapier wit."[7]

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;[14] a repeat poll in 2006 put it at number 85.[15] In 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 46 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.[16] In 2005 it was voted number 70 in Channel 4's The 100 Greatest Albums.[17] 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.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics by Jarvis Cocker, all music written by Pulp (Cocker, Nick Banks, Steve Mackey, Russell Senior, Candida Doyle and Mark Webber), except tracks 3 and 10 music by Cocker, Banks, Mackey, Senior, Doyle.

  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
Bonus tracks

Different Class was released under the title Common People in Japan on 16 November 1995

Tracks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 from deluxe edition bonus CD were previously unavailable

Personnel[edit]

Pulp:

  • Jarvis Cocker – Vocals, Vox Marauder Guitar, Ovation 12 String Guitar, Sigma Acoustic Guitar, Roland Vocoder Plus VP-330, Roland SH-09, Mellotron, Micromoog, Synare
  • Russell Senior – Fender Jazzmaster Guitar, Violin
  • Candida Doyle – Farfisa Compact Professional II Organ, Ensoniq ASR 10, Korg Trident II, Minimoog, Fender Rhodes Piano, Roland Juno 6, Roland SH-09
  • Steve Mackey – Musicman Sabre Bass
  • Mark Webber – Gibson ES 345 Guitar, Gibson Les Paul Guitar, Gibson Firebird Guitar, Sigma Acoustic Guitar, Casio Tonebank CT-470, Fender Rhodes Piano, Roland Juno 6
  • Nick Banks – Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Percussion

Additional musicians:

  • Matthew Vaughan – Programming
  • Olle Romo – Programming
  • Anthony Genn – Additional Programming
  • Mark Haley – Additional Programming
  • Chris Thomas – Additional Guitar and Keyboards
  • Anne Dudley – Orchestral Arrangement and Conducting
  • Gavyn Wright – Orchestra Leader

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Begrand, Adrien (19 May 2004). "Review: Pulp – Different Class". PopMatters. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Stoddard, Katy (7 September 2011). "Mercury Prize 2011: Every Mercury Prize winner, ever, including PJ Harvey". The Guardian (London, England: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Lamacq, Steve (host) (8 February 1999). "Different Class". Classic Albums of the 90s. The Different Class Story. BBC Radio 1.
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Review: Pulp – Different Class". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Diver, Mike (2011). "Review: Pulp – Different Class". BBC Music. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Cowen, Nick (26 September 2006). "Review: Pulp – Different Class". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (1 September 2006). "CD: Pulp, Different Class | Music". The Guardian (London, England: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Q Magazine | Music news & reviews, music videos, band pictures & interviews". Q4music.com. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "CG: Pulp". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ a b Walters, Barry (March 1996). "Review: Pulp – Different Class". Spin (New York City, USA: Bob Guccione, Jr.) 11 (12): 108. 
  13. ^ "Yahoo! UK & Ireland omg! – Celebrity Gossip | News | Photos | Videos". Uk.launch.yahoo.com. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums Ever". Q (London, England: EMAP) (137). February 1998. 
  15. ^ "100 Greatest Albums Ever". Q (London, England: EMAP) (235). February 2006. 
  16. ^ "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". Q (London, England: EMAP) (165). June 2000. 
  17. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums". Channel 4. 17 April 2005. 
  18. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London, England: Guinness World Records. pp. 400–01. ISBN 978-1-9049-9410-7. 
  19. ^ "Pulp – Different Class". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  20. ^ "Pulp - Different Class" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Pulp – Different Class" (in French). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 62, No. 24, January 29, 1996". RPM. Retrieved on 16 July 2012.
  23. ^ "Pulp – Different Class" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  24. ^ "Pulp: Different Class" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  25. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline". Musicline.de. Media Control. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  26. ^ "パルプのCDアルバムランキング" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  27. ^ "Pulp – Different Class". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  28. ^ "Pulp – Different Class". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  29. ^ "Pulp – Different Class". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  30. ^ "Pulp | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  31. ^ "Pulp – Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved on 16 July 2012.
  32. ^ "British album certifications – Pulp – Different Class". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 July 2012.  Enter Different Class in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  33. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1996". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
Preceded by
Life by Simply Red
UK number one album
11 November 1995 – 17 November 1995
Succeeded by
Made in Heaven by Queen