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5 4 Friday - Brit Pop

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:05 pm    Post subject: 5 4 Friday - Brit Pop Reply with quote

I clicked the Brit Pop genre link at and discovered a bunch of cool tunes that I missed during the mid-nineties.

Parklife - Blur

As Oasis was to The Beatles, Blur was to the Kinks. Parklife opens with a glam rock riff and the sound of a bottle breaking, but the vocal sounds like Ray Davies somewhere between Dead End Street and Low Budget.

Girl From Mars - Ash

Girl From Mars features distortion so harsh that it's mostly noise, but the trick is used sparingly over an incessant groove that buzzes harder than Jimmy Page. The guitar solo is actually mixed under the groove. This combination of gimmicks could get old in a hurry, but for a once off this is a distinctive song that sticks in the memory.

Common People - Pulp

Jarvis Cocker makes Ray Davies' unflattering portraits of the elite look like good clean fun in a song that lays bare the gap between classes in England while eloquently painting a picture of poverty's desperation.

Ladykillers - Lush

Lush might have been inspired by Elastica, but Elastica was never sober long enough to produce something this good. The start-stop gimmick stands out at first listen, but the great, knowing lyrics and incessant groove keep this from getting as tiresome as Elastica's Connection.

Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve

The Verve is listed among Britpop bands in several places, but this particular song reminds me more of the shoegazers. It doesn't have loud, glam rock style hooks and the lyrics aren't as literal as the other songs listed above. Nonetheless, the symphonic loop based on The Last Time by the Rolling Stones mixed with late seventies synthesizer effects creates a rich background that makes this song positively addictive.


"Here we go, I'm hanging out in camden
Drinking with my girlfriends on a saturday night
This guy says, 'come and meet my girlfriend'
She's sitting in the corner looking rather uptight

So I say 'hello' and I try to be nice
But I see hes feeling itchy
Trying to play us off each other
'girls, girls, please don't fight'
(you get the picture)"

- Lush, Ladykillers
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And before there was Brit Pop...

She Bangs The Drums - The Stone Roses

Peter Gunn theme meets U2 meets New Wave to become patient zero.

The Only One I Know - The Charlatans

The pounding organ sounds like an homage to The Spencer Davis Group, but this song also features great psychedelic guitar and a nifty bass break.

Sproston Green - The Charlatans

Thunderous riffs and keyboard breaks immediately suggest Baba O'Riley by The Who, but this thumper delivers enough fresh inspiration to become a classic in it's own right.

Laid - James

This retro rocker updates Dylan and folk rock with a modern sheen and some over-the-top Ricola-esque yodeling. Incessantly playful rather than melodramatically self-pitying, bitter, and resentful.

Metal Mickey - Suede

Glam rock for the nineties - harder, slicker, and more over-the-top, like Ziggy Stardust on steroids.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More from the Brit Pop vein...

All Around the World - Oasis

Before this was stripped down to the most annoying "jingle" in recent memory, it was Oasis' version of "Hey Jude." I was listening with headphones one day when I heard trippy guitars sneaking behind the main acoustic riff leading into a punchy, crunchy song that ultimately went on and on through a slowly swelling "rave up" finish. The fact that I hadn't immediately identified the song led me to actually listen to it for the first time. (Link above is truncated video version - album version is 9:19)

One to Another - Charlatans

Blistering guitars crunch and soar over a driving piano bassline. This is what heavy metal should have become: The Rolling Stones' sensibility applied with guitar god firepower, like Bon Scott vintage AC/DC brought forward into the later nineties. Turn this one up to 11!

Country House - Blur

The countryside of Ray Davies' "Sunny Afternoon" has been invaded by nouveau riche, new age wimps in Damon Albarn's sketch of British country living. Albarn said the song was inspired by the ex-manager, though ironically Albarn's chief Brit Pop rival, Noel Gallagher, also took his wealth to the country a few years later. "Country House" won the famous "Battle of Brit Pop", beating out Oasis' "Roll With It", which was a weaker offering anyway.

Just - Radiohead

I liked "Creep" the first time I heard it. I didn't even know what it was called. I went down to the record store, where I'd heard the music years before, er the CD store that had brought back listening to music before you bought it as a last desperate gasp to try to salvage their business model, and popped in the only Radiohead they had, "The Bends." I flipped through each song looking for "Creep" and was disappointed that I didn't find it. I never listened to any other Radiohead until a couple of weeks ago, having picked up "Creep" on an MTV Buzz Bin compilation. Now I'm a believer, to the point where I almost made this an all-Radiohead list. "Just" is one of their more accessible tunes, but there is plenty to recommend from both "The Bends" and follow up "OK Computer."

You're In A Bad Way - Saint Etienne

This is an embarrassing selection, but this silly, happy, sad, ominous, and catchy tune has wormed it's way into my head and it won't leave. It's like supermarket music for a life (not mine, thankfully) gone horribly wrong.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little late for the weekend...

The Bends - Radiohead

At first listen, "The Bends" seems like Radiohead playing anthem rock by numbers, somewhere between Ziggy Bowie and Boston. Radiohead's more atmospheric numbers like "Fake Plastic Trees" are so strong and so uniquely Radiohead that one sometimes brushes past their more conventional sounding fare. It was probably on my fourth or fifth listen that I began to notice bits and pieces woven into "The Bends" that made it a compelling song. Think of it as a hard rock atmospheric. I'll bet most hard rock bands wish they had something this good in their catalog.

Lucky - Radiohead

Atmospheric Radiohead with a heavy psychedelic overlay. Not immediately catchy, but another song that becomes more valuable with each listen and never seems to get old.

Lucky Man - The Verve

Another keeper from The Verve's "Urban Hymns" album. A solid song made special by wonderful touches from the seventies era sound effects to the violin, electric organ, and synth washes that deepen the background. I'm starting to wonder if this song isn't better than "Bittersweet Symphony" from the same album.

Just When You're Thinking Things Over - The Charlatans

Reminiscent of "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones, which is fitting since The Charlatans could be considered the Rolling Stones to Oasis' Beatles and Blur's Kinks.

Uniform - Inspiral Carpets

I found the Inspiral Carpets swirling keyboards and techno tendancies offputting on "This Is How It Feels", but here the Carpets have relegated their synthesizers to a supporting role, like J. Geils circa "Freeze Frame." The Carpets also sprinkle in a catchy little keyboard melody that reminds me of Outkast's "Hey Ya!"

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