Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Pulp: Different Class [Island, 1996]
This year won't produce a more indispensable song than "Common People," but that doesn't mean young Americans know enough about the bourgeoisie to get it. And when sex gods are added up, Bryan-Ferry-plus-Blurandoasis won't equal George Michael. But beyond his devotion to songcraft, Cocker isn't Bluroroasis--Culture Club with lyrics is more like it. Smart and glam, swish and het, its jangle subsumed beneath swelling crescendos or nagging keybs and its rhythms steeped in rave, this isn't pat enough for the disco-still-sucks crowd. And although Cocker's stick-to-itiveness over four expendable albums suggests that he's attained a measure of maturity, his breakthrough is a mutation, not a fruition. If "Common People" should fall short, I recommend Island proceed directly to "Something Changed," a happy love song every bit as clever and realistic as his class war song. A-