The rise and fall of Britpop

By Sergio Ariza

1995 was the official year of Britpop, the NME and the rest of British music magazines always willing to take anyone for a ride  (mainly if it’s on a scooter) they rubbed their eyes and never stopped selling samples thanks to the re-edition of the stupidest question ever asked: ‘Beatles or Stones?’ that in 1995 became ‘Oasis or Blur?’   

That nonsense had a clear winner, the British press...but if we’re talking music we must say that the scale slid to the Gallagher brothers side, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? was much better than The Great Escape and besides the Mancunians had kept an ace up their sleeve (ok, 5 or 6) in the form of a song that opened the door to their success in the U.S.A.. Wonderwall was basically checkmate, assuring that a British rock band would once again enjoy success in the great Meca of show business. The record deserves all the praise it received, putting it up there with the splendid debut Definitely Maybe, but reaching farther thanks to the inclusion of half tempos as in the aforementioned Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back in Anger, Cast No Shadow and Champagne Supernova where they are accompanied by Modfather Paul Weller himself,  which add up to the effervescent Roll with It, Hello, Morning Glory, and the best of all, the glorious  Some Might Say, in which Noel Gallagher sets aside his red Epiphone Riviera for a ‘67 Firebird. However, as throughout his whole  career, he stands out as more of a composer than guitarist, although he’s a better rhythm guitarist than soloist.    

At any rate 1995 and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? were at once the epitome and start of the decline of the movement. Oasis never released a record as brilliant, blinded by their own success, the band would deliver a self satisfying third record, Be Here Now that would be a sharp drop from their previous efforts. Blur got away from Britpop and set their sights on the American alternative scene, showing the intelligence of Damon Albarn who saw that the cow had been milked  to death. On the other hand, Jarvis Cocker faded away with Scott Walker and Supergrass and Elastica never regained the shine of their debut. 

Few groups though can boast about their first 2 records as the Gallagher brothers can. Maybe everything that came after was all downhill but a very few, and much less after the 90s, have reached the levels they did. It may be that Noel Gallagher is no guitar virtuoso, but most guitarists would change their technique for a chance to write songs as great as Wonderwall, Some Might Say or Don’t Look Back in Anger, a song so good the people of Manchester started singing it as homage to the victims of the terrorist attack on the 22nd of May 2017.  

(Images: ©CordonPress)