Dear John…

***this article is a response to one that appeared in the Independent.Ie on February 8th 2020 written by John Meagher***

Line upon line.

Britpop’s most emblematic year was 1995

Was it really?

If by emblematic you mean the year when lots of records were sold by Blur and Oasis…fair enough.

But the year that “best” represents Britpop is, I would contend, 1994.

Blur blew the bloody doors off with “Parklife”.

Oasis put the doors back on then kicked them in with “Definitely Maybe”.

Pulp used a bobby pin to pick the lock on the doors, slide in without anyone noticing, rifle through your underwear, then snuck back out again with “His ‘n’ Hers”.

This was also the year that saw the label used for the first time.

Some believe the beginnings of Britpop can be traced to the embryonic Blur single ‘Popscene’, but this is the song where it really all began.

Um.

This isn’t a case of some might say.

Britpop begins with “Popscene”.

It really is that simple.

I’m not sure how a bands fourth single can be defined as “embryonic” either.

Blur would be the most significant Britpop band, with songs like ‘Girls and Boys’ and ‘Country House’ capturing the movement at its apex, while ‘The Universal’ seemed to soundtrack its demise.

I think a strong argument could be made that several other bands were as significant as Blur in Britpop; Oasis, Pulp, Suede, Elastica, Supergrass are all as pivotal to the time as Blur were. As for the idea that “Country House” captured anything other than the sound of a band hitting their lowest point…

Oh.

“The Universal” was released in 1995.

“Help the Aged”, by Pulp, wasn’t released until three years later and you said that song was “there at the movement’s end”.

I’m not sure a demise can last for three years can it?

That is a long, slow, painfully drawn out demise if it is.

Jarvis Cocker always loathed the term Britpop

That is only partly true…because Jarvis has had this to say on the topic; “But at the start, I have to admit the idea that these outsider indie bands would become pop bands was exciting.”

On “Great Things” by Echobelly John has this to say…

Echobelly was fronted by Sonya Madan and one of the pluses of Britpop was how it gave voice to female-fronted bands. The best of the lot was Elastica and the band’s singer, Justine Frischmann, was dating Damon Albarn for Britpop’s entire run. In a delicious twist for some, she had been seeing Suede’s Brett Anderson some years before- and in the first volume of his recently published memoir, he noted that the breakup propelled him out of a creative stupor and into writing in earnest.

Nothing about the song.

Nothing about Echobelly.

Just a load of waffle about how a woman in another band can be defined by who she was dating.

Nice.

On Menswe@r…

their resulting music was pedestrian. Remember ‘Daydreamer’? Thought not.

Ah.

This is just so…lazy.

Menswe@r took a lot of criticism at the time for being “chancers” but the truth is that they were a fantastic pop group. Each of their singles was a giddy blast of pop wonder. “Daydreamer” is one of the defining singles of the era…and people really do remember it. Including John Meagher because he included it in this piece.

John is starting to warm up now and here he is with his views on Shed Seven…

They had been around since 1990 and had caused no ripples until they piggy-backed on to the Britpop wagon. There was no shortage of god-awful groups who got a brief look in too, including Embrace.

Have you ever read anything so mean and bitter?

Shed Seven released 15 consecutive top 40 singles between 1994 and 2003…that is a Hell of a ride for a piggy back. It strikes me that if, as John is suggesting, they were simply chancers who got lucky with the arrival of Britpop as a scene that the best they could have hoped for would have been a career like Menswe@r; a handful of singles, an appearance on Top of the Pops, a Melody Maker cover, one album (let’s not talk about the other one) and then gone. But Shed Seven continue to release albums that sell and play sell out shows across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

As for the “god-awful” Embrace…they are also still a hugely popular live act, still record and release music and are adored by a global fan base.

John finishes his list of ten Britpop songs with “Wide Open Space” by Mansun and he has this to say about it…

It’s remarkable how short-lived Britpop was. If it came into being in 1993, it was well on the way out as 1997 wore on. The Spice Girls had arrived and would usher in an era of manufactured pop bands and reality TV. Ghastly rock hopefuls such as Kula Shaker started to get serious airplay.

And the giddiness of the previous few years were replaced by songs that were anxiety-­ridden, not least this catchy, but troubling number from a band that were on Britpop’s periphery. A pre-millennium tension was starting to take hold, Oasis were fracturing and Radiohead were about to release the period’s most important album, the paranoia-filled OK Computer.

OK.

Kula Shaker are “ghastly”.

Fine.

We get it.

John has written an article on music and bands that he actually doesn’t care for, or about, because Supergrass are touring and his editor told him to or because he pitched it knowing that morons like me would bite and he would get clicks.

I know.

I know.

But the idea that “OK Computer” is the period’s most important album is, I am sure we can all agree, the sort of bullshit that has seen people leave traditional media outlets like the one John is writing for and look for outlets where the voices are kinder, better informed, more passionate, not written for money…places like this.

He may well be a better writer than me, he’s certainly a more successful one, but this article is the written equivalent of the insufferable bore you had to sit next to in the sixth form common room who hated any, and every, band who got any sort of success even if he had been hailing them as the best thing in the world thirty seconds before they appeared on the cover of NME.

Or something.