Different Class (album)

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  • Jarvis Cocker: vocals, Vox Marauder guitar, Ovation 12 string guitar, Sigma acoustic guitar, Roland Vocoder Plus VP-330, Roland SH-09, Mellotron, MicroMoog, Synare
  • Nick Banks: Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, percussion
  • 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
  • Russell Senior: Fender Jazzmaster guitar, violin
  • 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
  • Producer: Chris Thomas
  • Engineer David 'Chipper' Nicholas
  • Assistant engineer: Julie Gardner (except tracks 3 and 10)
  • Additional engineering: Pete Lewis
  • Programming: Matthew Vaughan (except tracks 3 and 10 Olle Romo)
  • Additional programming: Olle Romo, Anthony Genn and Mark Haley
  • Additional guitar and keyboards: Chris Thomas
  • Orchestra arranged and conducted by: Anne Dudley
  • Mastered by: Kevin Metcalfe and Geoff Pesche

Sleeve credits:


  1. Mis-shapes (3:48)
  2. Pencil Skirt (3:13)
  3. Common People (5:53)
  4. I Spy (5:57)
  5. Disco 2000 (4:45)
  6. Live Bed Show (3:31)
  7. Something Changed (3:20)
  8. Sorted For E's & Wizz (3:49)
  9. F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E. (6:03)
  10. Underwear (4:08)
  11. Monday Morning (4:20)
  12. Bar Italia (3:42)
    Total length: 52:06



Formats and catalogue numbers


30 October 1995

CD - CID 8041

12" - ILPS 8041

Cassette - ICT 8041

Original UK release.

Initial copies of the CD and LP came with 12 interchangeable covers.

October 1995

CD - PHCR 1801

Japanese release.

Extra tracks:

  1. P.T.A. (Parent Teacher Association) (3:16)
  2. Common People (Motiv 8 Club Mix) (4:58)

October 1995?

CD - CIDX8041

German edition which came with 'Second Class' bonus disc. More details here.

October 1995?

CD - PHCR14001

Japanese edition which came with 'Second Class' bonus disc. More details here.

24 January 2000

12" - SVLP166

Label: Simply Vinyl

Limited edition heavy vinyl release.

11 September 2006

CD - 9840051

Deluxe edition. Includes a bonus disc of B-sides, demos and rarities. More details here.

Sleeve notes

Please understand. We don't want no trouble. We just want the right to be different. That's all.


Roy Wilkinson in Select, December 1995:

On the one hand there was Tight Fit, loincloth-favouring male/female vocal group about to take the number one spot with their lithesome re-working of Karl Denver's 'Wimoweh', where, famously, "the lion sleeps tonight". On the other there were the archetypal misfits, a Sheffield troupe called Pulp about to release their debut album with a line-up that included future Mission guitarist Simon Hinkler. Thirteen years later it's Pulp who are worrying the chart peaks. But – "Mis-shapes, misfits, mistakes" – Jarvis and friends aren't ready to forget the long years bleakly frittered away as outsiders, terminally out of place and out of cigs.

In recent times Jarvis Cocker has breezed triumphantly through Top Of The Pops, Pop Quiz and Glastonbury. He's holidayed at Björk's house in Iceland, attended Versace parties, become a staple of the Sunday colour supplements and been warmly praised by anyone from Noel Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers to Pete Waterman. When Radio One assembled an all-star indie-pop panel to judge a best-of-Britpop singles knockout, Pulp's 'Common People' won by a clear poly-mix roll-neck. At times it seems Jarvis is set to casually surpass the confines of mere popstardom. Broadly adhering to accepted tenets of Great British Eccentricity, and always ready of anecdote and reassuringly furtive of sexuality, at times he seems set to become nothing less than a National Treasure - a nationally-adored figure along the line of Sir John Betjeman or Alan Bennett. But, despite the way the nation has clasped Jarvo to its bosom, in his songs at least, there lurks the forlorn perspective of the man shut outside the party.

Aside from 'Mis-Shapes' and its sympathetic portrayal of those persecuted by the style elite of Passions Nitespot, 'Different Class' is full of characters excluded from something. 'Disco 2000' has the protagonist rueing a childhood friendship that didn't reach full fruition: "They said that when we grew up, we'd get married and never split up / We never did though". There's the posh-bird subject of 'Common People', doomed never really to experience prole-world. Even with 'Sorted For E's And Wizz', the narrator keeps his distance from the all-together communality of the rave experience: "Now it's nice one, geezer / That's as far as the conversation went". The most desolate glimpse of outsiderdom comes with 'I Spy', a sinister spin on the world of voyeurism.

With its hints of the zither-wrought theme from The Third Man and overriding atmosphere of Jacques Brel staggering through some outdated future-vision of Chopper bikes and old synthesisers, the song begins with a nihilistic lurking manipulator: "I spy a boy, I spy a girl... I'm stuck here, but I'll get out." Then, as the song picks up the pace, the anonymous narrator suddenly, menacingly, becomes El Jarvo himself: "It's just like in the old days when I used to compose my own critical notices in my head / The crowd gasp at Cocker's masterful control of the bicycle, skilfully avoiding the dog turd outside the corner shop... You see, you should take me seriously, very seriously indeed / Cos I've been sleeping with your wife for the past 16 weeks / Smoking your cigarettes and drinking your brandy... Take your Year In Provence and stick it up your arse..." Given the warmth of Jarvis' public face and the vitriol of this outburst, it's a bit like Eric Morecambe suddenly morphing into Jerry Sadowitz. Midway between the blighted sex vignettes of 1990s Jarvis and a glance back to the bleak, Kafka-esque claustrophobia of Pulp's 1987 'Freaks' album, 'I Spy' is probably the most startling song here, but it doesn't lack for competition.

If Britpop is full of knockabout fun and momentous frolics, but lacking much substance beyond its tiny synthesis of pop history, maybe Pulp are the band to anchor the whole thing. Oasis are too heroically myopic to ever be anything more than a stylistically perfect Great Rock 'N' Roll Band. Blur are seemingly content to dilute their gorgeously heartfelt moments ('To The End', 'The Universal') with tiresome satire and astonishing insight; "Oi, commuting's a bit soul-sapping, innit? Heard about this Prozac stuff, then?" But Pulp come closest to a voice of their own. If Morrissey's genius centred on taking enigmatic wit and an under-exploited elegiac Englishness and making it seem like natural fuel for globe-conquering pop music, then Pulp perform a similar trick with different raw material. Jarvis has a cinema-verité eye to equal anything from Barry Hines' books to infamous '70s fly-on-the-wall documentary The Family. But when presenting his grimly realistic raw material, Jarvis balances the squalor with teetering glamour. And nowhere more so than on 'Underwear', where that alleged staple of working-class life, the quick shag, is decked out in debonair finery: "If fashion is your trade then when you're naked I guess you must be unemployed / But once it's under way there's no escaping the fact... that you're a girl and he's a boy, ahhh!" In 'Live Bed Show' he's Bertolt Brecht in Burtons breeks, treating a tale of a fading sex-life with the pirouetting drama of prime-time Brel.

Musically, despite being a stride forward 'Different Class' is no quantum leap from '[HisNHersAlbum|His 'N' Hers]'. Aside from such incongruously novel elements as the junglist drum fusillades firing off through the brooding new-romantically inclined intro of 'Feelings Called Love', Pulp's skill lies with the way they furnish trad song structures with new surface detail. At heart, the chorus of 'Mis-Shapes' could quite easily fit into Tommy Steele's current 'Oh What A Show!' spectacular. Barry Manilow would feel instantly at home on 'Something Changed', with its theme of romantic fate and familiar chords. But once transported into Pulp's realm of burbling synths and ecstatic Jarv-gasps, these songs become immediately identifiable personal property. With arrangements that are at once familiar and strange, and lyrics that combine curtain-twitching intrigue with the amazing phenomenon of actually consistently making sense, 'Different Class' is pop music both exquisitely planned and instantaneously exciting.

In his Automatic Vaudeville, writer John Lahr gave a memorable definition of fame's ruinous thrill: "The famous gain excitement, only to lose calm. The momentum becomes their existence. At a certain velocity all things disintegrate." Pulp's celebrity may still be rocketing, but with 'Different Class' they're still balancing it with reserves of poise and manifest talent. Who can say what the future holds, but for now this album is a triumph as universally heart-warming as Malta's defiance of the Luftwaffe hordes during World War II.

Charts and sales

UK Album Chart





11 November '95



18 November '95



25 November '95



2 December '95



9 December '95



16 December '95 - 16 November '96

10, 7, 6, 4, 3, 3, 2, 4, 3, 7, 8, 5, 8, 8, 17, 15, 10, 10, 10, 10, 13, 15, 20, 24, 26, 25, 29, 31, 33,
40, 36, 38, 37, 32, 39, 30, 31, 34, 15, 18, 15, 15, 22, 38, 44, 47, 48, 56, 70

55 (re-entry)

11 January '97



18 January '97


57 (re-entry)

7 February '97



14 February - 14 March '98

43, 44, 37, 37, 50

63 (re-entry)

2 July 2005



9 July 2005


UK Sales Awards


Copies sold*


4 × platinum


17 April 1998

3 × platinum


1 March 1996

2 × platinum


1 December 1995



1 November 1995



1 October 1995

* Awards are based on wholesale rather than retail sales.


(Pre-release playbacks advert - click to enlarge)

(Advert - click to enlarge)

(Another advert - click to enlarge)

The Warp Record shop in Sheffield gave away signed promotional posters to the first 500 people who bought Different Class. They opened at midnight on the day of release for this promotion.

Press cuttings:

Page last modified on October 09, 2023, at 10:57 PM