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10 More of the best Albums of the 90s, in no particular order


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Is it really Britpop, though?

10 more (ish) of the best albums of the Britpop 1990s – You might not think some of these are Britpop, and they might not be, but look it’s just music I like, OK?

With that being said, here are another 10 of the best albums of the 1990s.

Suede – Coming Up

Although they were undoubtedly a Britpop band, I don’t think of them that way for some reason and didn’t include them in my top 10 Brit albums of the 90s- like Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp, they had some great singles but I just wouldn’t want to commit to a whole hour of it. Early hype helped kick start the 90s guitar band boom, Brett Anderson’s nasal pseudo-Bowie posing, personnel changes and a US name-change to The London Suede (for legal reasons) meant that they never quite went mega like Oasis or their rivals Blur. At one point Justine Frischman (Damon Albarn’s on-off girlfriend and member of fellow notoriously rubbish Britband Elastica) was also in Suede, thus illustrating just how incestuous this scene was.

Lead track “Beautiful Ones” is a typical bit of Britpop social commentary, lyrics referencing an infamous science experiment modelling civilisation in rat populations in which the rats who were given an easy life with nothing meaningful to do eventually turned gay, gave up breeding or developed deviant behaviour and sat around grooming themselves all day until the entire colony died out. I think about this a lot.

Jamiroquai –
Travelling Without Moving

Jay Kay’s outfit were almost the anti-Blur, being defiantly born out of black and world music and the acid jazz scene of the time rather than the usual turgid white influences – alhough Kay also went to school in Colchester at the same time as Albarn, he attended the boys grammar school and not the bog standard Sixth Form I went to. Like Albarn, however, he pissed off to London as soon as he could and was known as something of an eccentric there for a time before making it big in the pop world with Jamiroquai (the word is robbed from the name of a native American tribe. Interesting, that!).

With first album “Emergency on Planet Earth” Kay was an early jumper on the eco-warrior bandwagon, even writing an essay on activism in the sleeve of the CD, but after a solid second album he performed an epic about-face and became a bona-fide Lamborghini racing millionaire playboy of the most egregious kind. The sleeve of Travelling even depicts the band’s “Space Cowboy” logo as the badge on the grille of a Ferrari. The music more than backed up the bluster, however, with the band producing a string of solid-gold funk hits and equally inspired, MTV-friendly videos to go with them.

Jamiroquai was always a dance-friendly proposition, and the bonus disc of remixes that comes with certain editions of their Greatest Hits has aged equally well as anything here, with Roger Sanchez’ sped-up Space Cowboy (from the record prior to this) being a particular highlight.

Hefner – We Love The City

Alongside Belle & Sebastian, London’s Hefner were the most ramshackle of John Peel bands, their rather thin sound originating from having to carry all their gear to gigs on the tube. Their sound complimented perfectly frontman Darren Hayman’s reedy tones, but they really got it together on this album which also showcases a Dexy’s influence and non-stop catchy tunes about fucking and socialism (fashionable at the time) – Hayman was something of a rabid lefty, and there’s even a song here about wishing for Maggie Thatcher to die. It’s pretty rockin’ if you can look past the ill-will towards someone who is now actually dead for real.

Gene – Drawn to The Deep End

Gene were to The Smiths as Oasis were to The Beatles, frontman Martin Rossiter’s voice being basically a Morrissey tribute, with the saving grace being that the tunes here are at least the equal of anything Mozza was doing in this period. Where Are They Now is particularly affecting, but there are a lot of good ones.

Strangelove – Strangelove

Too weird to be a real Top of The Pops hit, Strangelove is like Pablo Honey era Radiohead if they were off their meds. Opening track “Living With The Human Machines” is basically a 5 minute panic attack, and their singles also had some enjoyable B-sides.

Remember singles? Remember B-sides???

Paul Weller – Stanley Road

Weller was already a veteran of 70s punks the jam and 80s soul-pop pretenders the Style Council, so he deserves to be here for longevity if nothing else. Heavy Soul and Wild Wood emphasised different sides of his sound, but Stanley Road, with its Peter Blake cover art, is perhaps his most consistent. He’s also the only solo artist on this list except a certain Mr Bowie. Out of style when the 90s began, Weller was championed by Oasis, produced a fine album with 1993s Wild Wood and then topped it with another key effort (this one), although all his work from that time really holds up. Members of Ocean Colour scene appeared in his backing band and on record – another key Britpop act that I just never really got into, but a great singles band for sure.

Ocean Colour Scene: Not Paul Weller.

Theaudience – Theaudience

Putting the pop into Britpop, Theaudience was fronted by a then-unknown 18 year old girl called Sophie Ellis-Bextor, the posh daughter of a former Blue Peter presenter. They did (however) have something of an edge, the songs being written by one Billy Reeves who later left the band before a second album could be completed and apparently went a bit mental. An entire second LP worth of stuff leaked online years later, and showed that it’s a shame they never did more. Bextor went on to have a glamtastic disco solo career and famously beat Posh Spice out of having a number one single.

Another self titled-album! Britpop seems to have had many of them.

Crowded House – Woodface

The House were never britpop, being from New Zealand, but I’ve included them here as Woodface is just such a good album it deserves to be mentioned alongside other guitar music of that time. Also, New Zealand Pop was never really a thing, so they never normally get to appear on any lists. I’m putting that right. Sorry, New Zealand.

Look, I just made this list up off the top of my head, alright? It doesn’t have to make sense.

Seafood – When do We Start Fighting

Yes, I know it came out in 2001. Seafood’s post-grunge sound just seems to fit so well with a lot of the other stuff on this list… not quite belonging to the 2000s indie revival that started with The Strokes, but not quite a Britpop record either… as I say I’ve included it here because I like it. Not that I’ve run out of ideas, but I want to compile another list of Shoegazing / Dream Pop records from that time for another piece, so I’m deliberately leaving out the likes of Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and others from here. In case you were wondering where they are. So there’s that.

David Bowie – Earthling

Bowie made some fascinating work in the 90s, being pretty much free to do whatever he wanted by that point, but nothing defined the Britpop “aesthetic” (if such a thing existed) more than the iconic cover to Earthling (1995). It’s a pretty solid album, too, full of guitars turned up to 11 and little 90s techno touches that point to where music was going as much as where Bowie was coming from.

Next time: American Jazz rock of the 1970s.

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