ALBUM REVIEW: Britpop at the BBC
It’s been 20 years since Britpop captured the imagination of the music media and fed-up teenagers across the country, and following BBC Radio 2’s recently-celebrated anniversary of the era, they have assembled a compilation of tracks (how 90s eh?)
By 1993, the baggy beats of Madchester were well and truly dead and the Nirvana-led grunge scene from America was becoming, well, quite tiresome for many British kids.
From that vacuum came a host of new bands ready to take back the charts, shift countless numbers of live gig tickets, and make their indelible mark on modern culture.
These CDs touch on those bands from the early front runners like Suede, to Britpop’s top trio of Pulp, Blur and of course, Oasis.
We all know about the big three, and there’s a good chance that if you ever wore collarless Topman shirts and white jeans in the 90s, then you’ll have a copy of Parklife or What’s The Story Morning Glory lurking at the bottom of your dusty CD rack anyway.
It’s the other tunes on here that are likely to stop you in your tracks, the diamonds in the rough from bands who perhaps were not worthy of buying their full albums from Our Price back in ‘95.
The likes of the Boo Radleys, Cast, Longpigs, Shed Seven, Kula Shaker, The Wannadies and Mansun.
It was also the time that girls picked up guitars as well, with Sleeper, Elastica, Echobelly and even Lush (remember them?!) all making an appearance.
But while this an undoubted list of top tracks to make you want to grow your hair into curtains again and crack open a can of Red Stripe, there are a lot bands here who were never actually part of Britpop.
Included is The La’s ‘There She Goes’ - still an incredible Mersey-tinged timeless tune, but the band imploded before Britpop was ever coined (the fact that The La’s bass player John Power was fronting pure Britpop band, Cast, a year later tells you this).
Other questionable inclusions are New Order and The Charlatans two bands who made their name long before the mid 90s, while The Verve fulfilled their potential during the ‘Cool Britannia’ era, which rose out of the ashes of Britpop in around 1997.
To be purely pedantic, this three CD collection also claims to be ‘Britpop At The BBC’, when only the third, 14-track CD actually has live versions played live at the Beeb.
The first two CDs are simply studio tracks, and if like me you have many of these bands’ albums already - or still have a collection of those ‘Shine’ or ‘Untitled’ compilations released every few months in the 1990s - it hardly seems worth a buy.
Not even a close up photo of Noel’s custom-made Union Jack Epiphone Sheraton stretching across the tri-fold digipak is enough to convince me.
It’s perhaps a solid starting point for anyone who wants an introduction to the Britpop era, but to anyone who lived through it and wants to reminisce, simply dig out your old TDK 90 tapes from the box in the loft, pop on your circular shades, and mime along in front of the mirror with your arms behind your back.