Results! You know, from yesterday… All the excitement of Round Two follows below.
Parklife (Blur) beats Modern Life Is Rubbish (Blur)
Unless something peculiar happens to me in the meantime (joining a weird cult that requires me to denounce all music, for example), I’ll be going to my grave carrying the same soft-spot for Blur I keep with me now. I like to give it a cheeky pat every now and then – just so I can remember the old sensation of caring about a band so much. They were, and are, that rare sort without a weak link, and it’s a sad pair of ears that can’t find in them any sort of pleasure. Modern Life is endlessly satisfying – but Parklife by a nose.
Coming Up (Suede) beats Dog Man Star (Suede)
We can just call this result the shredding of whatever trace of credibility I started out with. I know: 90% of Suede fans will say I’m choosing between the wrong two albums, and probably 99% that Dog Man Star is better than Coming Up. You’ll just have to believe me when I say I very nearly agree and that it’s a bit like choosing between a favorite lunch and a favorite dinner – as long as it results in my eating, what’s the difference?
Definitely Maybe (Oasis) beats (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (Oasis)
The real question is, has Noel Gallagher ever given an interview in which he doesn’t express his own preference for Definitely Maybe over What’s the Story? Possibly once or twice, but the point stands: the first album’s better, and he should know – at that point his infectious pilfering of song ideas was still confined to other bands rather than his own. As Noel also never tires of saying, when they’re good enough who cares? Hard to argue.
Different Class (Pulp) beats His ‘N’ Hers (Pulp)
Ah, that glorious point in time when Jarvis Cocker’s famous eye for the ladies roamed most rampantly in song. Pulp’s halcyon days, when the world outside of Sheffield was kind enough to notice them and before too much introspection started to dull the sharp edge of Cocker’s masterful control of the bicycle pervert wit. Two rollicking good albums. But Different Class it is, on account the aptness of its name.
I Should Coco (Supergrass) beats In It For The Money (Supergrass)
Richard III, Late in the Day, and Going Out off album # 2 all better songs than most other bands ever manage – but it has to be I Should Coco. It’s exactly what new bands should sound like, unless they have one hell of a good reason for not. Breathless, reckless, and always in a rush. A bit like being 18, only with fuzzier guitars, itchy drumming, and much better choruses.
OK Computer (Radiohead) beats The Bends (Radiohead)
The Bends or OK Computer?… bet that’s a question you haven’t heard in at least three and a half days. You can’t say which is it, though – only have a rough preference either way. It’s one of those Elvis or The Beatles type things, isn’t it. Cricket or baseball. Chicken or pork. Blu-Tack or Superglue… Me, I reckon OK Computer improves more with age. But what the hell do I know – am just a guy sitting on a train.
Holy Bible (Manic Street Preachers) beats Everything Must Go (Manic Street Preachers)
As much as Everything Must Go handily dodges the problem of having your chief ‘vibes’ man throw himself off a bridge, doesn’t it just seem a mite too clean next to the furious raggedness of Holy Bible? No, you surely wouldn’t want every album to sound like Richey Manic’s swan-song, but there’ll always be room for this one, right? A lot of angry hectoring, admittedly – yet mostly, at least, wrapped around some killer tunes. Extra credit, too, for the spoken word bits: news archive in popular music form!
On (Echobelly) beats The It Girl (Sleeper)
Or which indie also-ran would I rather sleep with, her out of Echobelly or her out of Sleeper. Not that I’d want to sully this noble exercise with the hot whiff of chauvinism… Actually, no, scratch that: the Echobelly one. Decent set of songs, too…
Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Spiritualized) beats Attack of the Grey Lantern (Mansun)
Unlike a fair few others here, two albums I actually still listen to, albeit, I concede, in the latter’s case because I recently picked it up at the Princeton Record Exchange for a dollar ninety-nine. Both offer something noticeably different to standard Britpop fare, and both, for my money, do so successfully. Can they both win? No – then Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space for ingesting so many drugs in the making of without seeming old hat. Still love the Mansun singer’s voice, though… a more whiney Brett Anderson, only in a good way.
Word Gets Around (Stereophonics) beats 1977 (Ash)
Here I go again, putting myself squarely in the coal-face of ridicule. In the last few years of high school, it really did seem as though all of my friends took 1977 to bed with them every night, kissing, perhaps, the liner notes at the fold. Sorry to say, however, it never quite did it for me. Probably only for the lack of trying, but still… A win by default for the ‘Phonics, then, and a discreet look past the fact they spent the fat part of their career being mind-numbingly dull. Let’s notch it up to Local Boy in the Photograph – aka, when good things happen to bad bands.
Screamadelica (Primal Scream) beats Jollification (Lightning Seeds)
The details are hazy so many years after the fact but my copy of Jollification now belongs to Richard Ward. He always did acquire such things at a rapid rate of knots and I can only presume I was exploited in a moment of economic weakness. Ward probably gave me about two pounds for it, or, just as likely, the bus-fare home one day when my pockets turned out empty. Can’t say I much miss this album, though – even if it slightly lightens my collection of nice, inoffensive pop. Screamadelica, on the other hand, is great – Moving On Up and Come Together, especially, tailor-made for the lifting of unpleasant moods.
The Man Who (Travis) beats Tellin’ Stories (Charlatans)
[Very long pause]. Don’t have a reason. I just don’t. What do you like better, grass or gravel? Who gives a crap, right? Nothing against either band, mind – and As You Are is a pretty decent song, no. No? Okay, next…
Sun Is Often Out (Longpigs) beats Elastica (Elastica)
For Elastica read 1977. I believe you that the punchline is funny, just didn’t hear the set-up… The Sun Is Often Out, however, is one of those albums that never gets old. Though nowadays it can’t help but read like a bare-faced lie, I swear the first thing I looked for in record stores for about two years was the Longpigs’ single On and On. No pun intended, I could listen to that forever – as the Beach Boys once very nearly sung, ‘I don’t know where, but it sends me there.’ More-or-less the best thing you could say about a song, as far as I can see. Guitarist Richard Hawley is great on his own now, as well.
K (Kula Shaker) beats Free Peace Sweet (Dodgy)
There’s no pretending otherwise, Dodgy are here to make up the numbers – easy to think of when you’re compiling an indie music list because they did that one catchy song Good Enough. I did hear their old drummer on a recent Word magazine podcast, though, and he seemed like a nice enough chap. Also, not believe the naysayers, Kula Shaker’s first album is the perfect choice if you like your middling Britpop with a little Indian mysticism and slightly pompous silliness.
Moseley Shoals (Ocean Colour Scene) beats Urban Hymns (Verve)
Mike Scott and me often used to joke about the Verve song Neon Wilderness, focusing mostly on the fact it’s one almighty pile of wank. Seriously. Have two minutes and thirty-eight seconds ever felt more like nine and three-quarter hours? Sure, the Verve (or Verve, or whatever it is they call themselves) had some decent tracks, as well, but their’s, surely, was a barrel often scraped. As for Ocean Colour Scene, I was always convinced they were so-named in order to be shelved as close as possible to Oasis. Still think I might be right on that front – but, either way, their most well-known album has its moments. About six, which would be one worse if it were five.
Showbiz (Muse) beats Bring It On (Gomez)
I do have a fun memory of listening to Gomez at the Leeds Festival prone and surrounded by the thick fog of marijuana smoke (not inhaling, obviously, because that’s illegal and dangerous), but I can’t claim anything similar hearing them at home. Muse were the source of a fine festival moment, too, when we all peered through honcho hoods and lashing rain at Matt Bellemy upping the trickiness of his guitar solo by pirouetting on the spot. That’s a little better when I think about it now and so, I guess, is Showbiz. Second song Muscle Museum, indeed, a lovely, wretched bit of screeching.
Shit, I’m tired. Here’s Round Two (drawn, you’ll be assured to know, completely at random):
Till next time… (Tomorrow.)