What Is Britpop? [Continued].......
It was Britpop that restored the patriotism in the aftermath of Grunge when British Indie pop bands decided it was the 60’s and 70’s again. Suede kick-started it, Oasis and Blur made the most money from it.
The key "anti-influence" on the Britpop was Grunge. In 1990 to about 1992 the wake of the American invasion led by grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. British acts were either thrown on the defensive or sought to emulate the US style. Many sections of the British music press remained in thrall to the more established and critically acclaimed US acts such as Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth.
Grunge and Britpop bands differed greatly in styles, they ranged from the massive guitar roar of Oasis and the defiantly British pop of Blur to the disco/glam-rock pastiche of Pulp and progressive rock of Radiohead. These bands were tied together by attitude!.
THE ROOTS AND INFLUENCES OF BRITPOP
Madchester is a term coined for a music scene that happened in Manchester, at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. This was the very start of Britpop.
The Madchester scene was one of the most influential indie movements for Britpop, it had bands like The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets (Oasis' Noel Gallagher worked as a Roadie during the Madchester years). The early 90’s had the solo releases of Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown and the Jam's Paul Weller, and their referencing of 1970s rock music played a huge role in influencing the Britpop sound, which in the case of bands like Kula Shaker moved towards psychedelia. Noel Gallagher described The La's self-titled debut album as "the first Britpop album".
Britpop bands were mostly influenced by the British guitar music of the 60’s and 70’s, mainly the two Rock and Roll trends of the British Invasion: the Rocker cornerstones like The Beatles andThe Rolling Stones and their classic Mod contemporaries like The Who, The Kinks, and The Small Faces were very influential, possibly playing the biggest role in formation of the Britpop movement. Also quite influential were 1970s and 1980s punk and new wave artists including The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, and the Buzzcocks.
HISTORY OF BRITPOPPAUL WELLER AND BLUR (1991 – 1993)In Particular it is Paul Weller who is praised as the founder and initiator of the Britpop movement. His solo music, Paul Weller (1991) and Wild Wood (1993) are thought to be forces for the movement. Because of his love of Mod music from the 70’s he has the nickname “The Modfather”. He was the one to guild Blur, Ocean Colour Scene through recordings. Weller has also performed with the big Britpop bands including playing guitar on Oasis’ Champagne Supernova.
Whereas Weller brought the key ingredient of "Mod" to what would become Britpop, Blur brought several other factors to the table. Without the media attention and chart success that would later follow, Blur's 1993 album Modern Life Is Rubbish slowly shifted the band's sound away from shoegazing dance music and to a quirky pop sound influenced by the likes of the Kinks. In hindsight, the writing and sound of Modern Life Is Rubbish contained many of the lyrical themes, chord changes, harmonies, and decidedly British singing which would later become ironically recognised as "Britpop".
The Mod influence was profound on a number of acts, most famously Blur, Menswear and even Oasis, either in terms of musical influence (mainly The Kinks, The Who and The Small Faces) or fashion . Fashion designers like Ben Sherman and Lambretta revived overnight. Their clothing designs featured the logo and colours of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom which were also the symbols of the 1960s Mod youth movement as well as skinheads. They became famous by being sported by a host of musicians and singers.
BRITPOP AND COOL BRITANNIA (1994 – 1996)The term "Britpop" had been used as early as 1987 (in Sounds magazine by journalist and TV pundit John Robb referring to bands such as The La's, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets) and The Bridewell Taxis. Britpop arose around the same time as the term "Britart" (which referred to the work of British modern artists such as Damien Hirst). But it wouldn't be until 1995 when the term exploded and was used extensively by NME, Melody Maker, Select, and Q magazine. The word then entered the mainstream media. Its influence was recognised by an article in The Guardian by the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary declaring "Britpop" as the new word which best exemplified 1995. "Britpop" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 1997.
In April 1993, Select magazine helped spark the upswing in British pride by featuring Suede's lead singer Brett Anderson on the cover with a Union Jack in the background and the words 'Yanks go home!' on the cover, accompanied by features on Suede, The Auteurs, Denim, Saint Etienne and Pulp. This and the sophomore great albums kickstarted the movement and in the following three years (1993 – 1995) other Britpop and similar style acts just poured. Mansun, Elastica,Echobelly, Sleeper, Supergrass, Primal Scream, The Auteurs, The Boo Radleys, Pulp,Cast, The Bluetones, Black Grape, Space and The Divine Comedy. Some of them were new, others such as the Boo Radleys already established acts who benefited from association with the movement.
The battle was also on a "representative" points as Blur praised Mod bands like Small Faces and the Kinks, while Oasis had obvious Rocker trends like The Beatles and Rolling Stones. Pulp and Suede were more "David Bowish" and many of the bands featured influences of the previous acts. The media went even further, branding the movement "Third British Invasion", because of it massive popularity at the time and because acts represented particular musical influence or movement in their music, which led to more or less media-generated conflicts between the bands, as was the case with previous bands and movements.
Fans of Britpop are divided over which album kick-started the movement. Oasis' breakthrough debut Definitely Maybe (1994), Blur's bombastic third album Parklife (1994) and Suede's self-titled debut Suede (1993) are all contenders. We think it is The La’s album called The La’s was the very first Britpop album. These albums defined the movement and paved the way for many other acts. Pulp's His 'n' Hers (1994) also coincided with this trio of landmark albums and laid the basis for the territory explored on their own landmark release a year later, Different Class. Britpop hysteria then rapidly gained huge media and fan attention in Britain, Western Europe and some parts of the North America.
The movement was as much about British pride, media hype and imagery as it was about the particular style of music. Suede (known in America as "London Suede") was the first of the new crop of guitar-oriented bands to be completely embraced by the UK music media as Britain's answer to Seattle's grunge sound. Their self-titled first album was released in March 1993, and became the fastest-selling debut album in the history of the UK. This title was later claimed by Oasis with Definitely Maybe.
Britpop was also symbolised in 1994-1995 by the outwardly happy, poppy sing-along summer anthems of such bands as Dodgy's "Staying Out for the Summer", Supergrass'"Alright", Sleeper's "Inbetweener", The Boo Radleys' "Wake Up Boo" and Echobelly's "Great Things". Although the majority of the bands associated with Britpop were English, there were exceptions. Super Furry Animals, Catatonia, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics were Welsh.
Others like The Gyres, The Supernaturals, Travis and Belle and Sebastian were Scottish. This even led native media to call the rise of Welsh Bands "Cool Cymru" and "Cool Caledonia" this was a pun to "Cool Britannia". There were also Irish acts such as The Cranberries and Ash from Northern Ireland and not to mention the infamous Gallagher brothers who were actually Irish descendants. In spite of accusations of Southeast bias (typified by Blur, Supergrass and the Menswear), the movement and Britpop hysteria engulfed not just one province or city, it encompassed the entire region and established itself as a hegemonic and definitive British movement, both musically and spiritually.
The movement also exercised a brief period of cultural hegemony, with the 1996 filmTrainspotting and its Britpop-centric soundtrack (featuring Blur, Elastica, Pulp and Sleeper), through to Ocean Colour Scene music being used on the classic Chris Evans' TFI Friday and the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.