Hit ParadeSlate

Hit Parade: Champagne Supernova Edition

What was Britpop—a scene, a sound, a movement? What were Oasis and Blur scrapping over? And why was America (mostly) immune?

In the ’90s, U.K. rock was by Britons, for Britons. The music of the U.K. indie, Madchester and shoegaze scenes fused together into a new wave of guitar bands with punk energy, laddish lyrics and danceable grooves. They called it Britpop.

In the motherland, Britpop set the charts alight: Blur faced off against Oasis. Pulp poked fun at the class system. Suede sold androgyny, and Elastica repackaged ’70s art-punk as ’90s pop. But with rare exception, these hits didn’t translate in America. There was no Third British Invasion in the ’90s—with the exception of that one inscrutable Oasis song about a “Wonderwall.”

Why did Britpop fire up Old Blighty and flop with the Yanks? Join Chris Molanphy as he tries to define Britpop—was it a scene? a sound? a movement?—and explains how the music boomed and busted faster than a cannonball.

Podcast production by Kevin Bendis.