a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

Middle-Class Heroes

Lyrics & Music: Neil Hannon

Published by: Damaged Pop Music / BMG Music Publishing Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




It seems that this song hasn't been played since 1998.

As far as the lyrics are concerned, they're more complex than they sound.

Neil once said that he got the idea of the song in a Bed & Breakfast where the decoration was quite kitsch, with lots of plastic Buddhas and such. To me, this song is about the human condition, let's say. The title is an echo to John Lennon's Working Class Heroes, but I think the whole song is also an answer to Pulp's 'Common People' (released in 1995). "I'll see what I can do" could indeed very well be a reference to it, as it is in the song. While Jarvis Cocker was talking of the lower-classes (he often gets his subjects from the background he comes from, but no longer lives in), Neil is talking of the middle-class, of which he is. And roughly, he says that their lives are not much better than others. Throughout his description, what comes out is a feeling of immobility on the one hand and over-fertility on the other. The song is about a girl meeting a man (the hero of the album) after her studies and having a child with him. The driving force of the characters is their sexual lives, which unfortunately brings them kids (the only pills to be found in the house are allergy pills, not contraceptive pills). To Neil, they're as low as Jarvis's 'common people'. Their lowness is pretence to the narrator to introduce his credo in the third verse. It's followed by a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet, to give it more power.

Neil Hannon says about the song: "There's been a lot of talk about this song. Maybe...maybe too much talk. This song is not a snobby song. This song is really rather good. Gritty observation plus a little barbed comment, seedy sub-text? That's down to you. How low can you go?"

A demo of the song was released on Rarities: 'Painting The Forth Bridge'.