It really is a relief to have crossed off so many albums from the 1970s that, statistically, the 1990s are available for listening once again. Since I’ve already done albums by Blur and Oasis, it made sense for me to finish off the list’s Britpop trinity. It would be a big 4 normally, but none of Suede’s albums are in the Top 250.
Like all Brits born in the late 1980s, I remember Pulp’s ‘Common People’ being absolutely everywhere in the mid-1990s. Hell, I remember dancing at this when I went to university a decade ago and I tried to fit in by going to the local clubs. It’s one of those songs that has just endured and still sounds anthemic some 24 years later.
So here I am actually listening to a Pulp album for the first time and I absolutely love it. It might actually be the best of the Britpop albums that I have ever heard. For one thing, the songs on this album don’t feel the need to impress or be cool. They are poppy, they are arty, they are good to dance to and the topics are surprisingly subversive at times.
It’s difficult to go against the conventional wisdom that ‘Common People’ is the highlight of the album. This song about a rich person wanting to act like a tourist and see how the majority live is full of Cocker’s acerbic wit whilst also being incredible to dance to. It’s also really worth singling out ‘Disco 2000’, which is one of those great dancing with tears in your eyes kind of song that Cocker wrote about his best friend. I also really appreciate the voyeurism of ‘I Spy’ and however you would describe ‘F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E’.
Different Class is one of those rare albums that has managed to age extremely well and yet remains the pinnacle of now extinct genre of music. I’m going to be sticking around in the 1990s for my next album, but I cannot help but think it’ll have a hard time living up to this one.