Socialist Worker

Pulp: Class, weeds and anti-capitalism

by Phil Waite
Issue No. 1773

Rock band Pulp have returned to form with their new album We Love Life, rediscovering the radicalism of their fantastic 1995 album, Different Class. Different Class propelled Pulp to the top of the charts, with anthems like 'Common People' and 'Disco 2000'.

They were songs about what it is like growing up working class. They had lyrics that people could identify with and brilliant tunes. The album turned the band's frontman, Jarvis Cocker, into a superstar. Having been a fairly successful Sheffield indie band for the previous 15 years, Pulp now found themselves doing the rounds of showbiz parties, mixing with the very people they had mocked for years.

This is Hardcore, their last album, was tinged with misery and despair. Although there were moments of hope, you got the feeling that Pulp really didn't like their new lives, and the album was missing some of the class conscious themes they dealt with before.

But that didn't mean Pulp had abandoned politics entirely. Jarvis Cocker developed into a strident critic of the New Labour government's Tory policies. We Love Life is much more optimistic than any of their previous work. Songs on the album reflect the anti-capitalist movement. Recent single 'Sunrise' looks forward to a hopeful future, where 'all that's gonna change'.

'Weeds' is an anthemic celebration of ordinary people-and in particular refugees-surviving against all the odds and growing in hostile environments. Pulp turned down an offer of around £100,000 from Coca-Cola to use 'Sunrise' in a TV advertising campaign earlier this year.

Jarvis Cocker said that the band refused to let the song be used because it was inspired by resistance to the multinationals. He said, 'The song's sort of about growing awareness of something different. 'It's about a feeling of a new dawn and the way people are protesting about things like this, and getting shaken out of their apathy. 'So to have licensed the song given its lyrical content just seemed like the worst thing to do.'

Pulp may not have produced the album for the anti-capitalist movement, but they're clearly excited about it.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Sat 3 Nov 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1773
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.