20 Years Strong: Celebrating Pulp’s ‘Different Class’

Babies

In many ways, Babies marks the moment where Pulp really became Pulp. All the hallmarks of a classic Pulp track first reared their head on this, their first top 20 hit, such as Jarvis Cocker’s idiosyncratic wit embellishing deliciously candid lyrics, shimmering synths alongside simplistic guitar, and an anthemic chorus to end all anthemic choruses.

“I wanna take you home/ I wanna give you children/ and you might be my girlfriend/ yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.” It’s one of Cocker’s vast repertoire of lyrics about his most favoured topic – sex. Or, specifically, fancying your female friend’s sister and spying on her from inside her wardrobe. (Did someone say “voice of a generation?”) But really, it’s a song about being a shy, bitter and incurably sexually frustrated teenager, which the quickly developing Britpop crowd could easily identify with.

Pulp had been making music for over 10 years before Babies was originally released in 1992, experimenting with various sounds along the way. But it was this song that ushered in the glossy, bittersweet style that would define them, with it’s dry humour, whimsical delivery and glistening ‘pop’ production. It’s understated and anthemic in the same breath, in a way that only Pulp can muster. It is, arguably, their defining moment.

Words by Matthew Smith

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