I’m beginning to sense you may not be a fan Lorcan.
I liked Yuko and Hiro from Great Escape as well but it’s not a great album compared to the two before.
I do think their best singles are Tender and On Your Own, which came after.
I also have a soft spot for To The End.
My favorite (read least favorite) thing in the 90’s was when people started saying some punk bands sold out and went alternative.
Damon played keyboards on the first Elastica album.
And you would be dead inside not to…
It’s true and I think while they weren’t always placed in with Britpop (some did) the era was especially fruitful because a load of great electronic music came out at the same time and dance acts finally became album artists rather than providing one off singles. The Prodigy, Leftfield, Orbital, Underworld, The Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack, Portishead. (I think ‘Leftism’ by Leftfield is actually the best album of the Britpop era)
There was some crossover there too with Toni Halliday of Curve and Noel Gallagher offering up vocals.
I would also say that Britpop became intertwined with the whole ‘cool Britannia’ idea which was a mixture of lots of other cultural factors.
Taking a bit more pride in home-grown bands and other artists was part of that (the Britpop bands were to some extent set up as alternatives to, if not opponents of, the popular US rock bands of the day), but there was lots of other stuff that played into the cultural buoyancy of the day - including England hosting the European football tournament and the rise of New Labour as the Thatcher/Major years of the Tories finally came to an end.
It’s all mixed up in the same thing for me, the music and the other stuff. I was a teenager at the time so was aware of it all very vividly.
It seems a bit twee and naff looking back on it, but there was a genuine feeling of national optimism and positivity that fed into (and to some extent fed off) Britpop.
I agree Dave and I think that’s where the ‘swinging sixties’ comparison is a good one, that it was a general rather than a specific thing.
Back to the very first point, despite the knack Noel Gallagher had (sorry Andrew it is past tense for me) for a catchy chorus, if that defines ‘pop’ then you chuck almost any band in there, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Sex Pistols.
I was primarily listening to hip hop during this time. It was a fruitful time for music.
I hope it’s a lot better gig than their “last ever” gig they did in Dublin all those years ago.
Bag o wank
I listened to loads too as the material was great.
I’m actually very loathe to emphasise these Brit v US things. I know the term Britpop invites it but essentially if anyone listens to music based on that basis it’s a bit stupid. It may influence your exposure but there is no rule that says a guy in Milwaukee may be more taken by Pulp than Matchbox 20 or a guy in Sheffield can’t think the best thing in the 90s was Missy Elliot. In truth most of it was always fairly equally shared from the early 60s onwards. We tend to focus on what is different rather than the majority of hits were much the same. Yes "I Will Always Love You’ was played endlessly everywhere.
It’s what I’ve found living so far away from where I was raised that what you have in common is far greater than the differences, which are fun to discuss but tend to dominate and skew reality. If you moved to Sri Lanka tomorrow at least 80% of your life would be the same.
They brought it. I did enjoy that last ever gig, but the two I’ve been to since then have been amazing
And the countries’ tastes are pretty similar too. The major differences in what gets popular and what doesn’t is mostly down to radio and geography. There are big UK bands that come the US and the touring is too grueling for them to get traction. There are US bands that have regional success and get big in the UK. The Strokes and Scissor Sisters which you mentioned upthread, I lived in New York when they were coming up and they played all the time, everyone knew them. It would have taken five years of constant touring in the US to get as big outside of NYC as they did in just a few months in the UK. Same thing with how quickly Detroit techno and house could matriculate in the UK (a place I think also favored ecstasy more than the US, if only because that was such an urban drug).
But who knows. I can’t say why the US took to Radiohead, Coldplay, and Muse more than Oasis, Blur, and Pulp. Not that those latter bands weren’t around, but they were maybe too proudly British. Certainly Blur and Pulp spoofed things like class and income disparity in the UK in a way didn’t totally translate—but then people in the US loved “Shipbuilding” and stuff like that back in the 80s so who knows.
And Bush’s success in the US is pretty simple to explain. That particular guitar sound and vocal sound meant you would automatically be played on modern rock radio. Even stateside you’d have bands who weren’t “grunge” at all bringing existing songs back to the studio for a touch-up, have that sound put on, and get hit records.
Bush was a bit after my time (I was a little too old for them when they hit) but if I remember right they had some pretty catchy songs.
I’m not sure what the distinction is. Considering they’re a guitar based band (only one song across their 15 years doesn’t include a guitar), who played live for ages before and after being signed, they seem like a rock ‘n’ roll band to me. In sound they’re probably closer to the Who than the Beatles, and you’d definitely class the Who as a rock act.
As others have said, it’s a label, no more meaningful than “indie” or “alternative”. Nirvana knocked the “King of Pop” off the top of the Billboard charts - surely that makes them a pop(ular) act.
I mean, what did you think “Britpop” sounds like? There’s a widespread take that it’s essentially power-pop; upbeat, bouncy, fun (a la Supergrass’ “Alright” or Blur’s “Boys and Girls”). There’s not much of Oasis’ catalogue that sounds like that.
I know you’re not huge into the Beatles but they certainly started as a rock band (with a bunch of country and western covers and techniques for good measure), before branching out into other styles from Revolver onward. Should the Beatles count as pop? Considering they’re the most popular musical act ever, yes! It’s funny that people would probably not hesitate to call the Stones a rock band, even though their first hit was a Beatles-written song, in the style of Beatles at the time. So a band that started as a rock band, then broadened to take in baroque, vaudeville/music-hall, fuzz metal and noise collages (while still packing in classic rock tracks (Get Back, Something, Come Together)) no longer counts as rock?
My understanding was that “grunge” was seen as a backlash against the excesses of hair metal and corporate rock from the 80s, in much the same way that in theory punk was a backlash and holus bolus rejection of the excesses of prog in the 70s. Enough with the classically trained musicians and orchestral flourishes and 16 minute instrumentals - get back to basics; three chords, three minutes.
Blur certainly lean into pop more than Oasis of the time - sure, if you focus on Song 2 it’s “rock”, but I think of them more as art-school dandies - Boys and Girls, To the end, Charmless man (with the high pitched “na na nas”); not typically rock sounds.
Bush were (from memory) kind of a joke in the UK, since they were initially so clearly aping Nirvana, particularly Gavin’s vocal delivery.
And like pop, alternative is relative - if you listen exclusively to black metal, Dua Lipa is quite an alternative. Radiohead sell out stadia and score top ten albums. That’s quite a sign of popularity. (David’s covered this already.)
(For what it’s worth, Oasis were signed to Creation, one of the great indie labels of the 80s and 90s.)
Oh, there were at least three worse Oasis singles (one before, two after)…
Back on the Oasis as Beatles-cover band accusation, @RonnieM, it’s bunkum. Oasis is pub-rock, meat and potatoes stuff. They of course loved the Beatles (’ hits - Noel grew up with the Red and Blue greatest hits albums, not the full studio works), but didn’t really channel a Beatles sound (if there is a such a thing - Love me do doesn’t sound like Helter Skelter doesn’t sound like Here comes the sun doesn’t sound like For no one) until tracks from the 4th album onward. Oasis didn’t wear matching outfits, they didn’t really experiment musically, they don’t rely on harmonies, and largely had one member songwriter throughout (like the Who) instead of 3.
(You might point to the early haircuts, but that’s just the standard mod-do - see Ian Brown, Johnny Marr, John Squire, etc. before them, and for example Alex Turner after them.)
For the Beatles as rock, I suggest “Act Naturally” for old school country tinged stuff, “Twist and shout” for the classic 50s/60s sound, and Hey Bulldog (Dave Grohl’s fave) for something a bit more late 60s.
For Oasis as rock, I think Headshrinker is a fast, punky number, Hello is a glammy stomper, and The meaning of soul is a short and fast acoustic rocker, with cardboard box drumming. Or, and I’m sure I’ve spruiked it before - F___in’ in the bushes is a drum loop led instrumental, with cod-Led Zep guitar lines. It was deployed well in the film “Snatch” and is one of my 10/10 Oasis tracks.
I never realized The Beatles covered that one. It was originally a Buck Owens song that my grandpa used to sing.