The Season Finale: Theoretically Speaking: S3|E16:

What Makes Britpop, Britpop ?

280 views

Bill Bois’ Music Theory For Non-Musicians


…if there was ever an art where breaking the rules is one of the rules, it’s music.

REDDITOR R/COMPRIMENS


What Makes Britpop, Britpop? 

After she read last week’s episode about grunge, my wife asked if so many grunge songs were about depression because people in Seattle had Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The weather there is pretty gray and dreary most of the year, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities.

Great Britain is also known for its drab weather. Yet grunge didn’t really make an impact there, with the exception of Nirvana.

Of all the Seattle bands, they were the only ones to gain any sort of audience in the UK, perhaps because they were one of the more melodic.

When Kurt Cobain died, it left an opening for other loud guitars in the UK.

British bands were ready.

Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister ended in 1990.

A big part of Thatcherism is the idea that the government can’t make you happy. You are responsible for yourself and need to make your own way. Don’t worry about other people.

Yes, Thatcher did say “there’s no such thing as society,” but that quote is taken out of context. She meant that people shouldn’t rely on society for their well being. They need to take care of themselves. 

That’s a good political theory. But theories and reality are often two different things.

Thatcher’s economic policies drove many manufacturing companies to go out of business or move overseas. Lower class people had a harder time taking care of themselves without jobs or government help.

There I go, oversimplifying again.

But this is the backdrop against which grunge came to Britain – and pretty much failed to catch on.

The problems of British kids were a lot different from anything going on in the Pacific Northwest.

British youth wanted their own songs.

Both Suede and Blur were formed by suburban kids while attending university in London.

Suede’s bassist Mat Osman described his hometown of Haywards Heath as “a kind of place where literally nothing happens.” 

That’s what they wrote songs about: Real life in Britain.

They also thought it important to sing in their own accents. In other words, they didn’t try to sound American. They wanted some authenticity.

Suede singer Brett Anderson and guitarist Justine Frischmann had been a couple, but things weren’t working out. They split up and Frischmann was immediately “swept off her feet,” as she put it, by Blur’s singer Damon Albarn. She hoped to continue in Suede, but it was awkward for everyone.

After she was late for a rehearsal because she had been at a Blur video shoot, Anderson kicked her out of the band.

Anderson wrote about the pain of losing her. His songs got better because they had more heart, and Melody Maker magazine called Suede “The Best New Band In Britain” before their first album even came out. Their first three singles and the quotable Anderson talking about his sexuality gave the music press plenty to write about. 

When the self-titled album came out, it debuted at #1. Anderson’s honest songs about life in British suburbia resonated in both sales and reviews.

It won the 1993 Mercury Prize as the best British album of the year. The band donated the £25,000 prize to cancer research.

That, however, wasn’t the start of Britpop.

There had been undercurrents of a new patriotism since England reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup.

But Britpop gelled when Select magazine put Anderson on the cover of its April 1993 issue with the headline “Yanks Go Home!”

It listed Pulp, St. Etienne, and others in what it called “the Battle for Britain.”

This slight exaggeration of music’s global importance helped raise the domestic stature of these bands, and probably helped diminish grunge’s potential in the United Kingdom. It also shows how important the music press was to Britpop’s future.

Going into this period, there were no guitar-based bands in the Top 40. It was mostly lightweight pop, from ballads to dance tracks.

Nothing rocked.

However, as Select’s cover shows, there were already bands writing interesting, UK-centric, pop rock. Pulp formed way back in 1979. Their first single, My Lighthouse, came out in 1983. Blur released their first single She’s So High/I Know in 1990. The Charlatans, known as The Charlatans UK in America, also released their first single and album in 1990.

The term “Britpop” wasn’t coined until long after most Britpop bands formed and released material.

The Face magazine wrote about Blur in May 1994, shortening “British pop” to “Brit pop.”

The Guardian used the word later that year, as did NME the next January.

It was everywhere after that.

Most of the bands that would come to be called Britpop formed between 1990 and 1993, about the same period as grunge.

It wasn’t a genre as much as it was a movement. All of these artists had roughly the same idea at roughly the same time.

That idea was to celebrate all things British, even the not so great parts, and to bring back guitars. It recognized the great British rock bands, like The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, and The Smiths. At the very least, it was a British reaction to American grunge.

Following Blur’s first three singles and various tours of the UK, they found themselves £60,000 in the red. They booked a tour of the States in hopes of earning enough money to pay off their debt.

It wasn’t a great tour.

Though it only lasted two months, all the members were homesick and started fighting with each other, sometimes violently.

Albarn started writing songs about what he missed about England. He found the States to be artificial and shallow.

He wrote about what he loved and didn’t love about home.

These songs became the basis for their second album, Modern Life Is Rubbish, which got some good reviews and modest sales. Albarn immediately began writing new songs for their next album.

Released in April 1994, Parklife debuted at #1 on the strength of its first single, Girls & Boys. The album was nominated for a Mercury Prize, and went platinum four times over in the UK. Its songs were about everyday British life, from housing estates to the shipping forecast. Given its subject matter, it didn’t do well in the US.

Meanwhile, Frischmann had started her own band called Elastica with Justin Welch, who had briefly played drums in Suede.

Elastica’s first release was a single called Stutter.

While the lyrics aren’t explicit, it’s about a woman dealing with a man having a bout of erectile dysfunction.

It was an immediate hit, especially with women.

There were two more singles, and their self-titled album was released in March of 1995. It went gold in the UK, US, and Canada.

This new power couple of Albarn and Frischmann were a gold mine for the music press and tabloids. They churned out issue after issue with one or the other or both on the cover. The pressures of this scrutiny on two kids in their 20s who just wanted to play music led to drug use and nervous breakdowns and the end of their relationship.

To keep selling papers, the tabloids would have to invent new stories.

In 1991, a new Manchester band wasn’t happy with their singer and auditioned Liam Gallagher as a replacement. They hired him, and Liam brought his brother Noel to an early gig. Noel thought they were alright, but nothing special.

However, Noel approached them about performing some songs he had written – with the understanding that he’d be the bandleader and songwriter. They agreed.

Noel directed them to play simple parts. The bass had to stay on the root notes, the guitars had to play basic barre chords, the drums couldn’t be too busy.

He did this in part because he didn’t think they were capable of playing anything intricate. 

But if you look at the discography of very successful bands with long careers, you’ll see that their material tends to get simpler over time. In a small nightclub with little reverberation, a band can play a lot of notes in rapid succession and it’ll sound good. Doing that in a huge stadium doesn’t work because the sounds bounce all over the concrete walls. In bigger venues, simple sounds better.

Oasis skipped straight to the simple stuff. Simple and loud.

The lyrics don’t really say anything about Britain or anything else. I’m still not sure what wonderwalls or champagne supernovae are, but it doesn’t matter. The words are meaningless but sound good. 

Oasis set out for world domination.

Their management realized that the core midlands/northern Oasis audience didn’t read the London-based music press.

They weren’t the kind to keep up on what bands were releasing singles next week, and didn’t really care about which bands were popular in London. They were busy enjoying the Madchester scene, which was just winding down.

So the Oasis team placed ads in nontraditional places, like football programs.

It worked.

Oasis’ first album, Definitely Maybe, produced four top 40 singles and went eight times platinum. It’s even sold a million copies in the US. Such is the strength of simple, gorgeous, melodies.

The Gallagher brothers were louts with enormous egos, constantly quarreling with each other and cursing up a storm (if you could understand their accents). They’d argue with anyone over anything. This sort of band drama was perfect for the tabloids.

At the 1995 Brit Awards, Blur won four trophies. A little embarrassed, Albarn said from the podium that the awards should be shared with Oasis. He meant it.

But shortly after, at a party celebrating Oasis hitting #1 with Some Might Say, Liam Gallagher went up to Albarn and said that Oasis was #1 now.

Except, being Liam Gallagher, he didn’t say it politely. It was aggressive and churlish and vulgar.

And Albarn didn’t forget it. 

It was the start of what rappers would call: a beef.

Both bands had albums coming out that fall, and Oasis scheduled their first single to be released the week before Blur’s.

If Oasis went to #1 that first week, they were likely to be #1 the next, too, making it harder for Blur to hit #1. 

If Albarn and team delayed their single by a few weeks, it would start tabloid rumors that Blur was scared of competing, so they changed their release date to the same day as Oasis’. It set up a head to head contest.

Stories vary about how seriously either band took it, but the press hyped it like crazy. They called it “The Battle Of Britpop.” Even the mainstream news carried breathless reports.

It became more than a rivalry between two bands. It was framed as the southern middle class against the northern lower class. It was personal.

When the sales figures came out, Blur’s Country House sold 270,000 copies, 58,000 more than Oasis’ Roll With It. Neither song is among the bands’ best.

In the long run though, Oasis sold more records in more countries than Blur could ever hope to.

When Blur finally got a hit in America with 1997’s Song 2, they had changed their sound. It was more grunge than Britpop.

Definitely Maybe and Parklife are to this day considered Britpop’s best albums. The Britishness of Parklife and the singalong anthems of Definitely Maybe define Britpop.

But what is Britpop really?

A marketing term.

I haven’t mentioned any of the other bands under the Britpop umbrella, like Pulp, who were there from before the beginning and contributed great work. 

Just like any band from Seattle was called grunge, all a band had to do to be considered Britpop band was spell “colour” with a “u”.

Many of these bands weren’t very good but labels knew Britpop sold records, so that’s how they were defined. 

Britpop started fading out in 1997 with Oasis’ album Be Here Now.

Noel thought it was bloated and the songs were too long.

Liam loved it. It sold well enough, but the public mostly agreed with Noel.

Pop, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Britpop was gradually replaced by pop acts like The Spice Girls.

Frischmann said she knew Britpop was over when she heard Robbie Williams’ Angels.

Oasis broke up and threatened to get back together and threatened to break up again.

One Gallagher sued the other, which I suppose is better than fisticuffs. As unstable as they are, their place in music history is rock solid.

Given all the tabloid attention he received, it’s no wonder that the band Albarn started after Blur broke up is virtual.

Gorillaz is a fictional band, or at least the characters on the album covers and in the videos are. In concert, the band played behind a translucent curtain under a screen showing the cartoon band members.

Albarn doesn’t have to show his face in public ever again if he doesn’t want to.

Elastica put out a second album in 2000. It sold poorly and they broke up shortly after. Frischmann, who majored in architecture at university, co-hosted a BBC series about the subject.

She earned a masters in visual arts, and now lives in northern California with her meteorologist husband.

She paints instead of making music, which no longer interests her.


And this concludes Season 3.

The lovely Ms. Virgindog and I will be traveling for a couple weeks, first to France and then to England. Please don’t break into our house while we’re gone.

I’ll probably check in from time to time but it’s likely that I’ll be preoccupied with croissants and crepes and charcuterie and chips and crisps. And that’s just the C’s. 

Not that I’m looking forward to it or anything.

Suggested Listening: Full YouTube Playlist

Weirdo
The Charlatans (UK)
1992

Animal Nitrate
Suede
1993

You’re In A Bad Way
St. Etienne
1993

Stutter
Elastica
1993

New French Girlfriend
The Auteurs
1993

Girls & Boys
Blur
1994

Common People
Pulp
1995

Sleep On The Left Side
Cornershop
1998

Alright
Supergrass
1995

Great Things
Echobelly
1995

In The Name Of The Father
Black Grape
1995

Change
The Lightning Seeds
1995

Sale Of The Century
Sleeper
1996

Hey Dude
Kula Shaker
1996

Bittersweet Symphony
The Verve
1997

Londinium
Catatonia
1999


Let the author know that you liked their article with a “Green Thumb” upvote!

23

Thank You For Your Vote!

Sorry You have Already Voted!

Bill Bois

Bill Bois - bassist, pie fan, aging gentleman punk, keeper of the TNOCS spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/138BvuV84ZH7ugcwR1HVtH6HmOHiZIDAGMIegPPAXc-I/edit#gid=0

Subscribe
Notify of
42 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
cstolliver
Member
Famed Member
cstolliver
Offline
March 17, 2023 5:19 am

Have a wonderful trip! You deserve a break! Hope you and Mrs. V. come back full of great experiences, stories and culinary conquests (to keep your C theme going).

LinkCrawford
Member
Famed Member
LinkCrawford
Online Now
March 17, 2023 7:13 am

Sometimes I am more ambitious and curious than others. I don’t always listen to all of the song examples at the end of your articles. But I listened to them all today. I only knew two of them (Alright and Bittersweet Symphony), but I at least enjoyed most of them, and really liked a couple of them. Thanks as always for the background you provide!

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 8:26 am

Great write up Bill.

That Select magazine cover was iconic. I liked Nirvana but it did feel like something exciting was taking hold at home. The late 80s saw the Second Summer of Love in ’88 with raves, acid house and dance music taking hold which fed into New Order’s Technique and Madchester the following year as the likes of Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and The Charlatans broke through.

The early 90s were pretty moribund in terms of what we call indie. The Stone Roses disappeared into years of legal wrangling and an interminable wait for an overcooked follow up. Happy Mondays descended into the drug induced chaos that had always threatened to be their natural state and The Charlatans 2nd album went to much more interesting places but stalled their commercial momentum.

It’s not strictly true that the top 40 was devoid of guitars, just that the ones who filled the gap between Madchester and Britpop haven’t generally lived long in the public conciousness. Inspiral Carpets bridged the gap between the two scenes but despite being a constant chart presence never breached the singles Top 10. The only indie band that comes straight to mind as breaking into the top 10 in this period was Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Other than that we had acts like Cud, Senseless Things, Kingmaker, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Pop Will Eat Itself. All fine in their own way (PWEI were great) and all with a string of chart placings in the 20s and 30s but they weren’t inspiring the nation to pick up guitars. Or their records in big numbers.

It’s a cliché that the British music press were forever hyping bands as the next big thing but with Suede, followed by Blur followed by Oasis they were actually onto something. It’s also interesting to remember that for all the big Blur vs Oasis rivalry, the Justine connection meant it started out as Blur vs Suede.

I wasn’t on either side of either battle. I bought the records whether it was Blur, Oasis or Suede including Country House and Roll With It on the day of release. Like you say, neither are anywhere near their best work.

Got a lot of great memories of Britpop as it coincided with my late teens and going to university. Life was full of possibilities and there was an incredible soundtrack and films like Trainspotting that were part of that as well.

There were a whole lot of also rans that were picked up in the record label signing frenzy that have long since been forgotten as is the case with any scene but the likes of those on your playlist still stand up.

Have a good trip and look forward to seeing where you pick up next.

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 8:43 am

Now I remember! Between Madchester and Britpop we had the Shoegaze scene. Which didn’t set the charts alight but it did produce Ride who were my favourite band of the time (how could I forget them?) and managed one top 10 hit. By the time Britpop came along Shoegaze was swiftly forgotten and Ride adapted to fit in to Britpop producing a bloated album far removed from their previous sound that inspired creative tensions and their break up. Until their triumphant resurrection in the 2010s when they tried to destroy my hearing but I forgive them that.

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 9:15 am
Reply to  Virgindog

One aspect of Britpop is that it did rehabilitate some of the heroes of Madchester that the likes of Oasis lionised. Shaun Ryder came back with Black Grape (until history repeated itself and they disintegrated too), The Charlatans became top 10 regulars and having done their best to ruin their reputation with The Second Coming, the various members of Stone Roses came back with John Squire forming The Seahorses, Ian Brown’s solo career taking off and Mani joining Primal Scream.

cappiethedog
Member
Famed Member
cappiethedog
Online Now
March 17, 2023 11:39 pm

I read a short item about how Ian Brown postponed recording until he found the perfect cowbell sound and mistook it as a real story.

Zeusaphone
Member
Famed Member
Zeusaphone
Offline
March 17, 2023 10:39 am

The first Elastica album is so good and the second is so not

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 11:19 am
Reply to  Zeusaphone

There were a lot drugs, personnel changes, rewrites and relationship breakdowns in the 5 years between the two albums. The fire had gone out by the time The Menace came round.

Trivia time; the cover artwork to The Menace was done by former flatmate of Justine; M.I.A. She also directed the video for Mad Dog God Dam.

thegue
Member
Famed Member
thegue
Offline
March 17, 2023 1:13 pm

Bill,

LOVE that you created a playlist of these!

  1. When I lived in Syria, one of my friends re-introduced me to Stone Roses (whom I knew thru one of the GREAT CDs I owned, with a version of “Sally Cinnamon”), and, as he put it, “Stone Roses are the reason Oasis exist. They turned away from the New Wave/synth bands that were dominating British airwaves at the time, and inspired a bunch of bands to go back to guitars.”
  2. Funny you included Charlatans and Saint Etienne – I always thought of them as Madchester…(just checked Wikipedia, and they’re listed under both). Saint Etienne was brilliant, but seemed more dance-ish.
  3. I know Oasis is considered Britpop, but the only reason I think they are is because whenever they were interviewed for American television it came with subtitles (which, if I can imitate the British, is BRILLIANT).
  4. The MOST British song I can think of by Oasis is “Digsy’s Dinner”. Blur (which also started in the Madchester scene) has about 30 songs more “British” than that.
  5. I’ve always wanted to chart the “Britishness” of a band with its popularity. Oasis would “win” the popularity (Y-axis), but be extremely low on the X-axis (Britishness). Bands like Dodgy, Space, Auteurs, Mock Turtles would be higher on the X-axis, extremely low on the Y-axis.

Still a work in progress, obviously.

RAVE 1990.jpg
JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 2:26 pm
Reply to  thegue

2. Charlatans were definitely part of both Madchester and Britpop. This is the first time I’ve ever seen St Etienne linked to Madchester. They were indie-dance but too late for Madchester as well as not being from anywhere near Manchester. While they were more dance oriented they were part of the Britpop scene. It was mainly guitar led but it pulled in acts from outside those confines as well, partly just by association staples of the same music magazines, playing The same venues and being on the same festival bills.

Acts like Chemical Brothers and Prodigy definitely weren’t Britpop but they were associated with it through being on Oasis’ Knebworth line up and working with Noel and Tim Burgess.

3. From the British perspective Oasis and Blue were peak Britpop. Interesting to hear your take that you don’t think Oasis really were. They may not have sounded as overtly British but they were hugely influenced by The Beatles, Kinks, The Jam and even more unusual acts like ripping off Neil Innes (from Bonzo Dog Soo-Dah Band and musical collaborator with Monty Python) How Sweet To Be An Idiot for the Whatever tune.

Songs like Cigarettes and Alcohol and Live Forever spoke to young Brits and Supersonic is very British in its lyrical references. Britishness may be in the eye of the beholder, they had a very different sound but to me Oasis played up the British aspect as much as Blur.

4. Most British Oasis song? I’d go Cigarettes and Alcohol. For a wild leftfield choice; Boneheads Bank Holiday.

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 2:48 pm

Blue??? They definitely weren’t Britpop! And that should say Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Some fat fingered typing and the edit button has gone awol!

thegue
Member
Famed Member
thegue
Offline
March 17, 2023 1:19 pm

P.S. I always considered the arrival of Kula Shaker as the end of Britpop – after all, if a Britpop is SO British they steer into Indian music, is it really Britpop?

(I LOVED K, so this wasn’t a putdown)

Finally…what is the MOST “Britpop” song ever? “Common People”? “Parklife”? “Beautiful Ones”? JJ, any other nominees?

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 2:45 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

Given the historical context of the British in India what could be more British than appropriating Indian music?

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 2:41 pm
Reply to  thegue

Most Britpop song? Now there’s a challenge.

Common People and Parklife are definitely up there.

Other contenders;
Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger
Boo Radleys – Wake Up, Boo!
Supergrass – Alright
Manic Street Preachers – A Design For Life
McAlmont and Butler – Yes
Menswear – Daydreamer

Included Menswear cos for many they were the point Britpop began to consume itself. If they’d had time to develop they might have been OK but they were signed and thrust into the spotlight as the next big thing when they weren’t ready for it and took a big backlash. They were seen as more image and marketing over content.

Manic Street Preachers pre-date Britpop and started off very separate. As Oasis were coming through they were getting very dark with The Holy Bible but having gone through the aftermath of that and the disappearance of Richie Edwards there sound on Everything Must Go became more accessible and anthemic even if that hid some still dark lyrics. A Design For Life (opening lyric; ‘Libraries give us power, then work came and made us free’) was a huge anthem, the sound aligned with Britpop and they supported Oasis at Knebworth before going off on their path again afterwards.

A few other names from the Britpop years that haven’t been mentioned but made some great music;

Ash
Super Furry Animals
Cast
Ocean Colour Scene
The Divine Comedy
Shed 7
Space
Bluetones
Paul Weller – Noel said one of his ambitions was to have more number 1s than The Jam. Weller was already having a career renaissance with Wild Wood and the follow up Stanley Road put him firmly into the Britpop scene.

Phylum of Alexandria
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 3:17 pm

Not that I have any Brit cred whatsover, but my pick is “Tracy Jacks.”

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 3:46 pm

A fine deep cut and in terms of Britishness opening with ‘Tracy Jacks, works in civil service’ is right up there. I can see why it didn’t translate to the US.

cappiethedog
Member
Famed Member
cappiethedog
Online Now
March 17, 2023 11:35 pm

Oh, no. When somebody from the UK makes no mention of Inspiral Carpets. I really like Revenge of the Goldfish. “Two Worlds Collide” and “Bitches Brew”, not a lot of brouhaha. I guess “This Is How It Feels” is the only song people would remember Inspiral Carpets by.

Shed Seven’s “Speakeasy” is badass. My favorite The Divine Comedy song is “Songs of Love”.

Is Whipping Boy Britpop? I like how Feargahl McKee references Starsky and Hutch in “When We Were Young”.

The Candyskins do an excellent imitation of The Stone Roses on “Everything Falls Apart On Me”.

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 18, 2023 4:19 am
Reply to  cappiethedog

I mentioned Inspiral Carpets in another comment so left them out of that list, it definitely wasn’t intended as a snub to them as I was a big fan of theirs. This Is How It Feels probably is their best remembered song. I’d go with Saturn 5, Two Worlds Collide and I Want You with Mark E. Smith adding random colourful phrases.

You know what? I do not remember Whipping Boy at all and don’t even recognise the name but in the space of 24 hours your comment is the 2nd time they’ve come up – the other on coverage of last night’s soccer. Bizarre. As they were Irish I’ll go with them not being Britpop. I’ll be having a listen though given the randomness with which they’ve suddenly appeared in my life.

Last edited 1 year ago by JJ Live At Leeds
Pauly Steyreen
Member
Famed Member
March 18, 2023 12:00 am

I’d say SFA leaned so much into their Welsh-ness that they’d be a stretch to put in the Britpop bin. (Yes I know Wales is in Great Britain, but when you record an entire album in Welsh, you aren’t going for the Britpop cred.)

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 18, 2023 5:28 am
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

SFA are more Britpop adjacent. They were on Creation Records which as the home of Oasis was deemed the coolest label of the times and Britpop central and as the music media do, they were pulled into the Britpop banner just by being new, alternative and British. They were separate enough that the association didn’t do them any harm and were able to thrive post Britpop.

Another Welsh band that leaned into their heritage, pre-dated the scene, were further off the wall than SFA but got signed by a major label amidst the rush was Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – which isn’t actually Welsh despite seeming so. They have the not so honourable distinction of having 8 chart entries without ever getting into the top 40. Though they did get to 41, 42 and 43.

https://youtu.be/LXMey9IT7hk

Last edited 1 year ago by JJ Live At Leeds
Pauly Steyreen
Member
Famed Member
March 18, 2023 10:14 am

I absolutely remember Gorky’s Zygnotic Mynci (great band with a great name). I discovered them via my love for Super Furry Animals. They seemed adjacent to one another, but otherwise on a different planet from other music of the time.

PeiNews
Member
Noble Member
PeiNews
Offline
March 21, 2023 12:15 pm

I dunno, I feel like “Don’t Look Back in Anger” did too well in the US to be in consideration for “Most Britpop”

Edith G
Member
Famed Member
Edith G
Offline
March 17, 2023 1:21 pm

Great article V-dog, very informative. Even when I saw the “This Is Pop” episode from Netflix, I can’t say that I’ve heard everything from this genre, but I’ll give a listen to the YouTube playlist. My only complain is Oasis’s DLBIA, for whatever reason is one of my irrationally hated songs and knowing that’s many people’s favorite song don’t help.

thegue
Member
Famed Member
thegue
Offline
March 17, 2023 2:10 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

VERY British music video as well – Patrick Macnee was in the TV show The Avengers, one of my favorite shows of all-time.

(Shallow thegue may have had a teenaged crush on Diana Rigg…)

blu_cheez
Member
Famed Member
blu_cheez
Offline
March 17, 2023 3:14 pm

My goodness, how I tried to really love Britpop, but couldn’t get a solid hold on any of these bands. I’d fall in love with a song here and there, but don’t think I have an entire album that I liked all the way through.

This is music I absolutely should have adored, but there was something off-putting about it (maybe it’s just the Yank in me). Maybe it’s worth a fresh listen…

Phylum of Alexandria
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 3:22 pm
Reply to  blu_cheez

Pretty much me too. I like plenty of songs, but it’s very piecemeal. And my favorite Blur album is Think Tank!

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 3:44 pm

Think Tank is very underrated. Gets overlooked because of circumstances of Graham leaving so he only appears on a couple of tracks. Crazy Beat was an awful attempt at recreating Song 2 but other than that misstep it’s a fine album.

Tough choice but for me I’ll go 13.

The Magic Whip turned out way better than most bands reformation in it for the money moments. Still essential Blur for me.

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 3:50 pm
Reply to  blu_cheez

Seeing as you mention those exact words, try This Is Music from The Verve. It’s from the A Northern Soul album before they became huge. I prefer this album to the one with Bittersweet Symphony.

https://youtu.be/PgsPAsno4OU

Phylum of Alexandria
Member
Famed Member
March 17, 2023 3:20 pm

Bon voyage, M. Chien Vierge!

dutchg8r
Member
Famed Member
dutchg8r
Offline
March 17, 2023 7:30 pm

Britpop = My College Years

One of my things I’d enjoy being able to do living on my own at college was just hang at one of the independent bookstores next to campus and spend the afternoon reading magazines, mostly UK music magazines. Q was my favorite, it would take forever to read through it and it was always a fascinating read. So every month, just more stories about Blur/Oasis/Suede/Pulp etc. It just fascinated me that there was such a massive interest in these bands that were non-entities in the States aside from Oasis. I mean, not even the indie college stations were playing them!!

I thought the first 2 Oasis albums were brilliant. Their debut album is the better of the 2 by far. I also was really into Elastica, because it was fun as a female to sing along to Justine with an over the top British sneer of an accent. What was that line in Car Song? “Every shiny bonnet, makes me think of my back on it” As a Yank, I thought that was hysterical!

Now that Graham Coxon from Blur played guitar on 80% of Duran’s most recent album just for the fun of it basically, I’m much more pro-Blur now. 😁

Bon voyage Mr and Mrs VDog, safe travels!!!

Pauly Steyreen
Member
Famed Member
March 18, 2023 12:05 am
Reply to  dutchg8r

I was not into the Britpop scene really. I loved Elastica’s first album. I liked Oasis’ debut. But mostly I was in an indier-than-thou phase at that point in my life. I heard the stuff in passing; I didn’t hate it but I didn’t seek it out. Elastica is the exception, I played the eff out of that album.

mt58
Admin
Famed Member
mt58
Offline
March 18, 2023 3:38 am
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

Now, there’s a delicious turn-of-phrase! Well done, Pauly.

I am so looking forward to when I can drop “Indier-than-now” into a conversation.

(With proper attribution, of course.)

cappiethedog
Member
Famed Member
cappiethedog
Online Now
March 19, 2023 1:42 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

Blur didn’t sell as well as Oasis. I deemed Blur acceptable. My aunts loved “Wonderwall”. That just won’t do. I made an exception for my maternal grandmother. If she liked a song I liked, I didn’t mind.

I remember Elastica on Letterman. Went out of my mind.

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 18, 2023 5:36 am
Reply to  dutchg8r

Agree completely about the first two Oasis albums. After that there was some good stuff but the albums were generally patchy and it’s pretty difficult to recapture the first flush of excitement as they broke through. They went from being cocky underdogs who were part of the underclass, rising above their station to then become part of the establishment.

Did not know about Graham being on the latest Duran Duran album. Would never have expected that back in the 90s.

He’s got a new album out, a collaboration with a female singer songwriter, Rose Elinor Dougall, calling themselves The Waeve which is really good.

cappiethedog
Member
Famed Member
cappiethedog
Online Now
March 17, 2023 11:50 pm

“New French Girlfriend” is great. The Auteurs’ New Wave was so good. Not sure why I didn’t buy the follow-up.

Catatonia. Yes.

Things are getting strange, I’m starting to worry/This could be a case for Mulder and Scully

JJ Live At Leeds
Member
Famed Member
March 18, 2023 5:46 am
Reply to  cappiethedog

I had a thing for Cerys. International Velvet was such a good album. They’d been around a few years without becoming well known and Britpop was about done by the time it was released and Mulder and Scully and Road Rage sent it triple platinum. After that it was the usual tale of success going to their heads, too much partying, drink and drugs.

Cerys is still good value for money, working in tv, radio and writing.

42
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x