Thursday, 15 August 2013

Britpop: a case of mistaken identity?

A friend of mine has started listening to mid-90s NOW! albums in the car. The NOW! series was the epitome of Capital Radio, chart pop. I was surprised then, looking through the track lists, about how much Britpop is on those CDs. I shouldn't have been as Oasis et al scored plenty of Top 40 hits. More than that, you realise (or remember) how these songs fitted very happily alongside boy and girl bands, one hit wonders, and those 'grown up' pop groups that don't really exist anymore, like the Beautiful South.

'Don't Look Back in Anger' isn't a world away from 'Back for Good'; it's a thin dividing line between Supergrass and Hanson. Sure, the boy bands were pushed for a specific female market, but its two sides of the same coin really.


So maybe the angst about Britpop stems from a misunderstanding that it was for the 18 to 24 crowd. Surely, the core record buying public for it were 10-14 year olds and their mums, united by a need of breezy pop you can sing along to in the car.

If it was part of a 'push back' it wasn't against American alt rock or Penman n' Morley era NME, but against dance music (and to a lesser extent hip hop). A handful of sixth formers at my school were into 'serious' dance music or rap. Those were adult music scenes, which a 13 year old couldn't participate in.We all need a gateway drug in, and for most early teens it was never going to be 'Terminator' (although I reckon most of the audience for 'Scatman' or 'I Like to Move It' were kids.)

It IS strange that men in their mid - 20s with art school educations started making singles for children, or magazine editors in their 30s were pushing this stuff. But that is, unfortunately, something of the dark thread running through the British entertainment industry.


Paul Hebron said...

Interestingly about the time Britpop's dying out (although it doesn't really, 'post-Britpop' stuff like Travis were big, I think)the charts start being cluttered with novelty kid-friendly dance-music-based tunes

William said...

Ah well, the REAL hardcore continuum runs something like:

NoLimit->Scatman->I Like to Move It-> I Wanna Be A Hippy-> Renegade Master -> Firestarter -> Mr Ozio -> Barbie Girl-> Efiel 64 -> Crazy Frog

Whatever the cred origins of some of those tunes, all were loved by the under 12s. 'Cause they're all really annoying!

Paul Hebron said...

92ish-2004ish is the bound timeframe of when i was 12 and under, can't help thinking that liking a lot of hi-energy cheesy dance music has left me a bit bereft with pop music, hence why it took a serious attention to start paying attention nearer the 2010s

Paul Hebron said...

Oddly fragmented memories actually, don't think I paid any attention to hip hop or rock in their slightest. R'n'b always seemed to be played at the end of films so I've had a long term association of Aaliyah and being chucked out of a cinema after the Hercules film or something.

How bizarrely melancholy listening to all of this shite is.