First off let me say that Theo Robertson makes a crucially key point in his post below.
While Britpop was a great period for music in the UK, they sure as hell weren't exporting much of it to the US. Bush, The Spice Girls, Elton John, and Radiohead. That's pretty much it. One of the Elastica songs got some minor air time in '95, and Oasis had some so-so hits with Wonderwall and a couple others...but that's it.
As for Blur? Ha. The only Blur song known by the average American is "Song. 2" and that hardly fits into the Britpop mold.
Pulp, Suede, Gene, the Manics, Supergrass...forget it. Anglophiles and transplants were the only people in the US celebrating the Britpop phenomenon at the time.
I even remember listening to a couple of "face-offs" on 91X (influential modern rock station in San Diego) in the summer of '95. This is where the DJ plays two new songs, and callers vote on which is their favorite. The winning song then goes temporarily into rotation.
Anyhow, the two songs I remember being featured were "Common People" by Pulp and "Country House" by Blur. Both songs got obliterated (one by, I believe, a White Zombie song and I can't remember the other). Both actually had listeners calling in and saying how much they hated them and how cheesy and British they sounded.
Just for the record, I called in a voted for both. For "Common People" I think the DJ said something like, "Oh, you're the first for that one."
The 80's on the other hand, were HUGE for British music. Whether it was Duran Duran or The Cure, the early and mid-80's were easily on par with the British invasion of the 60's as far as records sales and popularity goes.
With that said, I was lucky enough to live in London from January '95 through May '95 and if you were IN Britain, well, it was pretty cool. The movie nicely encapsulates the sense of excitement happening in the UK at the time. Every week it seemed like the NME had either Brett Anderson, Damon Albarn or the Gallaghers on the cover (although Richie James of the Manic Street Preachers, who had just gone missing, was probably the second biggest story next to the "Britpop thing").
I personally loved the music...just about all of it...but that's also because I really dig British culture. And that's really what I think Britpop was all about - Brits celebrating being British in their music for the first time (in a mass way, anyway).
The guy from Massive Attack makes a good comment early on in the film which was not only insightful, but also tied his band in with the rest. Essentially he said that prior to the Britpop era, most big name British bands adopted a certain Americanized sound...in most cases with their voices and in their lyrics. He hated doing that and, like Jarvis and Damon and Justine and all the others, instead celebrated being British in his music.
And that, really, is what makes Britpop "Britpop" - it's British Pop music. It's by, about, and for Brits.
Americans didn't get it. Then again, it wasn't for them.
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