The great Britpop debate. This article is one half and argues that Britpop was actually very good. Have your say and check out the other article here.
Aside from The Beatles and a decent line in prog rock, Britain didn't have a great deal going for it on the world music stage until the 90s. Influenced by The Smiths and the whole 'Madchester' scene, suddenly something was born, something that captured the mood of the nation - something poptastically British: Britpop.
Those years may have passed but the legacy left by those bands heavily influences our music today (away from X-Factor dirge obviously). Of course, it's too obvious to ask where Beady Eye and Noel's High Flying Birds would be without the origin of Oasis, or Gorillaz without Blur? But seriously, where might Coldplay or Kaiser Chiefs have come from without that influence?
The time may have passed, the bands may have gone, but what evidence would suggest that Britpop was the best thing to happen to British music since the 60s?
EXHIBIT A - The Leaders
The engine of the whole movement, Oasis and Blur clearly defined the 'Cool Britannia' Britpop era. With Noel banging out classic hits faster than a military drummer and Albarn the purveyor of cheeky guitar pop, they stood head and shoulders above the rest. 'Wonderwall', 'Don't Look Back in Anger', 'Parklife' are classic tracks - no arguement.
EXHIBIT B - Runners Up
However, despite being eclipsed by the two giants, both Suede and Pulp managed to entice their own stream of fans and hits with lyrical wordplay (Jarvis Cocker) and sing-along choruses ('Trash' for example).
EXHIBIT C - The Also-Rans
Behind the big four were a whole host of bands who had their moments in the limelight, consistently producing some terrific work. From Supergrass' 'Alright' through to the youthful Ash's 'Girl From Mars', if these guys were the b-sides to Oasis and Blur's a-sides, that just shows how impressive the whole movement's legacy was. See also Elastica, The Bluetones, Gene, Ocean Colour Scene and Shed Seven.
EXHIBIT D - The Imitators
Such was the depth and strength of the whole movement that bands such as Menswear, Echobelly and Sleeper all had their moment in the sun, producing songs that could match the best for sheer energy and melodic jangle.
EXHIBIT E - The Legacy Lives
Quite simple - looks who's still recording? Though split, Oasis' offspring Beady Eye and Noel's High Flying Birds have enjoyed critical success and rejuvenated craftsmanship since the demise of their former band. Suede, Pulp and Blur reformed to critical success for a while - Albarn currently enjoying success as an Opera writer. Elsewhere Ash are trying (a la Radiohead) a new way to release music, Ocean Colour Scene toured their breakthrough album Moseley Shoals and The Bluetones have only just split.
So whatever your opinion, Britpop brought us a wave of euphoria that no amount of thrown guitars or fruit (or Coldplay is some people's opinion!) can destroy.