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The History of Britpop

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by

Esther Vicente

on 18 February 2016

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Transcript of The History of Britpop

Spring of 1992:
Release of Blur's Popscene and Suede's The Drowners

Suede's debut album
Suede
became the fastest-selling debut album in the history of the UK.

April 1993:
Select magazine cover with Brett Anderson (Suede) - Yanks go home!
The History of ...
Style, roots
and influences
Britpop is a subgenre of rock and pop music that originated in the United Kingdom. Britpop emerged from the British independent music scene of the early 1990s and was characterised by bands influenced by British guitar pop music of the 1960s and 1970s and indie rock from the 1980s, notably The Smiths. Britpop focused on bands, singing in regional British accents and making references to British places and British culture, particularly working class culture. The movement developed as a reaction against various musical and cultural trends in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly the grunge phenomenon from the United States.
What is Britpop?
The imagery associated with Britpop was equally British and working class. The Union Jack also became a prominent symbol of the movement and its use as a symbol of pride and nationalism contrasted deeply with the controversy that erupted just a few years before when former Smiths singer Morrissey performed draped in it. The emphasis on British reference points made it difficult for the genre to achieve success in the US.
Britpop bands were influenced by British guitar music of the past, particularly movements and genres such as the British Invasion, glam rock, and punk rock. Specific influences varied, but all Britpop artists projected a sense of reverence for the sounds of the past.
Britpop groups were defined by:

Focused on bands rather than solo artists
Having drums/bass/guitar/vocals (and sometimes keyboards) line-ups
Writing original material and playing instruments themselves
Singing in regional British accents
References to British places and culture in lyrics and image
Fashion consciousness
Lyrics meant to be relevant to British young people of their own generation
Denounced grunge as irrelevant and having nothing to say about their lives
Peak of
success
Decline
Post-Britpop
Blur took on an Anglocentric aesthetic with their second album
Modern Life Is Rubbish
(1993). Blur's new approach was inspired by their tour of the United States in the spring of 1992. During the tour, frontman Damon Albarn began to resent American culture and found the need to comment on that culture's influence seeping into Britain.
Blur's third album
Parklife
made them arguably the most popular band in the UK in 1994.


Death of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain in April
Blur Guitarist Graham Coxon told
The Guardian
that the song was "about the park class: dustbin men, pigeons, joggers - things we saw every day on the way to the studio. It epitomises what Blur were about - having fun and doing exactly what you want to do."
The peak of Britpop?! NOT
The Battle of Britpop

NME cover on its 12 August issue: "British Heavyweight Championship"

Oasis' single
Roll With It
, and Blur's
Country House
to be released on the same day.

Oasis:
working class
North of England

Blur:
middle class
South of England
Oasis released their debut album
Definitely Maybe
, which broke Suede's record for fastest-selling debut album.
1994
1992
1993
Movement was soon dubbed 'Britpop', at the same time 'Britart' arose.
1994 - the term entered the popular consciousness, being used extensively by the music press and radio DJs.

1995 - Elastica released their debut album
Elastica
, first week's sales surpassing Oasis'
Definitely Maybe
.
1995
Oasis:
Wonderwall
The Battle of Britpop
(What's the story) morning glory?
Single:
Roll With It
216,000 copies sold
The Great Escape
Single:
Country House
274,000 copies sold
According to Liam Gallager "A wonderwall can be anything. It's just a beautiful word. It's like looking for that bus ticket, and you're trying to f*** find it, that bastard, and you finally find it and you pull it out, 'F**** mega, that is me wonderwall."

1997
Be Here Now
Third album
Highly anticipated, good sales
Strong criticism
Blur
Fifth album
American lo-fi influences
1997
Radiohead - OK Computer
Oxfordshire band
Sound and themes of modern alienation
Esoteric influences from the 1960s and 1970s
The Verve: Urban Hymns
One of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history
Greatest hit was
Bittersweet Symphony
Band separated shortly after this
The Verve:
Bittersweet Symphony
Thanks for listening!
Post-Britpop:
late 1990s and early 2000s

Subgenre of British alternative rock
Themes of their music tended to be less centred on British, English and London life, and more introspective
Guitar based, often mixing elements of British traditional rock (particularly the Beatles and Rolling Stones) with American rock and indie influences, as well as experimental music
Image of the rock star as an ordinary person
Increasingly melodic music was criticised for being bland or derivative

Main Post-Britpop bands
Travis (Scotland)
Hooks and guitar rock favoured by Oasis in a song-based format
Good Feeling
(1997) - personal
The Man Who
(1999) - breakthrough album
12 Memories
(2003) - socially conscious and political

Stereophonics (Wales)
Performance and Cocktails
(1999) - elements of a post-grunge

and hardcore
Just Enough Education to Perform
(2001) - more melodic

Coldplay (England)
Most commercially successful band in the milieu
Parachutes
(2000) - début album, multi-platinum
A Rush of Blood to the Head
(2002) - they had become one of the most popular acts in the world by this time

Coldplay:
Yellow
The single reached number four in the UK Singles Chart, giving the band their first top-five hit in the United Kingdom. Helped by heavy rotation and usage in promotions, the song thrust the band into massive popularity
Origins and
first years
Full transcript