1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: Pulp – “Common People”


Year: 1995

Album: Different Class

Though Oasis and Blur might have been the heavyweight bands of Britpop, Plup’s most famous song might be the quintessential song of the genre. Voted by Pitchfork as the second best song of the 90’s behind Pavement, it’s a story of a working-class man’s encounter with a wealthy art student (“she studied sculpture at St. Martin’s College”) who wants to spend her time hanging out in the all the wrong parts i.e. the “authentic parts” of London’s East End.

It’s easy to take this song at face value as a silly Jarvis Cocker rant against one wealthy girl’s glamorization of low-life (and at face value this is the most enjoyable song from one of Britpop’s great bands), but read between the lines and it’s a mock of class tourism that’s very much relevant now even in the United States.


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