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Threesome: 90s Britpop revisited

August 22, 2008

Between seeing Jarvis Cocker at the Pitchfork Music Festival, and watching the Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett promo for the Olympics, I’ve thinking about the era in the 1990s when the sun never set on the Britpop empire. Led by Blur (above), Oasis, and Pulp, British acts dominated the UK charts with songs about, well, being British. In a conscious rejection of US culture (especially the rise of grunge), 90s Britpop married lyrics focused on the lives of working-class Brits—as exemplified by Pulp’s “Common People”—with anthemic or catchy pop tunes, drawing from British-Invasion-era antecedents like The Kinks. The music was seen as part of the larger “Cool Britannia” cultural movement, kind of a nationalism-lite. In 1997, after 18 straight years of Conservative leadership, the young (well, relatively speaking) Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister with a Labour government, and he allied himself with the music and the scene, as a way of associating himself and Labour with youth and change. That was probably its death knell, and the idea of “Cool Britannia” quickly became trite. In retrospect, of course, that cultural moment appears as a bright spot of peace and optimism before 9/11, the 7/7 subway bombings, and the ongoing aftermath. And its music lives on.

MP3: Oasis – Go Let It Out (more about Oasis)

MP3: Pulp – Do You Remember the First Time? (more about Pulp)

MP3: Blur – Country House (more about Blur)

2 comments

  1. [...] the reference. If you are, there might be a new version coming out next year.) But it’s their Britpop-esque sound that sealed the deal – if Pulp and Roxy Music, had a bastard love child who was born in [...]


  2. [...] a listen if you say nice things about my blog and can relate your band’s music to my love of Britpop/geeks/overeducated musicians/(insert topic [...]



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