I was chatting to a good friend dog mine Matt Knouff last week about our favorite movements or scenes in music, and which ones we would love to have been involved in. In truth, the decision as to which one you would rather have been involved in is pretty tricky, San Francisco with the hippies in the 60s? Summer of Love in London in ’67? Grunge in Seattle in the 80s and 90s? Perhaps New York for the birth of hip-hop on the 80s? For me, the one scene that I would love to have been involved in was the Britpop explosion in the mid-90s, whilst I was old enough to appreciate the music, it never had quite the same impact over here in the States, as it seemed to in the UK. I decided then, that I would pick me favorite songs from this era, let me know what you think.
Oasis – Live Forever
Of all of the teenage angst themed, stomping indie rock pieces that Oasis put together, this was the song that summed up the scene of Britpop. From the opening lines of ‘Maybe, I don’t really wanna know, how you garden grows, ‘ cos I just wanna fly,’ Noel and Liam Gallagher captured the magic of youth, the disconnection they felt from the ‘oldies’ and the pure and innocent optimism which most young people hold dear. This was a song for the youth then, and it still resonates today.
Pulp – Common People
If Blur and Oasis were the top tier of Britpop, Pulp were right on their heels and when Different Class came out, the face of Britpop changed forever. Common People was the song that thrust Pulp into the limelight and shone a light onto the working class Britain, the heart of the Britpop scene. The story is of a posh girl who wants to experience the lower classes as Jarvis Cocker delightfully reminds us that things are much better at the bottom than the top.
The Verve – Drugs Don’t Work
Lead singer of The Verve Richard Ashcroft was a true poet of his time and this offering about his Mum’s illness and ensuing death, was a true masterpiece of the Britpop generation. Whilst the song may have been jumped on by the youths of the time, as an encouragement to take drugs, the power of the song was never lost on people, even if the meaning was. Few bands came up with powerful songs like The Verve did, and this was their finest piece.
Blur – Boys and Girls
Britpop began from the Manchester scene of the early 90s, so when the London boys Blur came along, they were keen to put their own stamp on it. This offering from Blur, about the hedonism and ridiculousness of the Ibiza party scene, firmly cemented their status as a brilliant British band, and immediately segregated the youths of the day, between themselves and Oasis. A classic song which offers a perfect commentary of life in the 90s.