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Britpop was ace

by Dan Clay Rating: Release Date:

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.

Comments (9)

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oooh Dan massive claim there that the UK had nothing going on between The Beatles, Prog and then the 90s. Bowie owned the 70s, UK punk changed everything and post punk was one of the most innovative times for music. Then we had The Smiths and the...

oooh Dan massive claim there that the UK had nothing going on between The Beatles, Prog and then the 90s. Bowie owned the 70s, UK punk changed everything and post punk was one of the most innovative times for music. Then we had The Smiths and the whole independent scene of the 80s. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, loads more acts from the 80s made a bigger impact on the US than any of the 90s Britpop bands.

I'd argue that all of the bits you missed are a lot better than Britpop. Don't get me worng I love Blur, Pulp, Suede but the likes of Kula Shaker, Ocean Colour Scene, Echobelly, they all just remind me of a time when gigs turned to shit and we had to endure Chris Evans' smug face on a Friday night.

Still I am split down the middle of both of these articles as I think every scene has it's good and bad points. Britpop was great up to 94 when it was still fairly underground. It peaked in 95 with some great albums and then after that a load of shite bands jumped on the bandwagon.

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That Pulp footage is ace!

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The problem here is the idea of neatly splitting groups of bands and decades together, things don't really work like that. I'd agree that Britpop had its fair share of average to awful bands but that happens with every 'scene'. Once a 'sound' is...

The problem here is the idea of neatly splitting groups of bands and decades together, things don't really work like that. I'd agree that Britpop had its fair share of average to awful bands but that happens with every 'scene'. Once a 'sound' is successful record companys will sign anything that fits in; will have been the same in the 'flower power' sixties and the 'punky' seventies. The fact is its easy to idealise times that I wasn't involved in (or times when I wasn't even born). I guess its equally easy to either idealise or be overy critical of your own musical past. Personally, a lot of the music that fits into 'Britpop' is music I love; Blur, Supergrass, Pulp, Mansun and even the odd Echobelly song. And while I can't claim to listen to Oasis much these days I feel it would be foolish to deny the impact it had on me. I love far too much music and am perhaps too annoyingly honest to dismiss things. I love Supergrass and I love Wolves In The Throne Room, I like 'Statue-esque' by Sleeper and 'Greed, Money, Useless Children' by Jay Reatard. It's scary to think that Britpop is somehow responsible for Coldplay though! Although isn't Nirvana's real musical legacy bands like Nickleback?

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Pulp footage is amazing! Jarvis Cocker is one of the best arguments for the merits of 'Britpop'...

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agree with Bob, there was plenty going on between the Beatles and the 90s and it was far more innovative and interesting than much that was spawned out of Britpop - and while Britpop definitely had its moments, with most quoted bands having the...

agree with Bob, there was plenty going on between the Beatles and the 90s and it was far more innovative and interesting than much that was spawned out of Britpop - and while Britpop definitely had its moments, with most quoted bands having the odd decent song and it helped re-populate the charts with far more guitar-based songs than had been in the Top 40 in the previous decade or so, it was still plain, dull and derirative. While it may have seen exciting at least for a bit at the time, I can't bear to listen to albums or singles I bought from many of those artists these days, with the odd exception from bands that were dumped in with the movement but always felt like on the edges (e.g. Geneva, Puressence, Marion). It's pretty evident from the change of directions to something far more interesting from Blur and Pulp in 1997/8, that Britpop became tiresome very quickly. The only legacy I'd say that it's caused is that there is far more dull, safe guitar music polluting the airwaves since then.

I would make an exception to one of the protagonists. Though I hate it and the song is terribly cheesy I was chuffed that The Boo Radleys had a massive hit with 'Wake Up Boo' - all they wanted was to be on Top Of The Tops, they achieved it, then went back to their dirgy, noisy best with their follow up LP

I would second my hatred of Chris Evans' face on a Friday night, particularly as his programme replaced The Word, which though it was shite and had the equally repulsive Terry Christian, at least had some damn good live music in its early to mid-90s heyday

For the definitive recollection of Britpop though you need look no further than listening to the brilliant Helen Love and their timeless and scathing: 'Long Live The UK Music Scene' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFcu7gSt640

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Why is Steve's comment at the top? Agree with most of what you're saying though, Steve.

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Three good things 'Britpop' gave us:
Graham Coxons' guitar playing
Jarvis Cockers' lyrics
'Caught by the Fuzz' by Supergrass....

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Comments appearing in a random order....???

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Andy you are so right about 'Caught By The Fuzz'. Best Undertones song the Undertones never wrote.

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