There are many rumors about the origin of PULP. In fact, I remember a friend in high school (you know the type that knows everything there is to know about bands) that told me it stood for People United for Looking Pretty. I guess, if you ever get the chance to meet Jarvis Cocker, you can ask him yourself.
There is no disputing the fact that Pulp is Cocker’s project. He started it in 1978 when he was only 15 years old. The band has gone through many changes over the decades, and has had over 20 band members. Some former members include Russell Senior (a long time member), Peter Mansell, Magnus Doyle, Antony Genn, Tim Allcard, and many more. Of course, Jarvis has been there since the beginning, and the current members are Candid Doyle, Mark Webber, Nick Banks, and Steve Mackey.
For a large chunk of the 80s, the band was only noticed by those few teens that craved seductive David Bowie-like rhythms; the band was not very good and copied Bowie poorly. However, I have been able to find at least one good song on each album. “Love Love” on their first album is fairly good. “Being Followed Home” and “Anorexic Beauty” are both worth a listen from their “Freaks” album, but their great songs didn’t come until 1994 with “His ‘n’ Hers”.
“His ‘n’ Hers” is one of the best, and the once modest band proved that they were here to stay when they came out with “Different Class” one year later. “Common People”, one of their biggest hits, made video appearances on MTV and was a huge hit. Americans were suddenly starting to notice this band—for good reason. “This is Hardcore” followed in 1998, and the “Great Expectations” soundtrack with “Like a Friend”, the song playing while Ethan Hawk sketches a naked Gwyneth Paltrow, helped push along the albums success. People seemed to want more Pulp.
Pulp has the rare quality of being pop and upbeat while still remaining completely original. I have never run across another band that sounds quite like Pulp. There is an air of naïve innocence with the sexual energy of Jarvis’s voice pouring over. He could make a girl want to be corrupted. This sexual tension can be seen in songs such as “Pencil Skirt”, “Common People”, “Seductive Barry”, and “This is Hardcore”.
I would like to predict that Pulp will never go away. In 2001 their newest album, “We Love Life” came out in England and arrived in America this year. It’s a good album. “Trees” has some catchy lyrics—mainly Jarvis blaming the trees for not warning him about his lover leaving. Most of their lyrics are clever and put a smile on my face, but please do not read them while listening to their music. I haven’t ever since I read, “Please do not read the lyrics whilst listening to the recordings” on insert of “Different Class”.