Pulp: a beginner's guide

We asked our readers to pick 10 essential Pulp tracks for newcomers. Here's what they came up with

Earlier this week we asked readers via Twitter and Facebook which Pulp songs they would recommend to newcomers. We've compiled this list of 10 tracks based on the suggestions we received.

We've put the tracks into a YouTube playlist, or you can click each song title to watch on YouTube, or listen on Spotify. We've included a little bit of information on the songs, comments from those who recommended them, and some links to our Pulp coverage below for those who'd like to find out more about the band.

Watch this playlist on YouTube

1. Babies – from His 'n' Hers

After a decade in the white-label wilderness, Pulp emerged with this tale of teenage tea-time infatuation. It begins innocuously enough, with Jarvis recounting idle afternoons with girls in open-doored bedrooms, before devolving into something rather more perverse, and climaxing with the song's devastating punchline: "I only went with her 'cause she looked like you!"

Jarvis at his curtain-twitching best. @munichbeer

2. Disco 2000 – from Different Class

The contrast between the expectations of childhood days and the reality of adulthood is a recurring theme for Cocker. Disco 2000 is a cocktail of a deafening school-disco riff and wit drier than the cheapest buffet Scotch egg. There's few better tributes to the one that got away.

Classic Pulp and introduces all the younger generation to woodchip wallpaper!! @EmmaMcV

3. This Is Hardcore – from This Is Hardcore

A six-minute synthesis of the sordid secrets buried in the PVC pockets of stained raincoats and the gilded, marble-floored musical framework of a golden age of Hollywood soundtrack. No one can make the ornate sound as sinister as Pulp.

The Sexual Healing for the indie kids and geeks of this world. Fact. @fromdesktildawn

4. Something Changed – from Different Class

Something Changed is Pulp at their sweetest, with Jarvis pondering chance, fate and the futility of relationships.

An honest tale of finding love that stands out among all the cliched drivel that are 'love songs' ‏@saxylizbeth

5. Pink Glove – from His 'n' Hers

The highlight of Pulp's breakthrough LP sets out the band's stall as social commentators with a sordid twist. The object of our narrator's affections is desperate to please her man – but she should be with our Jarvis, who'd have her just the way she is. Bless.

Pulp at their most powerful and perverse. @bulentyusuf

6. Common People – from Different Class

Pulp have never been frightened of discussing fetishes, and there's few filthier than poverty tourism. Frantic, frustrated and utterly furious, Common People is a perennially relevant indictment of overprivileged social slummers.

Quintessential Pulp mix of wit, acuity, pathos & bile relayed in irresistibly anthemic style. @redlikejungle

7. Like a Friend – from Great Expectations OST

A song that conjures infinitely more visceral imagery than the middling movie it was written for. Jarvis provides the monologue for this tale of unrequited love, unrepentant heartbreak and a friendship fading to black.

Because well, we've all been there. @ajchaires

8. F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E. – from Different Class

This ode to fear of intimacy is filled with a pervading sense of isolation and dread. Jarvis whispers right into your ear to conjur fleeting images of locked dressing table drawers and dirty laundry.

Beautifully dark, seedy and claustrophobic. @BibaHunjan

9. Do You Remember the First Time? – from His 'n' Hers

Our velvet-suited Romeo pines for one more go-around with his star-crossed 'first' to whom he now comes second. Like all Pulp's most powerful moments, it's urgent, yearning, ferocious yet utterly fragile – as if the vitriolic exterior could fall apart at the slightest touch.

Such longing but with quirky clever lyrics @cherriesdarling

10. Sunrise – from We Love Life

The closing song on the band's final album ends their career on an uncharacteristically optimistic note. It's easy to forget that standing behind Jarvis' machine-gun wit is a steady arsenal of talented musicians, and it's guitarist Mark Webber who takes centre stage in this curtain call, the guitar building up before exploding skyward.

I'm not a big Pulp fan but there's something about that song that draws you into Jarvis' lyrics. @StuartEdwards

Listen to this playlist on Spotify

Want more?

My hero: Jarvis Cocker by Jon McGregor
'Cocker's lyrics were what made me want to write stories'

My favourite album: His 'n' Hers by Pulp
Guardian and Observer writers are picking their favourite albums. Here, Rosie Swash reveals why she still swoons at the sight of Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis Cocker answers your questions: 'Go on, then, give us the horrible ones'
Why should 'normal' folk behave like rock stars? Jarvis Cocker answers your questions

Which is Pulp's greatest album?
Seven readers make the case for their favourite Pulp album. Who do you agree with?

What are your favourite Pulp lyrics?
Musicians and poets pick their favourite lines from Pulp songs

Dominic Kelly

The GuardianTramp

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