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Published on October 15th, 2015 | by AlexandreG.


10 Best Britpop Albums of All Time

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Britpop emerged from the British independent music scene of the early 1990s and was characterized by bands influenced by British guitar pop music of the 1960s and 1970s and indie rock from the 1980s, notably The Smiths. Focused on bands singing in regional British accents and making references to British places and British culture, particularly working-class culture, the movement developed as a reaction against various musical and cultural trends, particularly the grunge phenomenon from the United States.

In the wake of the musical invasion into the United Kingdom of American grunge bands, new British groups such as Suede and Blur launched the movement by positioning themselves as opposing musical forces. These bands were soon joined by others including Oasis, The Verve, Pulp, Supergrass, and Elastica.

The Kinks, Small Faces, Bowie, Syd-era Floyd, British punk, and new wave were referenced and for the first time in decades, The Beatles were talked of as godfathers to it all.

Some of the albums left behind were great, others not so much. But all played their part in the narrative that put British music centre stage, once again 30 years later.

See below what we think are the 10 Best Britpop Albums of All Time:

10 – ‘The La’s’ (The La’s / 1990)

From Liverpool, originally active from 1983 until 1992,  The La’s released their debut album “The La’s” in 1990 to critical acclaim and modest commercial success. It took three years to record the album, on which they worked with several producers.

The second single“There She Goes” was released first in 1988, and again on 2 January 1989, failed to chart.  The remixed version was issued as a single on 22 October 1990 and hit number 13 in the UK charts (and later hit number 49 in the U.S.). It was the biggest success The La’s were ever to enjoy and remains the song for which the band is chiefly remembered. In May 2007, NME magazine placed “There She Goes” at number 45 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.

This album had a great influence on the Britpop movement of the mid-1990s and has been cited as an influence by artists such as Oasis, Paul Weller, The Charlatans, and Travis.

9 – ‘Elastica’ (Elastica / 1995)

Released on 14 March 1995 through Deceptive Records “Elastica” hit No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, becoming, at the time, the fastest-selling debut since Oasis’ “Definitely Maybe” the previous year. The record also did well in the US, peaking at No. 66 on the Billboard Hot 200 and being certified Gold. It was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize along with other Britpop gems like“I Should Coco” and “Definitely Maybe”.

The leader and former Suede guitarist, Justine Frischmann runs the show in this near-forgotten album that was highly influenced by Wire.

8 – ‘Supergrass’ (‘I Should Coco’ / 1995)

Being Buzzcocks, The Jam, Madness, and The Kinks their primary musical influences, Supergrass took this contemporary music and mixed it with pop punk’s characteristic fast, three-chord, guitar-based, catchy tunes to produce a sound uniquely their own. Mick Quinn said, “We listen to a lot of different kinds of music. We’re not a ’60s-revival band! We like things from the ’70s and beyond as well; everything from Sly and the Family Stone and Motown to Frank Black and Tricky.”

“I Should Coco” was released through Parlophone in May 1995, and became the band’s most successful release as it reached number one on the UK Albums Chart. All the five singles taken from the album were well received by the British public. “I Should Coco” was nominated for Best Album at the 1995 Mercury Prize Award, and the single “Alright” from the album won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song.

7 – ‘Blur’ (‘Parklife’ / 1994)

“Parklife” is “Modern Life Is Rubbish’s” older brother – bigger, bolder, narkier, and funnier. After disappointing sales for their previous album, Blur returned to prominence in the UK, helped by its four hit singles: “Girls & Boys”, “End of a Century”, “Parklife” and “To the End”.

Their finest album is all about everyday London life, and America barely took notice of this great pop record. The combination of Albarn’s deft lyricism, Coxon’s inspired fretwork, and the rhythm section of James and Rowntree saw Blur become the band that soundtracked a decade.

6 – ‘Primal Scream’ (‘Screamadelica’ / 1991)

Acknowledged worldwide as one of the best albums of the 1990s, “Screamadelica” has an impact that rivaled that of Nirvana’s “Nevermind”, the other 1991 release that changed rock.

This brilliant and innovative record, so unlike anything the Primal Scream had done before, was the band’s defining record, with the use of timbres and rhythms from the house, reggae dub, industrial dance, and psychedelic music, this album is strongly associated with the nineties rave and ecstasy culture.

The album won the first Mercury Music Prize in 1992 and has now sold 680,000 copies as of September 2011, meaning double platinum.

5 – ‘Suede’ (‘Suede’ / 1993)

Borrowing heavily from David Bowie and The Smiths, Suede forged a distinctively seductive sound on their eponymous album, with Butler and Anderson constantly trying to overcome themselves.

At the time in 1993, “Suede” was the fastest-selling debut album in British history and debuted at the top of the UK Album Chart. It wasn’t only a commercial success but also acclaimed by critics, among various accolades, they won the 1993 Mercury Music Prize.

“Suede” is also often credited with starting the Britpop movement, along with Blur as an opposing musical force.

4 – ‘Urban Hymns’ (‘The Verve’ / 1997)

As of 2015, “Urban Hymns” is ranked the 17th best-selling album in UK chart history and has sold over ten million copies worldwide, driven by the hit singles:  “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, “Lucky Man” and “The Drugs Don’t Work”.

In the years following its release, “Urban Hymns” received much acclaim. In 1998, it won Best British Album at the Brit Awards, it was also shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, and Q magazine readers voted it the 18th greatest album of all time. They were awarded the first ever Q Classic Album award for this album at the 2007 Q Awards. In a 2008 poll, “Urban Hymns” was ranked as the 10th best British album of all time.

3 – ‘A Different Class’ (‘Pulp / 1995)

“Different Class” is the fifth (!) album by Pulp, and became a mega success in all the ways: besides the fact that it reached number 1 in the UK Album Chart, it went platinum four times and won the 1996 Mercury Music Prize. In 2013, NME ranked “Different Class” at number 6 in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

“Common People” and “Disco 2000” helped Pulp to a worldwide fame. In the words of Allmusic critics it “blows away all their previous albums, including the fine His ‘n’ Hers…”, or like Spin told “songs about naughty infidelities, sexless marriages, grown-up teenage crushes, twisted revenge fantasies, obsessive voyeurism and useless raves; songs that demand your full attention and deserve it”. PopMatters goes further saying “Along with Blur’s Parklife, it remains the high point of the Britpop era; music, lyrics, production, artwork, it’s as perfect as it gets.”

2 – ‘The Bends’ (‘Radiohead’ / 1995)

“The Bends” marked the beginning of a shift in the sound identity of the band, with greater use of keyboards, and more abrasive guitar tracks than on their debut “Pablo Honey”.

The album was subject to great critical acclaim and it reached number four in the UK Albums Chart. With five charting singles,  only “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” gave Radiohead their first top five UK hit.

“The Bends” had an influence on the subsequent generation of British pop bands. In 2006, The Observer listed it as one of “the 50 albums that changed music”.

1 – ‘Definitely Maybe’ (‘Oasis’ / 1994)

“Definitely Maybe” was an immediate commercial and critical success in the UK, having followed on the heels of its 5(!) singles: “Supersonic”, “Shakermaker”, “Live Forever”, “Cigarettes and Alcohol” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”, it went straight to number one in the UK Albums Charts on initial release becoming the fastest selling debut album of all time in the UK, being certified 7x Platinum (more than 2.1 million). Years later, the album went on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide and brought widespread critical acclaim.

Oasis’s debut along with Blur’s “Parklife”, helped to spur a revitalization in British pop music in the mid-nineties and today, “Definitely Maybe” is regarded as a seminal record of the Britpop scene, a legacy in which it has been cited as resurrecting interest in British guitar bands. It has since frequently appeared in many ‘greatest’ polls.

Oasis Definitely Maybe Cover Album Wallpaper

Oasis Definitely Maybe Cover Album Wallpaper

Radiohead The Bends Cover Album Wallpaper

Radiohead The Bends Cover Album Wallpaper

Pulp A Different Class Cover Album Wallpaper

Pulp A Different Class Cover Album Wallpaper

The Verve Urban Hymns Cover Album Wallpaper

The Verve Urban Hymns Cover Album Wallpaper

Suede Suede Cover Album Wallpaper

Suede Suede Cover Album Wallpaper

Primal Scream Screamadelica Cover Album Wallpaper

Primal Scream Screamadelica Cover Album Wallpaper

Blur Parklife Cover Album Wallpaper

Blur Parklife Cover Album Wallpaper

Elastica Elastica Cover Album Wallpaper

Elastica Elastica Cover Album Wallpaper

Supergrass I Should Coco Cover Album Wallpaper

Supergrass I Should Coco Cover Album Wallpaper

The La's The La's Cover Album Wallpaper

The La’s The La’s Cover Album Wallpaper

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About the Author

AlexandreG. Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.

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