Saturday, May 09, 2009


There was a relatively brief time in the first half of the nineties when all cool pop rock seemed to come from the UK. On this side of the pond anyway. The phenomenon was called Britpop, and supposedly it was a reaction to the US' grunge, with a nostalgic wink to the famous British guitar groups of the sixties. Prominent groups were Blur, Supergrass and of course, Oasis, but Kula Shaker, The Verve, The Charlatans, Pulp (I most definitely didn't like Pulp, but that's just my opinion) and Suede were strong brands in those days. The Ur Britpop group is said to be The Stone Roses, who debuted in 89, but all bands owed much to The Smiths. Britpop produced in all probably around twenty, twenty-five superhits. Again, just my opinion. In 1995, the phenomenon was at its height, something emphasized too by the fierce contest between Blur and Oasis - eventually, Oasis won. What I will remember forever - apart from the great sound - is how terribly young many band members were - Gaz Coombes from Supergrass, Blur's Damon Albarn, etc., how arrogant some were (think Noel and Liam Gallagher from Oasis), and how annoyingly effeminate others (Albarn again, but also Suede's Brett Anderson). I never precisely pinpointed the end of Britpop, but I remember well when I thought Oasis was finished: upon hearing Stand by me, from the 97 album Be here now . Somewhat to my surprise, I only recently learned that music critic Jon Savage defined the end of the entire movement as coinciding with the release of that album. To the best of my knowledge, only one Britpop group survives in more or less viable state to this day: Radiohead.

Now, music. First Blur.

This was Song2 from the album Blur (1997). Some say this was one of the first post-Britpop singles. Dunno, but the fact that it's so ballsy certainly distinguishes it from their earlier work.

Then Supergrass.

Sun hits the sky, one of the three singles on In it for the money (also 1997).

Then Elastica with Waking Up, from the titleless debut album (1995). By know most readers will know I hate live performances, but this is the only decent video I was able to dig up as a subsitute for the studio version. It's not too atrocious, in fact, for a live performance it's quite good. Many groups absolutely suck when out of the safe, cozy and carefree environment of the studio. The singer is Justine Frischmann, ex-Suede.

Finally, Oasis with D'you know what I mean, taken from Be here now (1997). According to the Miserable Fat Belgian Bastard, the last good Oasis song. After that it was all downhill.

Hey, nite all! Except you, Charles Johnson.


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