Topic D, Part 5: Cool Britannia

I’m glad Miss Imperial brought up Britpop’s “indie” angle, because it seems to me that today’s “indie” scene bears many similarities to that pop explosion of a decade ago, in terms of trajectory. I’m grateful, too, for the input of our reader/guest poster, who succinctly and perfectly made the distinction between honest-to-god DIY indie and contemporary “indie rock.” A true independent aesthetic still exists in the practice of thousands of amazing and determined bands, of course, but its heyday as a movement might have died with hardcore and (the original incarnation of) SST Records.

At its height, Britpop was inescapable (in Britain, obviously, but also in certain circles in North America, where even a cursory knowledge of Anglopopculture was an easy way to appear au courant, and required far less personal discipline than certain other options). It began in garages and basements, but evolved to take its place in the boardroom. It was, for a time, the face and sound of young Britain, a movement that told its elders Move aside, we’re making ourselves comfortable, and it soon found itself catered to in print ads, TV commercials, films, etc. And eventually, when its pretensions and aspirations outsized its inherent capacity for self-deprecation, modesty, intimacy and the initial rawness that defined much of its appeal (that is, when the bands decided they were artists), it fizzled.

The ubiquity and fractalization of today’s internet complicates the comparison, of course, but I’m still left to wonder: do we have a Blur vs. Oasis corollary? And what happens next?

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