My Top 1000 Songs #251: Common People
Here's another example of a song that blows me away from an artist I don't otherwise spend a lot of time with. I mean, I like Pulp just fine, and will occasionally spin them up when I'm in a Britpop kinda mood; but historically, for the most part my copy of 1995's Different Class was something I reached for when I wanted to throw "Common People" onto a mixtape. Because, hey, what an amazing song for a 90s mixtape, right?
Obviously, the lyrics are just deliciously arch, a narrative about the university girl who wants to hang out with poor people because they seem cool. And it's funny, and maybe a little mean-spirited, but also pretty damn rough in its appraisal of class. "You'll never fail like common people, you'll never watch your life slide out of view. And dance and drink and screw, because there's nothing else to do."
Of course, the lyricism gets a huge boost from the music, a catchy, dance-friendly electro-pop jaunt which builds to a massive, moving crescendo, turning a modestly humorous look at class warfare into a monster anthem.
Also, great video!The single/video version is great, but it's definitely a track that earns its longer LP running time:Meanwhile, the William Shatner spoken-word cover could've been a ludicrous novelty song, yet with some assistance from Ben Folds and Joe Jackson it actually works on its own merits: