Britpop, that hedonistic mid 90’s era. A time when you could stroll into Woolworths and take your pick from the array of new single releases that you had read about in Melody Maker or NME that week. New bands appeared as if from nowhere often being formed in some Camden boozer the week before, such was the carousel of creativity surrounding this music genre.
It’s easy to dismiss Britpop for those very reasons, or for it’s Blur vs Oasis chart battle in 1995 that even made the 9 o clock news. Yet talent was abound and many of the scenes stars are either still going or have reformed and are playing sold out gigs around the world.
With such a huge collective of popular bands – Oasis, Ash, Gene, Echobelly, Bluetones, Kula Shaker – I’ve opted not to do a traditional top ten, instead I’ve collated a compilation of some of my favourite Britpop tracks, a ‘Mix Tape’ if you like.
So zip up your retro Adidas top, pour yourself a snakebite and get ready to Disco Down!
Mansun: Wide Open Space
Mansun formed in 1995 and released their successful debut album ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’ three years later. The album spawned the hit singles Stripper Vicar, Taxloss & Wide Open Space, arguably their most popular track.
Sleeper released 3 ep’s before their break through hit ‘Inbetweener’. Stephen Street produced second album ‘The It Girl’ went platinum and led to the bands inclusion on the soundtrack of hit film Trainspotting, performing a cover of the Blondie track ‘Atomic’. This track is from their debut ‘Smart’
Supergrass: Caught By The Fuzz
Debut album ‘I Should Coco’ released in 1994 was Parlophone’s biggest selling debut since the Beatles ‘Please Please Me’. Supergrass who finally split in 2010 had huge success with several massive hit singles including ‘Alright’ ‘Richard III’ and ‘Pumping On Your Stereo’ this is the bands first single
4ad band Lush adopted the britpop sound for their final album. ‘Lovelife’ in 1996 even featured a duet with Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker on the track ‘Ciao’. Lovelife became their biggest commercial success since the album ‘Spooky’ and saw them releasing 3 hit singles.
Menswear or Menswe@r appeared on the cover of music bible Melody Maker before they had released any material, this led to a bidding war to sign them. The band generated so much publicity that they even appeared on Top Of The Pops a week before first single ‘I’ll Manage Somehow’ was even released. Lasting success wasn’t meant to be though and they disbanded after a second album that was only released in Japan. Daydreamer was their second single.
Suede: Animal Nitrate
Suede formed in 1989 and by 1992 were being hailed as the best new band in Britain. An Eponymous debut album was released the following year and won them the Mercury Music Prize. Suede had huge Britpop success but tried to distance themselves from that scene with their second album ‘Dog Man Star’. This song is one of several excellent tracks from their first album, including The Drowners and Metal Mickey.
Elastica instantly became huge thanks to frontwoman Justine’s past as a member of Suede and her relationship with Blur singer Damon Albarn. Luckily the music lived up to the hype and their debut album remains an indie classic, it included several huge singles including Stutter, Line Up and this track
Shed Seven: Disco Down
York’s finest, at the height of the bands popularity Shed Seven had fifteen top 40 singles and released four top 40 albums. The band split in 2003 but have since reformed and continue to sell out concerts around the UK. Hit’s include Speakeasy, Dolphin, and Going For Gold, but its this track that remains a dance floor filler.
Pulp: Common People
Jarvis and co had a long career before making it big with 1994 album ‘His n Hers’ plus the following years ‘Different Class’ that saw them release four top ten singles, including the era defining ‘Common People’. The band came out of a lengthy hiatus this summer to play acclaimed headline slots at several festivals.
Blur: There’s No Other Way
Originally named Seymour, Blur released their debut album ‘Leisure’ in 1991. The trio of releases that followed, ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’, ‘Parklife’, and ‘The Great Escape’ helped define the britpop genre and saw the band gain a huge following. In 2009 Blur reunited with guitarist Graham Coxon (who had left in 2003) to play a series of successful concerts.
Written and compiled by Jamie Gambino