Pulp Different Class
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Universal UK reissued the three key '90s Pulp albums as double-disc deluxe editions in 2006. Thankfully, the deluxe edition of Pulp's 1995 masterpiece Different Class is not just a recycling of Second Class, the collection of B-sides that appeared as a bonus disc in a repackaging of the album in 1996. That's partially due to the fact that Second Class drew heavily from His 'n' Hers-era B-sides, which now appropriately appear on the concurrently released His 'n' Hers deluxe edition, so this 11-track collection of non-LP material and rarities feels quite different than the 1996 bonus disc. Completists should also be aware that this disc does not contain all the B-sides from the Different Class singles, but that's because the singles carried B-sides that were largely consisted of alternate mixes; a "Vocoda Mix" of "Common People" shows up here, but there are plenty of mixes that didn't carry over here, only two of which may be missed by collectors: an alternate, extended "Live Bed Show" and a 7" single mix of "Disco 2000," which is considerably different than the album mix thanks to added organ, synths, harmonies, and, yes, a prominent disco beat. These may be missed by certain trainspotters, but all the crucial non-LP material from the Different Class era is here, all worthy of the classic album they supported. There's the cutting, wickedly funny teacher-student sex tale "PTA"; there's "Mile End," their contribution to the Trainspotting soundtrack, a nimble evocation of slum living that's far catchier than its subject should be; there's "Whiskey in the Jar," a surprisingly sinewy cover of the Thin Lizzy version of the Irish anthem that was given to the Childline charity album; then, there's the heartbreaking "Ansaphone," a B-side for "Disco 2000" that's presented here in a slightly different demo version. "Ansaphone" is grouped together with four demos of unheard songs from the sessions, all very strong. For starters, there's "Paula," whose light, skipping music camouflages the cynicism of the friends-with-benefits celebration of the lyrics. It's followed by the tremendous "Catcliffe Shakedown," a six-minute epic that may be driven by a slightly dorky beat (which Jarvis Cocker calls "frankly ridiculous" in his great liner notes, which also feature full lyrics for all songs on these two discs), but it gains strength from its gangly rhythms, and it's distinguished by a great Jarvis lyric that, by his own admission, resembles "I Spy," but where that contained a barely veiled menace, this is pure riotous satire of a nasty down-class small town ("why not try our delicious lager-styled drink?"). The sleek, svelte "We Can Dance Again" pales a bit in comparison to this deliberately cinematic gem, but it's a great piece of knowing retro-disco, as is the fantastic "Don't Lose It," which is sensual and urgent in equal measures. Rounding out the rest of the deluxe edition is their transcendent version of "Common People" that closed their triumphant last-minute headlining slot at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival and Nick Cave's inspired "Pub Rock Version" of "Disco 2000," which sees its first release here. With the possible exception of the "Vocoda Mix," which finds a threadbare idea stretched a little too far, this is all great music, a fitting companion to a classic album, and makes this a truly deluxe deluxe edition.