It’s Official: These Are the Three Best Britpop Bands


Britpop began in London and was the music of choice for young people in Britain in the 1990s. The attention shifted from American grunge to guitar bands from the UK with bands like Oasis, Blur, Suede, Pulp, and Elastica. But now that we look back, those three bands aren’t always the best Britpop bands.

Oasis and Blur were in a war with the tabloids over who would be number one on the charts. The media portrayed Oasis as working-class people from the north and Blur as middle-class people from the south.

The lead singer of Pulp, Jarvis Cocker, hated the name “Britpop” and was angry about how nationalist it was. Class anger and playful glam were both present in bands like Suede and Pulp.

After that there was Elastica. Almost everything about their self-titled first record is great. The great Justine Frischmann runs the show. She and Brett Anderson co-founded Suede. Frischmann’s ties with Anderson and Blur’s Damon Albarn caused a lot of drama in the Britpop world. The drama hit its silly peak when Albarn came back from a tour of the United States to find Anderson had become the face of a cultural revolution in British music. His career was in shambles.

1. Oasis

Noel Gallagher is the best British singer-songwriter right now. The one-two punch of Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory is almost perfect. Instead of American alt-gloom, Gallagher played “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Supersonic.” While American rock was stuck in its sadness and apathy, “Wonderwall,” “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” and “Champagne Supernova” were written by someone who grew up under council skies and were escape songs for the working class.

Liam Gallagher was one of the best lead singers in rock ‘n’ roll when he was at the top of his game. Thought it was over when Be Here Now came out in 1997. “Lyla” and “The Importance of Being Idle” are on Don’t Believe the Truth (2005). The Masterplan, an album of Oasis’s B-sides, should have been the band’s third studio record. In the end, Oasis was bigger than Britpop.

At a gathering in Manchester to remember the people who died in the 2017 bombing at Manchester Arena, people sang “Don’t Look Back in Anger” without planning to. The spirit of the people was shown by Oasis.

2. Suede

Suede was a big part of replacing Seattle’s “misery loves company” grunge with British snark and wit. Brett Anderson made headlines in 1993 when he was on the cover of Select magazine with the words “Yanks go home!” By 1993, Anderson’s belly had taken the place of dirty plaid shirts. Because of all the fuss about Suede, Daman Albarn formed a new band. The first riff of “Animal Nitrate” by Bernard Butler was a trippy, whirling warning shot. Butler was like Johnny Marr but better.

The way Suede changed things in England was similar to how Nirvana changed things in America. One of the first Britpop records was their self-titled first one. When it first came out in 1993, it was number one in the U.K. At the time, Suede was the best-selling first book in British history. Anderson was good at writing about what it was like to be young in London.

The glitz and glitter of drug society were what he wrote about. He sang, “Let’s Chase the Dragon” on “So Young” about how young people think they can’t be defeated. They fought while working on their second and best record, Dog Man Star. The sub-culture glam of the first record was swapped out for Anderson’s theatrics and drug-fueled solitude. Suede was an example of Englishness without being nationalistic.

3. Blur

Blur’s Parklife is a standout album of 1990s British rock. However, its low-rent voyeurism exemplified the movement’s worst features. In response to Suede’s popularity, Blur, who had developed a reputation for following trends, transformed themselves from baggy Madchester to British ’60s guitar pop. Albarn composed humorous pieces on suburban life. Raging against America’s grunge machine, Englishness was emphasized, and they toyed with mild nationalism.

However, owing to guitarist Graham Coxon, Blur abandoned Britpop and pursued the sound of American indie rock bands such as Pavement. Their outstanding 1997 self-titled album was a significant shift for the band. Damon Albarn was becoming his own man with “Song 2” and “Beetlebum,” Albarn is now justifiably regarded as a superb artist. Blur’s status as the scene’s defining band is the ultimate Britpop irony. However, they had a talent for composing tunes that were quite catchy.

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