Do you scornfully call popular music the word “pop”? Really, you should not be so categorical. Not everything is bad, which is called the word “pop.” Especially if it is combined with the prefix “brit”.
Britpop is a variety of alternative rock that originated in the UK. It is characterized by melody, a catchy chorus – in the spirit of the famous The Beatles, just in a new round of development. The history of this movement began in the late 80s, when the British thoroughly tired of the fake, artificial pop. Young musicians realized that modern songs lacked sincerity, real feelings and decided that they had to “return to the origins” of English rock and roll – that is, to the good old music of the hip 60s. Listeners liked this idea. A real sensation was the emergence of groups such as Happy Mondays or The Stone Roses from Manchester, who played high-quality rock live with beautiful melodies and non-banal lyrics (their rhythms were quite danceable).
As an independent phenomenon, Britpop finally took shape in the early 90s and began to win music charts with great speed. At that time, a grim grunge reigned in America, and in the UK – techno and indie rock (from the English word independent, “independent”). Britpop contrasted them with a romantic and emphasized old-fashioned attitude, taking as a basis the melodic guitar music of The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who and combining it with the volume and irony of punk music of the late 70’s. Also, the new musical style borrowed something from glam rock (David Bowie, Roxy Music), “mods” (the so-called representatives of the youth subculture of the late 50s – early 60s, who paid special attention to appearance and listening to full volume music from rhythm and blues to ska) and the “new wave” (a common name for different genres of rock music of the late 70s with a characteristic desire for innovation and the development of all kinds of musical technologies). By the way, having returned to the past, Brit-pop musicians did not ignore the fashion of the Beatles era either – they started trying on collarless jackets, plaid jeans, shirt with cuffs and combing their foreheads with bangs.
One of the first heroes of Britpop was the mannered Suede, who released their debut album in 1993. Also in the early 90s appeared Manic Street Preachers and The Verve. But the main success fell on the share of Oasis and Blur, who became real standards of a new musical direction – and the worst enemies-competitors. They fought desperately with each other for the right to be called “new Beatles” and long quarreled in the press. However, the scandals benefited the musicians: the whole of Great Britain followed their war with enthusiasm, and this only fueled interest in the British pop.
The peak of the popularity of the music movement occurred in 1994-95, when the three main Brit pop groups released two albums each: Oasis – “Definitely Maybe” and “(What’s the Story?) Morning Glory”, Blur – “Parklife” and “Great Escape”, Pulp – “His’n’Hers” and “Different Class”. I must say that with the general similarity of the basic concept of creativity, different representatives of Britpop were stylistically very different from each other. For example, the ironic and slightly hooligan Blur and the melancholy intellectuals from Radiohead created experimental music, sometimes bordering on art rock, and expressive, sometimes rude, but lyrical Oasis were closer to hard rock sound.
Despite the fact that the style originated within an independent, alternative rock culture, Britpop was a commercially successful movement, and catchy catchy songs were very popular. Moreover, representatives of this trend brought the idea of a “rock star” back to life: in many respects, the success of the groups was built on the personal charm and charisma of their leaders, whether they were Noel brothers and Liam Gallagher from Oasis or Damon Albarn from Blur. Gradually, the “British wave” reached the countries of the former USSR. On its crest, for example, Latvians Brainstorm famously swept with the hit “Maybe”. And in Russia, elements of Britpop were used by such groups as Oedipus Complex, Animated Films, Biplane, Dream, Tonight, Underwood.
What happened to the movement now? Many critics believe that he died quietly and peacefully: live music turned into a commercial product, and his sincere desire to revive rock and roll into a battle for first places in the charts. In 2003, the UK released the documentary film “Live Forever” (“Live Forever” is the name of one of the songs of the Oasis group), which tells about the culture of Britpop. His heroes were Blur, Oasis, Pulp and other stars of this direction. I must admit that now they look a little tired of the frenzied success of the 90s …
With the beginning of the new century, the popularity of this musical style seems to have waned. But several years passed – and now the British bands Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Coldplay, Travis, Muse again storm the world charts.