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Alternatif et Indé - Released January 1, 1995 | Island

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Lauréat du Mercury Prize
Lodged somewhere between the The Kinks’ quintessentially British songs, the dandyism of the early Roxy Music years (the For Your Pleasure period) and Bowie’s exuberance, Pulp brought their own personal touch to 90's Britpop. Jarvis Cocker's band dared to try it all, from disco pop, sixties, shoegaze, romantic and downright mischievous music. Crooning like an offbeat Scott Walker or transforming into a crazy Bob Geldof (from the Boomtown Rats period), Pulp's brain caresses the words of his impudent lyrics and drags himself into the simply perfect melodies. Such is the case on this eclectic fifth album, an impeccable reflection of this kaleidoscope on which the group from Sheffield touches on anything and everything, and especially on the sublime with Common People, an ironic masterpiece... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternatif et Indé - Released January 1, 2006 | Island

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Lodged somewhere between the The Kinks’ quintessentially British songs, the dandyism of the early Roxy Music years (the For Your Pleasure period) and Bowie’s exuberance, Pulp brought their own personal touch to 90's Britpop. Jarvis Cocker's band dared to try it all, from disco pop, sixties, shoegaze, romantic and downright mischievous music. Crooning like an offbeat Scott Walker or transforming into a crazy Bob Geldof (from the Boomtown Rats period), Pulp's brain caresses the words of his impudent lyrics and drags himself into the simply perfect melodies. Such is the case on this eclectic fifth album, an impeccable reflection of this kaleidoscope on which the group from Sheffield touches on anything and everything, and especially on the sublime with Common People, an ironic masterpiece... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Distinctions Sélection du Mercury Prize
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Pop - Released March 30, 1998 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Rock - Released February 20, 2012 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released February 20, 2012 | Fire Records

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It

Rock - Released February 20, 2012 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

More than any other band of the '90s, Pulp were quintessentially British -- not the same thing as being quintessentially Britpop, mind you, which is an entirely different thing. Though it was frequently fey, at least when Blur were concerned, Britpop was for the lager-loving lads, a patriotic celebration of the country, particularly its pop culture heritage. Pulp shared many of those same roots as their peers, plus they were pop obsessives, capturing the intuitive, subliminal things that separated the dedicated from the poseurs. They were the misshapes, misfits -- the art-loving geeks grown beautiful who had a brief moment in the sun before they returned to the outskirts of pop life. To some observers, that might have looked like they were dropping the ball, but turning to the murky darkness of This Is Hardcore after the shining Different Class was artier and more natural than Blur's similar turn with 13, and they made better singles when they returned to arty darkness, too, as Hits, a glorious recap of their stint at Island in the '90s, illustrates. Pulp, of course, had been around long before they moved to Island, but it wasn't until the early '90s that they truly came into their own, starting with Pulpintro EP and the sublime "Babies" single. From there, they produced four terrific albums, including one stone masterpiece (1995's Different Class which, years later, stands alongside Parklife as the greatest testament of Britpop), the near-perfect His 'n' Hers, the fascinating decadence of This Is Hardcore, and the gorgeous Scott Walker-produced We Love Life. Each album has a different character, a different feel, but throughout it all, Pulp turned out tremendous singles that functioned within the context of the album and as their own entity because they were vividly imagined and sharply written, which may be why they hold together so well as their own album. Apart from the image-defining "Mis-Shapes," there's nothing missing from Hits, and while these are songs identified with their time, they transcend it, with even the new contribution, "Last Day of the Miners' Strike," holding its own on a collection of singles as strong as anything in '90s pop music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1992 | Fire Records

Separations is the birth of the modern Pulp. Not only does the record feature the lineup that would eventually break through into the mainstream, it is the first album to contain the fusion of pop, dance, and rock that would take them to the top of the charts in the mid-'90s. More than anything, the influence of acid house and raves weighs heavily on Separations, as the band stretches out into the disco groove of "Countdown" and the long jam "This House Is Condemned." But what is especially noticeable about Separations is how Pulp is finally starting to write some fully realized songs. "My Legendary Girlfriend," the song that earned the band its first Single of the Week in NME, is the leader of the pack with a brilliant, sly lyric and vocal from Jarvis Cocker, and an appropriately melodic and slightly dirty instrumental backdrop from the band. "Countdown," with its insistent beat, is nearly as good, as is the loping opener, "Love Is Blind." Pulp isn't able to keep the pace throughout the album -- there are several weak spots, particularly the awkward stab at house, "This House Is Condemned" -- but Separations is the first album that illustrates the band's potential and exactly what it could accomplish. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 1993 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Pop - Released June 3, 1996 | Fire Records

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Alternatif et Indé - Released August 20, 2002 | Rough Trade

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Rock - Released January 1, 1994 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Pulp had been kicking around since 1981, but for all intents and purposes, their 1994 major-label debut, His 'n' Hers is their de facto debut: the album that established their musical and lyrical obsessions and, in turn, the album where the world at large became acquainted with their glassy, tightly wound synth pop and lead singer Jarvis Cocker's impeccably barbed wit. This was a sound that was carefully thought out, pieced together from old glam and post-punk records, assembled in so it had the immediacy (and hooks) of pop balanced by an artful obsession with moody, dark textures. It was a sound that perfectly fit the subject at hand: it was filled with contradictions -- it was sensual yet intellectual, cheap yet sophisticated, retro yet modern -- with each seeming paradox giving the music weight instead of weighing it down. Given Pulp's predilection for crawling mood pieces -- such effective set pieces as the tense "Acrylic Afternoons," or the closing "David's Last Summer" -- and their studied detachment, it might easy to over-intellectualize the band, particularly in these early days before they reached stardom, but for all of the chilliness of the old analog keyboards and the conscious geek stance of Cocker, this isn't music that aims for the head: its target is the gut and groin, and His 'n' Hers has an immediacy that's apparent as soon as "Joyriders" kicks the album into gear with its crashing guitars. It establishes Pulp not just as a pop band that will rock; it establishes an air of menace that hangs over this album like a talisman. As joyous as certain elements of the music are -- and there isn't just joy but transcendence here, on the fuzz guitars that power the chorus of "Lipgloss," or the dramatic release at the climax of "Babies" -- this isn't light, fizzy music, no matter how the album glistens on its waves of cold synths and echoed guitars, no matter how much sex drives the music here. Cocker doesn't tell tales of conquests: he tells tales of sexual obsession and betrayal, where the seemingly nostalgic question "Do You Remember the First Time?" is answered with the reply, "I can't remember a worst time." On earlier Pulp albums he explored similar stories of alienation, but on His 'n' Hers everything clicks: his lyrics are scalpel sharp, whether he's essaying pathos, passion, or wit, and his band -- driven by the rock-solid drummer Nick Banks and bassist Steve Mackey, along with the arty stylings of keyboardist Candida Doyle and violinist/guitarist Russell Senior -- gives this muscle and blood beneath its stylish exterior. The years etching out Joy Division-inspired goth twaddle in the mid-'80s pay off on the tense, dramatic epics that punctuate the glammy pop of the singles "Lipgloss," "Babies," and "Do You Remember the First Time?" And those years of struggle pay off in other ways too, particularly in Cocker's carefully rendered observations of life on the fringes of Sheffield, where desperation, sex, and crime are always just a kiss away, and Pulp vividly evokes this world with a startling lack of romanticism but an appropriate amount of drama and a surplus of flair. It's that sense of style coupled with their gut-level immediacy that gives His 'n' Hers its lasting power: this was Pulp's shot at the big time and they followed through with a record that so perfectly captured what they were and what they wanted to be, it retains its immediacy years later. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rock - Released November 7, 2006 | Fire Records

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Freaks is so different than It that it nearly sounds like a different band. Granted, that is largely due to the fact that Pulp was a different band, apart from lead vocalist Jarvis Cocker. After the unsuccessful showing of It, the band broke up, leaving Cocker to assemble a new lineup. The most significant new member was Russell Senior, who brought a fascination with art, noise, and neo-gothic overtones to the band. But that change in sound isn't the only reason why Freaks is the darkest record Pulp ever made, or ever will make. Cocker's lyrics are neurotically gloomy and paranoid, obsessed with failures and outcasts. While this would become a signature theme for Pulp's songs, Cocker's outlook on Freaks is oppressively bleak -- he finds no future for the mis-shapes and misfits in his songs. Not only are the songs hopeless, so is the production. The very sound of Freaks is muddy and impenetrable, making it difficult to find the occasional rewarding moment on the album, such as "Master of the Universe," "They Suffocate at Night," or Senior's "Anorexic Beauty." ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rock - Released January 1, 1994 | Fire Records

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Masters of the Universe is a collection of singles that Pulp recorded for Fire Records in the mid-'80s, around the time of the Freaks album. During this time, the band was steeped in the morose obsessions of goth rock, like most of their British indie contemporaries, layering their music with droning synths and dissonant guitars. The group also had a noticibly arty attack -- witness the performance art schlock of Russell Senior's rant "The Will to Power." While that preoccupation with goth and self-conscious art decreases the effectiveness of the music, Masters of the Universe does contain Pulp's first great leaps forward, "Little Girl (With Blue Eyes)" and "Dogs Are Everywhere," which demonstrate Jarvis Cocker's burgeoning lyrical skills and the band's increasing ability to paint evocative soundscapes. ("Silence" was the only non-album song of the era that wasn't included on the compilation.) ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Rock - Released April 27, 2015 | Fire Records

"Little Girl (With Blue Eyes)" is Pulp's best single of the mid-'80s, a quiet tortured ballad in the vein of Scott Walker. At the time, it got banned from the BBC, due to the lyric "There's a hole in your heart/And one between your legs/You never have to wonder which one he's going to fill." The three B-sides -- "Simultaneous," "Blue Glow," "The Will To Power" -- are more experimental, particularly the sonic collage of Russell Senior's "The Will To Power" and the dense, claustrophobic "Simultaneous." All of the songs on the single were compiled on the 1994 album, Masters of the Universe. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1993 | Fire Records

"My Legendary Girlfriend" is the first single to gain Pulp a significant amount of attention and it's easy to see why -- it's their best song of the '80s. Featuring a solid house underpinning and a strong, melodic hook, the single is a sly, infectious and cleverly constructed song that gets better with repeated listens. That's not necessarily the case with the two B-sides, "Is This House?" and "This House is Condemned" which are both interesting but unsucessful attempts at full-fledged house anthems. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rock - Released December 14, 2003 | Fire Records

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"Countdown" was Pulp's second straight first-class single, a storming disco-pop song with a better rhythm than lyric, but the sound was so good, the lyrics didn't really matter. "Death Goes to the Disco" didn't appear on the album, but it's a highly enjoyable disco-pop number, much like the single's A-side. The version of "Countdown" on the single is different than the album version -- it's slightly longer and has a different mix. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It

Rock - Released January 1, 1983 | Fire Records

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It is a gentle, mainly acoustic album that gives very few signs to the musical directions Pulp would later pursue. Lacking any hint of synthesizers or dance music, the album occasionally touches on the majestic, theatrical ballads of Scott Walker, as well as the stark, folky song poems of Leonard Cohen. However, at this stage, Jarvis Cocker is hardly the lyrical equivalent of either songwriter, and his singing is endearingly awkward -- occasionally he misses notes, and he misses the tune every once in a while. Nevertheless, there are tunes throughout the album, whether it's the light opening single "My Lighthouse" or the silly, music hall stomp of "Love Love." It isn't a great album, but it has an effortless, amateurish charm that makes up for the unformed songs and the band's rudimentary musical skills. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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