Jun 13

Friday Poll Special – The Great Britpop Sorting Hat!

FT215 comments • 9,522 views

We are now firmly into the BRITPOP YEARS on Popular, oh yes, so it’s time to consider its musical legacy in the only language we truly understand, viz. a ticky-box poll.

We have selected 32 bands who someone, somewhere, might possibly have once described as Britpop. Tick all the ones you like and by science we will be able to finally, once and for all, define terms like “Britpop D-List” and “second divison Britpop”. Isn’t that a noble endeavour? I thought so.

Which of these Britpop bands were Any Good At All?

  • Pulp 70%
  • Blur 64%
  • Kenickie 53%
  • Suede 52%
  • Supergrass 48%
  • Elastica 47%
  • Super Furry Animals 44%
  • Ash 43%
  • The Divine Comedy 39%
  • Oasis 35%
  • Boo Radleys 30%
  • Lush 30%
  • Bluetones 28%
  • Catatonia 25%
  • Mansun 24%
  • Sleeper 24%
  • Black Grape 23%
  • Lightning Seeds 21%
  • Gene 21%
  • Longpigs 19%
  • Echobelly 18%
  • Shed Seven 16%
  • Space 14%
  • Ocean Colour Scene 14%
  • WELLER 14%
  • Kula Shaker 13%
  • Cast 11%
  • Menswear 11%
  • My Life Story 11%
  • Marion 8%
  • Seahorses 8%
  • Northern Uproar 3%

Total Voters: 1,496

Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 1
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    (I’ll take this out of the Popular section next time put a proper post up…)

  2. 2
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    The problem is the oddities: Lush were good pre-Britpop, but were a shit Britpop band. I feel similar about Lightning Seeds who were also good after Britpop (the album from three or four years ago, Four Winds, is lovely). And then there are groups who, Nuggets-like, really did have one or two brilliant songs (Inbetweener is still one of my favourite Britpop-era singles).

    And why no Saint Etienne, who – as Bob is happy to remind people – were one of the original Select Britpop names (as were the Auteurs, no?).

  3. 3
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Actually, Bob and I were trying at a Rod Stewart gig the other week to work out the point at which Elastica stopped being New Wave of New Wave and became Britpop.

  4. 4
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    I didn’t vote for Lush on those grounds but did vote for the Boo Radleys (whose Britpop stuff I hated) so no consistency from me.

    The Select names were (from memory) Suede, Pulp, Denim, Auteurs, St Et, Cud… so we’ve left plenty off. I had “1995-6” – the summers of Britpop – in mind as a criteria, basically. The only thing Saint Etienne put out – correct me if I’m wrong, Bob! – was “He’s On The Phone” which would be very marginal BP.

  5. 5
    punctum on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Wot no Auteurs or Denim? Not to mention Stereolab.

    FWIW I will probably spend the bulk of this weekend writing a blog post about WELLER

  6. 6
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    I fear Northern Uproar will not find their fanbase here.

  7. 7
    TriffidFarm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Suede and Denim were the first bands of something resembling this scene that I was introduced to. I inferred that all bands wanting an in would be naming themselves after fabrics, and there would be a land grab to claim any that weren’t taken.

  8. 8
    99centimos on 28 Jun 2013 #

    I’m up for a Nuggets-like Britpop era compilation. Is there any blog/tumblr/resource like that?

    Some of my favorite records of the late-90s were from the fringes of Britpop -“Everything Picture”, “You’re Majesty We Are Here”…

    it’s like record companies were giving idiosyncratic/freakish bands a chance hoping they could turn into the new Pulp or something.

    Also I miss Placebo in the list!

  9. 9
    tm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Blur edging out Pulp? Bloody southerners!

  10. 10
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Gomez is way late! (And very post-BP)

    There may well be a companion “bands I missed” poll. If demanded.

  11. 11
    tm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    No way Placebo or Gomez were Britpop! They were ‘Britpop’s gone shit, let’s try something a little rawer’-late 90’s Lamacq fodder!

  12. 12
    99centimos on 28 Jun 2013 #

    I edited my comment before your answer Tom… In my mind Gomez they were waaay earlier! Quick Wikipedia visit made me realize my mistake.

  13. 13
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Also, Tom, you appear to have misspelled WELL-AH.

  14. 14
    Chelovek na lune on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Yes, exactly what MichaelH said at #2 about Lush. When first out, as a kind of MBV-shoegaze derivative, with complex textures and haunting rhythms and semi-buried vocals, they were pretty stunning. But the less said about their Britpop/hit singles phase, the better really. But I still voted for them on the basis of their first few singles, EPs and albums.

    I didn’t vote for Ocean Colour Scene, despite the B-side of their debut single (the much more ordinary-baggy “Sway”), in 1990 or so, being really rather haunting and worthy of repeated listening. They made up for this lapse of good taste many times over in the majority of subsequent releases.

    I’d say the Lightning Seeds were (more or less) consistently good, but general laddish-football-beeriness period aside (which I guess will be discussed on another occasion here…), didnt’ really think of them as being Britpop. Sure, they got meatier later on, but otherwise they were kind of fragile (the quite quite brilliant and lovely “Pure”, 1989) and closer to (late 80s/early 90s version) New Order, soundwise than major guitar-wielders that make up a substantial proprtion of this list.

  15. 15
    punctum on 28 Jun 2013 #

    I’m a lot more tolerant of late period Lush than most; the Lovelife single B-sides for instance are quite astonishing.

  16. 16
    wichitalineman on 28 Jun 2013 #

    I can understand why most of the names on this list are included, and others excluded, no real issues with it (I presume it means the likes of Rialto and Pimlico are non-league Britpop).

    I did vote for Lush and the Boo Radleys, even though their Britpop-era stuff does little for me. I might be wrong, but didn’t Lush cover Willow’s Song from The Wicker Man and a Vashti Bunyan song in the BP years? Impressive foresight.

    And I voted for Northern Uproar, the Slowdive of Britpop! Rollercoaster still sounds like a terrific single to me, especially if you’re stacking it alongside Daydreamer or Inbetweener. Even their label thought of them as a punchline. When the Forever Heavenly event happened at the South Bank a few years back, NU were pointedly not invited.

    The current issue of Q is about proto-Britpop, which of course no one called it in 91/92. The ’93 Select cover was the moment at which that unnamed thing could have gone overground, but didn’t. Still, it had slightly more traction than Romo. And Pulp obviously did break through eventually.

    Re 4: We certainly felt more affinity with Alex Party in ’95 than most of the groups on this list. Hopefully that came across.

  17. 17
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    #16 and they did a Magnetic Fields cover too, first I’d heard of that band.

    (Similarly, the much-derided Wedding Present were onto Pavement VERY early – a cover of Box Elder on a 1990 cassingle)

  18. 18
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    #16 I rather liked Rialto!

    #17 Yes, the Wedding Present Box Elder cover predated anyone in Britain even having heard of Pavement. Gedge at that point – like Coxon a few years later – was very pointedly turning away from his peers as he tried to find a new direction for his music (Seamonsters must count as one of the least expected and most artistically successful left-turns made by a major UK alt band).

  19. 19
    Steve Mannion on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Dodgy probably the biggest omission here.

    Remind me why the Manics aren’t deemed “worthy” of inclusion again?

  20. 20
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Manics – I ummed and ahhed but, like the Verve and Radiohead, just didn’t feel right.

    Dodgy!! Genuine omission. They actually were on my list and I must have forgotten them. Sorry Dodgy fans.

  21. 21
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    The lowest thing I actually voted for (currently) – poor old My Life Story. “Angel” should certainly be on a Britpop Nuggets.

  22. 22
    TriffidFarm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Rialto are surely too late with their first single to be contenders.

  23. 23
    Steve Mannion on 28 Jun 2013 #

    My personal criteria for this sort of thing is ‘guitar band with a few mid-90s hits’ but I accept that this would undoubtedly lead to a Terrorvision landslide and that might upset the Jarvisans.

  24. 24
    wichitalineman on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Re 22: Well, yes, but the name gives away their intentions.

    Here’s Northern Uproar’s wonderfully timelocked website:


  25. 25
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Dubstar! My list-making skills are woeful.

  26. 26
    wichitalineman on 28 Jun 2013 #

    No, really? I never thought of them as Britpop.

  27. 27
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    They surely pass the “Shine compilation test”. How valid that test is I do not know…

  28. 28
    Chelovek na lune on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Manics surely not Britpop. Not sure I can pin down why not, but not.

    DODGY. Yes! Like Scarlet , winners of that 5-week phone-in demo-tape content on Gary Crowley’s Sunday afternoon GLR show (“The Demo Clash”?). Scarlet really ought to have released their winning track, “Piccadilly In The Rain” as a single: I don’t know that it was ever commercially released anywhere…

  29. 29
    TriffidFarm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    #24, re: http://www.n-uproar.u-net.com

    The discography page suggests that it was last tweaked in 1997, before the final album. I may have been blinded by the gallery wallpaper, but the reviews pages are lovely.

  30. 30
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    At the moment Oasis are out of the first Britpop division and face a potentially humiliating playoff against Kenickie.

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