I’ve been listening to Pulp for, oh, about a million years. The This Is Hardcore/Different Class duo were some of my most listened-to records between ’98 and ’00. It was a period where heavy metal music was stagnating under the ridiculous weight of Nü-metal and I started to explore lighter music. I got way into the pop and other rock coming out of the British Isles, bands like Blur, Supergrass, Pulp, Gomez, Radiohead. These guys and girls were carrying the torch of classic British pop rock music in the vein of The Kinks or The Zombies or any number of other bands. They were writing catchy as hell tunes with a light-hearted sensibility that nevertheless held a tiny shade of darkness below all the major chords and joyful harmonies.
No band exemplified that light/dark condition like Pulp did on 1996’s Different Class. The record features a bunch of upbeat poppy tracks propelled by Cocker’s sharp, biting lyrics. The songs are filled longing and remorse and shame expressed with witty jabs, all bouncing along to a brisk, danceable beat.
Then they released This Is Hardcore in 1998 which is Different Class’s sleazier, darker, less poppy older brother. Lacking the supreme dancey-ness of its predecessor, it’s also a whole lot darker. No, that’s not exactly right. The darkness is a lot more apparent.
Neither record is better than the other. They’ve been in heavy rotation in my listening habits for a long time and I’m still not sick of them. What I think I really love is that the songs are like Jarvis Cocker having a conversation with the listener, like he’s telling us a story. He allows his thoughts to linger and spread and chooses the right word even if he doesn’t rhyme.
I could write a whole bunch of other stuff here, but I won’t. Just listen to the music.
Ok. So, I’m a fan. Doy. You would think that I would have seen all their music videos, right? Me too. But until yesterday I hadn’t seen a single one. What the hell is that about? At the very least, I guess it’s because when I became a fan of Pulp there was no place like YouTube to see all their videos. It was an age when MTV no longer played videos and there was no good way for me to see the videos a medium-sized British band were making.
Well, now I’ve got YouTube, so I can watch whatever I want! I present to you, dear reader, every decent Pulp video I can find.