In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.
The first time I saw Pulp was in 1994, opening for Blur at the Vic in Chicago (hell of a lineup, yes!). I liked but didn’t yet love the band’s His ‘N’ Hers, but this performance—which also included the Chicago debut of a new song called “Common People,” to be released over a year later—won me over entirely. I’m fairly certain that “Babies” was the final song of the short opening set, and that “Babies” is what did it for me. I had gone to see Blur, with the not-yet-big-in-America Pulp as sort of a bonus, but ended up impressed enough that I probably could’ve left early. (I didn’t.) And though I really like a lot of other Pulp songs, “Babies” is pretty much the only one I need, as it encapsulates everything about this very British band’s very British sound and sensibility: It’s a sexy little story-song about voyeurism and obsession, but told with such an innocently dramatic tone that it’s hardly weird. And we know that charismatic (and shirtless in the “Babies” video!) frontman Jarvis Cocker doesn’t necessarily mean it when he coos “I wanna take you home / I wanna give you children,” but it doesn’t matter. It’s just as sexy—maybe even more so—than R. Kelly cooing, “Girl you make me wanna get you pregnant,” and that’s a high compliment.