If you can remember the ’90s, you have mediocre taste in music. Subtitled “The Best Of Britpop”, this double CD ties in with the John Dower documentary about that media-stoked mirage, Cool Britannia. As Blair morphs into Thatcher and everyone wonders what they saw in the Gallaghers, it’s not a fruitful time to hear this listless stodge. The track listing prompts an inner sigh?Cast, Shed Seven, the supremely flaccid Embrace. No wonder it was piss-easy for The Strokes to clean up with three Blondie riffs. I don’t speak as an old fart, but as someone who’s not deaf.
Of course there are names here who made an impact. Radiohead’s “Street Spirit” catches them before they undertook a self-colonoscopy. Blur had an idea or two, The Verve were competent, Supergrass, in “we are young”, provided a refrain which was the genre’s saving grace. Suede at least boosted sales of Bowie’s back catalogue. But Massive Attack, despite head-in-sand support from critics, never matched “Protection”. The Prodigy were style mags’ version of Korn. Kula Shaker? The Charlatans? Echobelly? Skunk Anansie? C’mon, admit you feel just a little silly you found them somehow interesting… in any other era, even now, these charmless chancers would be laughed out of town.
A few transcend the sludge. Morrissey’s “The More You Ignore Me” is one of his best. Mansun’s “Wide Open Space” houses emotional clout. Pulp are always good for a sneer. “Born Slippy” and “Loaded” are visceral enough. But the woeful Oasis and the meat-and-spuds Manics are only topped for triteness by the risible Robbie Williams. The cheeky chappie gang’s all here?perhaps someone else whose feebleness will be chuckled at within two years, like Hirst or Emin, could be given a hundred grand of our taxes to embalm them. They moved nothing or no-one. We’ve moved on.