The Bubble Playlist No. 14: Britpop

When many people think of Britpop, the likes of Blur, Oasis, Pulp and the Verve spring to mind; writing about uniquely British topic and concerns, these artists dominated much of the 90s music scene, and brought British alternative rock back into the limelight. Displaying a reverence for the sounds of the past (Blur and Oasis drew influences from The Kinks and The Beatles respectively, whilst citing punk rock and British Invasion artists as inspirations too), the genre is one of taking tradition and placing your own stamp upon it. Denouncing grunge, bands were reliant upon catchy hooks and recognisable choruses, and wrote lyrics that would appeal to British people of their own generation and areas (hence the emphasis upon regional accents, and British iconography).

With the tentative re-emergence of Blur post-Glastonbury, the diversification of the Gallagher brothers, and the reforming of the likes of the Stone Roses, it looks like this summer may be the Renaissance of Britpop (if only for the festival season); accordingly, here are some of the best Britpop anthems that are sure to emerge on the festival stages in the coming months.

Stone Roses – She Bangs the Drums (1989)

One of the direct ancestors of the Britpop movement – part of the ‘Madchester’ scene with The Happy Mondays and Oasis – this song is an affirmation of the spirit of newness and youth; fresh and surprisingly insightful, it’s a great way to kick off the Britpop mixtape.

Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro (1990)

Quite possibly Shaun Ryder’s finest moment – whilst the chorus does paraphrase the ‘gitchi gitchi ya ya da da’ of ‘Lady Marmalade’, it’s fiercely guitar-heavy and yet has the smooth, dance roots that so spawned the likes of Paul Oakenfold and his Ibiza legacy.

Suede – Animal Nitrate (1993)

Previewed to the nation at the 1993 Brit Awards, it’s about as glam-rock as Britpop gets, with a smattering of Brett Anderson’s haunting vocals and lingering guitars that characterise Suede’s discography.

Blur – Parklife (1994)

Possibly the most iconic (and singalongable) chorus of the 90s, and when combined with the cockney overtones of Phil Daniels’ verses, it is a true classic. One that is sure to get any party started, whether you’re on the Blur or the Oasis side of the coin.

Pulp – Disco 2000 (1995)

Brilliant baselines, brilliant lyrics – the classic teenage angst song has been transformed into something simply… brilliant under Jarvis Cocker’s stewardship.

The Boo Radleys – Wake Up Boo! (1995)

One of the classic 90s one-hit-wonders, the album version has a nice a cappella opening too. As tempting as it is to have it as an alarm tone, ‘Wake up,/It’s a beautiful morning!’ begins to grate in sub-zero January.

Dodgy – Good Enough (1996)

‘If it’s good enough for you/ It’s good enough for me/ It’s good enough for two,/ That’s what I want to see’ – this is definitely the ‘pop’ side of the Britpop lyrically, but it’s shamelessly brilliant all the same.

Shed Seven – Going For Gold (1996 – and then re-released in 1999)

Sometimes neglected in the Britpop canon, but this single and the namesake album sound like a happy mixture between Oasis’ no-nonsense lyrics and The Charlatans’ subtle vocals.

Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger (1996)

Noel Gallagher claimed that he didn’t actually know anybody called ‘Sally’ when he wrote this song and that it was ‘just a word that fit, y’know?’ And when a song is as good as this is, who really cares? Poignant and anthemic, it’s better than ‘Wonderwall’, and signals the peak of Britpop creativity.

Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song (1996)

This song is heavily-influenced by Led Zeppelin’s ‘Four Sticks’, and as a result has a strong emphasis upon guitar solos. Sounds like it would fit perfectly on the ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ soundtrack, which is always a good thing.

The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony (1997)

The ‘epic’ of Britpop – like Richard Ashcroft in the video, it stops for no man. I defy anybody to not hear those beginning few bars of the iconic violin ‘hook’ and not want to hear the entirety of this enduring classic.

The Charlatans – The Only One That I Know (1997)

Perhaps recognisable to many from Mark Ronson’s 2007 album ‘Version’, on which Robbie Williams provides the vocals, the original has a welcome dearth of trumpets, and an injection of character that makes it a must-have for any Britpop compilation.

Supergrass – Pumping on Your Stereo (1999)

Often wrongly put in the shade by the effervescent ‘Alright’, it’s a gem of a song that whilst it sounds a little Bowie-esque in the hand-clapping (apparently to cover the fact that their snare drum wasn’t loud enough), will inevitably have you tapping your feet in as

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