Class warfare is the meme of 2011-era America, but the sly Britpop band Pulp waged it in high style back in 1995 with Different Class, which fused disco, postpunk and electronica to exact a ferociously danceable vengeance of the have-nots. Lead singer and lyricist Jarvis Cocker even showed prescience about future casualties of the global banking crisis by casting a wealthy girl from Greece — one who “wants to live like common people” — as the object of his disaffection. A thrilling j’accuse, “Common People” airs out the stink of condescending classism pervading not only the minds of affluent exchange students but also popular depictions of British working-class life. “Everybody hates a tourist,” Cocker says in the song’s climactic third verse. “Especially one who thinks it’s all such a laugh — yeah, and the chip stains and grease will come out in the bath.” If Cocker had never written another lyric after “Common People,” he’d still be a folk hero in England.
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