Different Class

Different Class (released in Japan as Common People) is the fifth studio album by English rock band Pulp, released on 30 October 1995 by Island Records.

Different Class
Pulp - Different Class.PNG
Studio album by
Released30 October 1995
Recorded18 January – 28 July 1995[1]
StudioTownhouse, London
ProducerChris Thomas
Pulp chronology
Masters of the Universe
Different Class
Countdown 1992–1983
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

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 1.33 million copies in the United Kingdom as of 2020.[3] In 2013, NME ranked the album at number six in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[4]

Background and releaseEdit

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 on 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."


The sleeve design was created by Blue Source. Initial copies of the CD and vinyl album came with six double-sided inserts of alternative cover art, depicting cardboard cutouts of the band photographed in various situations. A sticker invited 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.

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 cover art, 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 receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [7]
Chicago Tribune    [8]
The Guardian     [9]
Los Angeles Times    [10]
Q     [13]
Rolling Stone     [14]
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, phenomenally nasty, genuinely subversive, and, of course, hugely, flamingly POP!... Different Class is a deft, atmospheric, occasionally stealthy and frequently booming, confident record."[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] Select ranked the album at number one in its end-of-year list of the 50 best albums of 1995.[20]

Different Class was released in the US on 27 February 1996,[21] 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 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]


In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of 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."[22]

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."[23] Reviewing the 2006 deluxe edition, Garry Mulholland of Q stated that the album "defined the mood of the day",[24] 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."[25]


The album was the winner of the 1996 Mercury Music Prize.[3] In 1997, it was ranked at number 34 out of 100 in a "Music of the Millennium" poll[26] conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998 Q readers voted Different Class the 37th greatest album of all time;[27] a repeat poll in 2006 put it at number 85.[28] In 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 46 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.[29] In 2005 it was voted number 70 in Channel 4's The 100 Greatest Albums.[30] 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.[31] The album was ranked at number 35 on Spin's "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)" list.[32]

Released in 1995 at the height of the Britpop era, it is often considered an album which best defines the era and has featured at the number one position on several best Britpop albums polls, including The Village Voice,[33] BuzzFeed,[34] Pitchfork,[35] Spin.[36] Exactly twenty years on from its release, Complex magazine declared Different Class as "the most important Britpop album."[37] Having not featured in Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, the album was ranked at number 162 in their revised 2020 list.[38] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[39]

Commercial performanceEdit

By September 1996, worldwide sales were estimated at 1.5 million copies by the record label, including 40,000 copies in the US.[40] The album has been certified quadruple platinum in the UK, and as of September 2020 has accrued physical, digital, and streaming equivalent sales of 1.33 million,[3] one-tenth of which were in its first week of sales.[41] By the end of its second week, the album had been certified platinum in the UK with 300,000 copies sold.[21]

Track listingEdit

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

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
11."Monday Morning"4:16
12."Bar Italia"3:42
Total length:52:50
Japanese edition (bonus tracks)
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
Japanese edition (Second Class bonus disc)
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
German edition (Second Class bonus disc)
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
2006 deluxe edition (bonus disc)
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



Additional personnel

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

Charts and certificationsEdit


  1. ^ Sturdy, Mark (15 December 2009). Truth and Beauty: The Story of Pulp. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857121035.
  2. ^ Walters, Barry (September 1999). "The 90 Greatest Albums of the '90s". Spin. Vol. 15, no. 9. p. 140. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Copsey, Rob (22 September 2020). "Mercury Prize: The best-selling winning albums". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 September 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. London. BBC Radio 1. The Different Class Story.
  6. ^ a b Hawkins, Chris (10 April 2014). "How a Wedding Picture Ended Up on the Cover of an Iconic Britpop Album ..." HuffPost. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Different Class – Pulp". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  8. ^ Goulding, Steve (2 May 1996). "Pulp: Different Class (Island)". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. 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. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. 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. 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. ^ "50 Albums of the Year". Select (67): 78–79. January 1996. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  21. ^ a b Sexton, Paul (20 January 1996). "Pulp Travels Toward U.S. With 'Class'". Billboard. Vol. 108, no. 3. p. 14. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  22. ^ Diver, Mike (2011). "Review: Pulp – Different Class". BBC Music. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  23. ^ Begrand, Adrien (19 May 2004). "Pulp: Different Class". PopMatters. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  24. ^ Mulholland, Garry (September 2006). "Top of the Fops". Q. No. 242. pp. 116–17.
  25. ^ Cowen, Nick (26 September 2006). "Album Review: Pulp – Different Class (2006 re-issue)". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  26. ^ "Channel 4 / HMV Best music of this millennium". Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  27. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums Ever". Q. London, England: EMAP (137). February 1998.
  28. ^ "100 Greatest Albums Ever". Q. London, England: EMAP (235). February 2006.
  29. ^ "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". Q. London, England: EMAP (165). June 2000.
  30. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums". Channel 4. 17 April 2005. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  31. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London, England: Guinness World Records. pp. 400–01. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  32. ^ Zaleski, Annie (11 May 2015). "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)". Spin. p. 5. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (9 January 2014). "The Official Britpop Album Ranking". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  35. ^ "The 50 Best Britpop Albums". Pitchfork. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  36. ^ Lindsay, Cam (30 September 2020). "The 25 Best Albums of the Britpop Era". Spin. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  37. ^ 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.
  38. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 22 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  39. ^ McLaughlin, Kylie (2006). "Pulp: Different Class". In Dimery, Robert (ed.). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe Publishing. p. 766. ISBN 978-0-7893-1371-3.
  40. ^ Sexton, Paul (21 September 1996). "Pulp Nabs '96 Mercury Music Prize in U.K." Billboard. Vol. 108, no. 38. p. 85. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  41. ^ Jones, Alan (11 April 1998). "The Official UK Charts: Albums - 11 April 1998". Music Week. p. 18.
  42. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Pulp – Different Class". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  43. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Pulp – Different Class" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  44. ^ "Ultratop.be – Pulp – Different Class" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  45. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 62, No. 24, January 29, 1996 Archived 24 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine". RPM. Retrieved on 16 July 2012.
  46. ^ "Listen - Danmarks Officielle Hitliste - Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark - Uge 15". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). Copenhagen. 14 April 1996.
  47. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Pulp – Different Class" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  48. ^ "Pulp: Different Class" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  49. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" Archived 29 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Musicline.de. Media Control. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  50. ^ "パルプのCDアルバムランキング" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  51. ^ "Charts.nz – Pulp – Different Class". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  52. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Pulp – Different Class". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  53. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Pulp – Different Class". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  54. ^ "Pulp | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  55. ^ "Pulp Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard.
  56. ^ "British album certifications – Pulp – Different Class". British Phonographic Industry.
  57. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1996". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 July 2012.

External linksEdit