Thursday, 21 November 2019

Britpop. A (not so subtle) tribute.

"The genre of Britpop, with its assertion of Englishness, evolved at the same time that devolution was striking deep into the hegemonic claims of English culture to represent Britain. It is usually argued that Britpop, with its strident declarations of Englishness, was a response to the dominance of grunge. The contributors in this volume take a different point of view: that Britpop celebrated Englishness at a time when British culture, with its English hegemonic core, was being challenged and dismantled."
Joni Stratton

In the 1990s, Britpop, or the era of "Cool Britannia", became an important part of national identity. It re-branded Britain (via), music and lyrics were "uniquely British" (via).
“Cool Britannia” as an identity was established by the Government. In 1997, New Labour established a landmark victory and promoted themselves as a new start for a Britain that was fast becoming ravaged by unemployment and poverty. New Prime Minister Tony Blair attempted to build on his image by holding a reception at Downing Street for the great and the good on the British art and music scenes and both the Government and the media used the event to highlight the fact that the public should be proud of what was becoming established as a cultural high point for the arts in Britain. (via)
Blur, Oasis and Pulp were "The Holy Trinity of Britpop". While Oasis came from working class background and wrote songs about unemployment, dole checks, cigarettes, alcohol, and an absent father (via), and Pulp responded with "a certain romanticism of working-class culture" (via), Blur were billed as so-called "posh boys" from London with university education. Media, in fact, turned "the battle of the bands from a musical debate into a class war" (via) between the working-class northeners Oasis and the middle-class southerners Blur (via). Britpop finally became known for "highlighting working class Britain and bringing it to the forefront of national identity", blowing "against the repressive forces of political correctness, class division and petty snobbery". The dress code - baggy sports clothing, trainers and Parka jacket - were part of it (via).
Some critics say that the representations of British identity were not authentic and reinforcing "a nostalgic and chauvinist cultural turn which privileged whiteness and to a lesser extent maleness" and that Britpop was marketed by Tony Blair's New Labour (via). Others, again, speak of a proto-feminist movement coming out of Britpop (via) and point out that its representation of national identity was more complex and that non-white and non-English Britpop musicians were there but widely ignored in the academic critique (Lueders, 2016). One thing is clear, Britpop is fantastic. And, it is not really over since a great many bands in the post-Britpop era are influenced by it ... showing discontinuities but also continuities between post-Britpop and the first-generation Britpop (Collinson, 2010).

Britpop Selection:

::: The Bluetones: Slight Return LISTEN/WATCH
::: The La's: There She Goes LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Lightning Seeds: What If LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Boo Radleys: Wake Up Boo! LISTEN/WATCH
::: Travis: Tied to the 90s LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Charlatans: The Only One I Know LISTEN/WATCH
::: Supergrass: Going Out LISTEN/WATCH
::: Blur: The Universal LISTEN/WATCH
::: Oasis: Champagne Supernova LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Verve: Bitter Sweet Symphony LISTEN/WATCH
::: Super Furry Animals: Something 4 the Weekend LISTEN/WATCH
::: Pulp: Disco 2000 LISTEN/WATCH
::: Cast: Sandstorm: LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Lightning Seeds: What You Say LISTEN/WATCH
::: Oasis: Roll With It LISTEN/WATCH
::: Travis: Why Does It Always Rain on Me? LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Lightning Seeds: Sugar Coated Iceberg LISTEN/WATCH
::: Supergrass: Sun Hits the Sky LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Lightning Seeds: You Showed Me LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Verve: Lucky Man LISTEN/WATCH
::: Supergrass: Alright LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Lightning Seeds: Life's Too Short LISTEN/WATCH
::: Pulp: Babies LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Verve: Sonnet LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Lightning Seeds: All I Want LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Boo Radleys: Wish I Was Skinny LISTEN/WATCH
::: Echobelly: Great Things LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Lightning Seeds: Ready or Not LISTEN/WATCH

- - - - - - - - - - - -
- Collinson, I. (2010). Devopop: Pop-Englishness and Post-Britpop Guitar Bands. In A. Bennett & J. Stratton (eds.) Britpop and the English Music Tradition (163-178). London & New York: Routledge.
- Lueders, C. (2016). Britpop's Common People - National identity, popular music and young people in the 1990's. University of London: Doctoral Thesis, LINK
- photographs of Richard Ashcroft via and Damon Albarn via


  1. I'M THRILLED WITH THIS POSTING. End of comment.

    1. I had wanted to express my love for Britpop for so long; I finally did ;-) Cheers, Derek!

  2. You're my girl!!!!!

  3. Booooom!

    1. That's exactly how I feel ;) Many thanks for dropping by, Abbie!