Chaff gone, wheat left. (Plus Echobelly.) Onwards we go…
Parklife (Blur) beats I Should Coco (Supergrass)
…And a few years later, my friend Rob Batley’s band supported Supergrass, who in turn once supported Oasis, who’s last drummer was Zak Starkey, the son of a Beatle. That’s almost the same as me having a close personal friendship with Paul McCartney, right? Right?! But seriously… I didn’t go see Batley and his boys that night because it was at Canterbury University’s Summer Ball at which the previous year I had a thoroughly miserable time (even if I did chance upon a ten pound note on the beer-sodden dance floor). At least I saw Supergrass at Glastonbury, where they were their customarily marvelous selves. That, though, still wasn’t a patch on Blur at the Brixton Academy. Take, for example, the last ten seconds of Bank Holiday and the first ten of Badhead. That, there, is a band mighty hard to beat.
Different Class (Pulp) beats Coming Up (Suede)
Close. Closer than close. Closer than you ever could imagine. (Oh, nuts, I’ve lapsed into reciting an old – and crap – Rosie Gaines lyric, haven’t I?) How do you separate Brett from Jarvis, “high on diesel and gasoline” from “if fashion is your trade, then when your naked I guess you must be unemployed”? Imagine, indeed, having to live without such things – the world would suddenly resemble post-war Poland, miserable and grey. Mis-Shapes or Trash? Common People or Beautiful Ones? I’m clearly not equipped to make such a call… Especially, I might add, as Coming Up closes, OK Computer-style, with three of its best songs, a run of 15 minutes or so just about as good as anything Britpop delivered. Here’s the thing, though (my arbitrary tie-breaker), only Pulp’s lead singer presents a weekly radio show on 6-Music. Darn it, I can’t get enough of that, and him, and the band he formerly bestrode.
Holy Bible (Manic Street Preachers) beats On (Echobelly)
[Checks notes.] Ok, so far the Manic Street Preachers have gotten through to the last four of my little competition by beating Echobelly, Kula Shaker and another album by the Manic Street Preachers. Enough is enough: perhaps I should handicap the Welsh threesome in the next round by only considering the relative merits of Revol, a song even the band themselves don’t like. Can’t have them winning this thing through sheer naked luck… I know they’re a good band, but their not that good. (Also, please don’t worry, Sonya Madan out of Echobelly – you’re still the indie front-person I most want to sleep with.)
Sun Is Often Out (Longpigs) beats Definitely Maybe (Oasis)
Mid-90s Oasis: a copycat bunch of gob-shite thugs, or a gang of good-time Charlies saving popular music from the boringness of grunge? Trick question, of course: they were both. It’s a sad shame they never quite took over the world as their early swagger ‘threatened’ – but, ultimately, so what? Pop music doesn’t have to follow an upward trajectory, so long as it’s immediate and thrilling first. Oasis gave us Cigarettes and Alcohol, Live Forever and Slide Away, and that’s more than plenty, right? Plus they sang it like they meant it. “In my mind my dreams are real…” “Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job/When there’s nothing worth working for?…” “I hate the books you read and (!) all your friends…” The Rolling Stones + The Jam + T.Rex – what’s not to like? That said, Sun Is Often Out by the skin of its Sheffield chin.
Well, well, so very close to the end. And I’m still just about finding new things to write – but will I still tomorrow? Here’s Round Four:
Once again, thanks for visiting. See you on the morrow…