2014 is twenty years since 1994, and if you know anything about 1994, you’ll know it was a pretty darn good year for music in the UK. Both Oasis’ Definitely, Maybe and Blur’s Parklife turn twenty this year, a year where both Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn have put out critically acclaimed solo albums. But, we will always remember Noel for the infamous infighting in Oasis with his brother Liam and Albarn for giving us the “Woo-hoo!” too change all ‘woo-hoos’. So strap in for a trip back to the glory days for a list (very importantly in no particularly order) of some of the best Britpop songs.
10. The Smiths – Girlfriend In A Coma
It’s only proper to start at the beginning, and the beginning is often the ending of something else. The Smiths are listed as a major influence of the rest of the bands that follow this list. This, their last single, marks the passing of the crown to a new era of Britpop greats.
9. Elastica – Stutter
Girl power didn’t truly take over England until a few years later, but Elastica, fronted by ex-Suede guitarist Justine Frischmann, packs a punch. After she was kicked out of Suede because of breaking up with the lead singer, she started her own outfit, and the rest is history.
8. The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
This violin hook will always bring up all the emotions of the ill-fated love of Sebastian and Annette (if you haven’t seen Cruel Intentions, please do), but it was a major hit before its use in the movie two years after its initial release. It’s swoony and always welcome on any playlist all these years later.
7. Echobelly – Insomniac
Britpop had not just one leading lady, but two! Echobelly’s Sonya Madan’s voice bounces over this bass heavy track that is more than just on par with the other hits of the day.
6. Supergrass – Alright
Again, most Americans might recognize this as the soundtrack to the taking of “the picture” that would complicate every romantic set-up in Clueless — that and the fact that its perfect catchiness put Supergrass on international hit level.
5. Suede – Animal Nitrate
Probably one of the most famous names associated with Britpop, Suede truly put the movement into popular culture when their self-title debut won the Mercury Prize in 1993, with this track reaching #7 in the UK charts.
4. Pulp – Common People
Different Class is a massive album, and this first single is a great representation of just how big it is. Jarvis Cocker, even pre-big glasses wearing period, is a powerful front man and songwriter, and this song is the full illustration of that.
3. Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger
No one really needs to hear “Wonderwall” again, so this one makes the list. Big guitars, big eyebrows and a big redefinition of brotherly love made Oasis household names across the world. Still making music and selling out concert tours in the UK, I can’t imagine they’re looking back in anger about anything.
2. Blur – Parklife
This is the best talk-sing song of all time. The speaking, done by actor Phil Daniels, made the song stand out from the rest, winning awards all through 1995. Extra points if you can speak along with him.
1. Franz Ferdinand – Mis-shapes (Pulp Cover)
Here, we end with a new beginning. Ten years after 1994 Franz Ferdinand would burst on the scene ushering in an era Neo-Britpop if you will. Franz Ferdinand and their other British compatriots are indebted to the bands above and have shown their appreciation by covering another Different Class classic in the BBC Live Lounge.