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"Laugh along with the common people, laugh along even though they're laughing at you and the stupid things that you do, because you think that poor is cool."
—Jarvis Cocker, Common People, "Different Class"
Pulp are an Alternative Rock band which originally formed in Sheffield in 1978 as Arabicus Pulp - name mercifully shortened a year later - during lead singer Jarvis Cocker's school days. For all the band's longevity, they remained relatively under the radar until shooting to fame in the mid-90s during the Britpop movement with their single 'Common People' and accompanying album Different Class. Though Pulp never quite eclipsed the ever-feuding Blur and Oasis in commercial popularity, they received heaps of critical adoration, most of it focusing on Jarvis' wry and witty lyrics. Two more albums, This Is Hardcore and We Love Life, followed Different Class to decreasing sales, and the band announced a seemingly-indefinite hiatus in 2001 while Jarvis went on to a solo career. In late 2010, however, Pulp announced that they will be reuniting summer 2011 to play festivals across Europe, including headlining stints at Reading and Leeds.
Although Jarvis is the only constant member, their best known line-up (and the one reuniting in 2011) consists of him (vocals), Russell Senior (guitar, violin), Mark Webber (guitar), Candida Doyle (keyboards), Steve Mackey (bass) and Nick Banks (drums).
- It (1983)
- Freaks (1986)
- Separations (1992)
- His 'N' Hers (1994)
- Different Class (1995)
- This is Hardcore (1998)
- We Love Life (2001)
Pulp provides examples of:
- Age Progression Song - Disco 2000 ("born within an hour of each other", "the first girl at school to get breasts", and "you can even bring your baby")
- All Love Is Unrequited - "Disco 2000".
- Americans Hate Tingle - While they are generally liked by the Americans who know of them, they failed to make a big impression stateside outside of the indie-minded crowd.
- Anti-Love Song - "Do You Remember the First Time?", "I Spy"
- Audience Participation Song - "Common People". Even on the mastered versions of this performance that they've released, you can still hear the crowd's voice better than Jarvis'. It fits the song though.
- Bastard Boyfriend - The girl's boyfriend in "Pink Glove".
- Break Up Song - "Bad Cover Version" and "Razzmatazz"; mostly of the 'I'm Over You' variety.
- Creator Breakdown - Jarvis, after Different Class. This is Hardcore is the result.
- Creator Provincialism - A lot of their stuff is very specifically about Sheffield, most notably "Wickerman".
- Discontinuity - Their first three albums tend to fall into this.
- Darker and Edgier - Within the albums that the non-hardcore fans have heard of, This is Hardcore so, so much - it's basically Jarvis' musical midlife crisis. But it could also be seen as something of a return to form as their 80s albums were very brooding.
- Deadpan Snarker - Jarvis, in both his lyrics and in real life.
- Epic Rocking - "David's Last Summer", "The Day After The Revolution" (except on the U.S. release), "Seductive Barry", "Wickerman".
- Although the U.K. version of "The Day After The Revolution" is really five minutes of a real song and ten minutes of white noise, which hardily constitutes as rocking.
- Everybody Must Get Stoned - "Sorted Out For E's & Wizz" is about someone going to a drug-fueled rave.
- Intercourse with You - at least every other song:
- "This Is Hardcore" is six-and-half minutes of single entrendres so blunt that you start wondering if it's all supposed to be a metaphor for something else altogether.
- "I Spy" and "Babies", whilst not relatively speaking that explicit, are two of the most uncomfortable sex songs ever.
- It's probably easier to name all their songs that don't include any sexual references.
- Long Runner - continued in some shape or form (albeit at varying amounts of success) from 1978 - 2001 and is reuniting again in 2011 to play summer festivals.
- Lyrical Dissonance - many, many, many examples, but "Disco 2000" immediately comes to mind - it's a song about meeting up again with an over-the-hill unrequited childhood crush, all set over a guitar riff lifted from Laura Branigan's Gloria. And "Disco 2000" contains some of the bands most sentimental lyrics.
- Magnum Opus - Generally Different Class is considered this, although fans have also made cases for His 'N' Hers and This is Hardcore.
- New Sound Album - While each of their albums progresses from the last, His 'N' Hers shows a marked difference from their more introspective, artsy records of the 80s, and is generally considered a vast improvement. We Love Life could also be considered this to a lesser extent, as it sounds much more naturalistic and organic than the albums that preceded it.
- The Nineties
- Obsession Song - "I Spy" has heavily-painted shades of this, with a good swath of pent-up class aggression on the side.
- Also, "Fuckingsong" from Jarvis' solo efforts.
- Older Than They Think: Formed in 1978. They didn't have any chart success until 1994.
- Perishing Alt Rock Voice - Wouldn't be a 90s alt rock band without one.
- Promoted Fanboy - Mark Webber was the president of the band's fan club before becoming their guitarist in 1995.
- Rockstar Song - much of This Is Hardcore, especially the B-side "Cocaine Socialism".
- Sexual Karma - "Pink Glove". A girl's boyfriend forces her to dress up to satisfy his fetish. The speaker of the song simple suggest that "she get it right first time", as it's all she's going to get since she didn't hook up with him instead.
- Signature Song - "Common People"
- Silly Love Songs - "Something Changed" is probably the straightest example you'll ever get from them.
- Sliding Scale of Cynicism Versus Idealism - Rather snark-ily cynical.
- Slumming It - "Common People" may be the archetypical song on this topic.
- Song Style Shift - "Like A Friend"
- Spoken Word in Music - it would almost be easier to name songs which don't have an interlude using this trope, but we'll stick to listing examples for the time being:
- "Love is Blind" from Separations: "We held hands and we looked out of the bedroom window . . . "
- The very beginning of "Acrylic Afternoons", on His 'N' Hers.
- "I Spy" and "F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E." off of Different Class
- "A Little Soul" from This is Hardcore.
- "Wickerman" from We Love Life is an entire song of this trope; Jarvis literally just speaks over background music for nearly eight minutes.
- Step Up to the Microphone: "Sheffield: Sex City" contains a spoken monologue from keyboardist Candida Doyle, her only vocal performance in her long tenure with the band.
- Take That - "Common People" viciously skewers rich kids who glamorize the working class life.
- "Mis-Shapes" touches on similar themes, about lower-class people plotting their revenge against the upper-class that ostracizes them.
- "I Spy" idolises the luvvie lifestyle then viciously trashes it.
My favourite parks are car parks/Grass is something you smoke/Birds are something you shag/Take your Year In Provence/And shove it up your assssss...
- This Is a Song - "The Fear":
So now you know the words to our song,
- A Touch of Class Ethnicity and Religion: A lot, with "Common People" as the standout on class. Although there's also "I Spy" (see Take That, above).