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Stylistic origins Alternative rock - Britpop - indie rock - post-grunge
Cultural origins Late 1990s, United Kingdom
Typical instruments Bass - drums - guitar - keyboards- vocals
Mainstream popularity Popular from the late-1990s to the 2010s.
Regional scenes
England - Northern Ireland - Scotland - Wales
Other topics
Cool Britannia - Timeline of alternative rock

Post-Britpop, is a term used to refer to the British alternative rock bands who emerged from the late 1990s and early 2000s in the aftermath of Britpop,[1][2][3][4][5][6] influenced by acts like Oasis and Blur, but with less overtly British concerns in their lyrics and making more use of American rock influences, including post-grunge, as well as experimental music. Post-Britpop bands like The Verve, Radiohead, Travis, Stereophonics, Feeder and particularly Coldplay, achieved much wider international success than most of the Britpop groups that had preceded them, and were some of the most commercially successful acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s.


From about 1997, as dissatisfaction grew with the concept of Cool Britannia and Britpop as a movement began to dissolve, emerging bands began to avoid the Britpop label while still producing music derived from it.[1][7] Many of these bands mixed elements of British traditional rock (or British trad rock),[8] particularly the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Small Faces[5] with American influences, including post-grunge.[9][10] Drawn from across the United Kingdom, the themes of their music tended to be less parochially centred on British, English and London life, and more introspective than had been the case with Britpop at its height.[11][12][13] This, beside a greater willingness to woo the American press and fans, may have helped a number of them in achieving international success.[2] They have been seen as presenting the image of the rock star as an ordinary person and their increasingly melodic music was criticised for being bland or derivative.[14]


Bands that had been enjoyed some success during the mid-1990s, but were not really part of the Britpop scene, included The Verve and Radiohead. After the decline of Britpop they began to gain more critical and popular attention.[1] The Verve's album Urban Hymns (1997) was a worldwide hit and their commercial peak before they broke up in 1999, while Radiohead achieved critical acclaim with their experimental third album OK Computer (1997), and its follow-ups Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001).[15]

The cultural and musical scene in Scotland, dubbed "Cool Caledonia" by some elements of the press,[16] produced a number of successful alternative acts, including The Supernaturals from Glasgow, whose re-released single "Smile" (1997) reached number 25 in the UK charts, and whose album It Doesn't Matter Anymore (1997) entered the top ten, but who failed to sustain their success or achieve the anticipated international breakthrough.[17] Travis, also from Glasgow, were one of the first major rock bands to emerge in the post-Britpop era.[1] Utilising the hooks and guitar rock favoured by Oasis in a song-based format, they moved from the personal on Good Feeling (1997), through the general on their breakthrough The Man Who (1999), to the socially conscious and political on 12 Memories (2003)[18] and have been credited with creating the sub-genre of post-Britpop.[19] From Edinburgh Idlewild, more influenced by post-grunge, just failed to break into the British top 50 with their second album Hope Is Important (1998), but subsequently produced three top twenty albums, peaking with The Remote Part (2002), and the single "You Held the World in Your Arms", which both reached number 9 in the respective UK charts. Although garnering some international attention, they have not yet broken through in the US.[20]

Coldplay, a commercially successful post-Britpop band, on stage in 2008

The first major band to breakthrough from the post-Britpop Welsh rock scene, dubbed "Cool Cymru",[16] were Catatonia, whose single "Mulder and Scully" (1998) reached the top 10 in the UK, and whose album International Velvet (1998) reached number 1, but they were unable to make much impact in the US and, after personal problems, broke up at the end of the century.[6][21] Stereophonics, also from Wales, utilised elements of a post-grunge and hardcore on their breakthrough album Performance and Cocktails (1999), before moving into more melodic territory with Just Enough Education to Perform (2001) and subsequent albums.[22][23] Also from Wales were Feeder, who were initially more influenced by American post-grunge, producing a hard rock sound that led to their breakthrough single "Buck Rogers" and the album Echo Park (2001).[24] After the death of their drummer Jon Lee, they moved to a more reflective and introspective mode on Comfort in Sound (2002), their most commercially successful album to that point, which spawned a series of hit singles.[25]

These acts were followed by a number of bands who shared aspects of their music, including Snow Patrol, from Northern Ireland and Elbow, Embrace, Starsailor, Doves and Keane from England.[1][26] The most commercially successful band in the milieu were Coldplay, whose d├ębut album Parachutes (2000) went multi-platinum and helped make them one of the most popular acts in the world by the time of their second album A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002).[27]

Bands like Coldplay, Starsailor and Elbow, with introspective lyrics and even tempos, began to be criticised at the beginning of the new millennium as bland and sterile[28] and the wave of garage rock or post punk revival bands, like The Hives, The Vines, The Strokes, and The White Stripes, that sprang up in that period were welcomed by the musical press as "the savours of rock and roll".[29] However, a number of the bands of this era, particularly Travis, Stereophonics and Coldplay, continued to record and enjoy commercial success into the new millennium.[10][23][27]


  1. ^ a b c d e J. Harris, Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock (Da Capo Press, 2004), ISBN 0-306-81367-X, pp. 369-70.
  2. ^ a b S. Dowling, "Are we in Britpop's second wave?" BBC News, 19 August 2005, retrieved 2 January 2010.
  3. ^ S. Birke, "Label Profile: Independiente", Independent on Sunday, 11 April 2008, retrieved 2 January 2010.
  4. ^ M. Clutton, "Naration - Not Alone" Music-Zine, retrieved 3 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b A. Petridis, "Roll over Britpop ... it's the rebirth of art rock", The Guardian, 14 February 2004, retrieved 2 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b J. Goodden, "Catatonia - Greatest Hits", BBC Wales, 2 September 2002, retrieved 3 January 2010.
  7. ^ S. Borthwick and R. Moy, Popular Music Genres: an Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004), ISBN 0748617450, p. 188.
  8. ^ "British Trad Rock", Allmusic, retrieved 3 January 2010.
  9. ^ "You Gotta Go There to Come Back, Stereophonics", Allmusic, retrieved 3 January 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Travis", Allmusic, retrieved 3 January 2010.
  11. ^ M. Cloonan, Popular Music and the State in the UK: Culture, Trade or Industry? (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), ISBN 0754653730, p. 21.
  12. ^ A. Begrand, "Travis: The boy with no name", Pop matters, retrieved 2 January 2010.
  13. ^ "Whatever happened to our Rock and Roll", Stylus Magazine, 2002-12-23, retrieved 6 January 2010.
  14. ^ A. Petridis, "And the bland played on",, 26 February 2004, retrieved 2 January 2010.
  15. ^ V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, All Music Guide to Rock: the Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), ISBN 0-87930-653-X, pp. 911 and 1192.
  16. ^ a b S. Hill, Blerwytirhwng?: the Place of Welsh Pop Music (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), ISBN 0754658988, p. 190.
  17. ^ D. Pride, "Global music pulse", Billboard, Aug 22, 1998, 110 (34), p. 41.
  18. ^ V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, All Music Guide to Rock: the Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), ISBN 0-87930-653-X, p. 1157.
  19. ^ S. Ross, "Britpop: rock aint what it used to be", McNeil Tribune, 1/28/03, retrieved 3 December 2010.
  20. ^ J. Ankeny, "Idlewild", Allmusic, retrieved 7 January 2010.
  21. ^ "Catatonia", Allmusic, retrieved 3 January 2010.
  22. ^ V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, All Music Guide to Rock: the Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), ISBN 0-87930-653-X, p. 1076.
  23. ^ a b "Stereophonics", Allmusic, retrieved 3 January 2010.
  24. ^ "Feeder", Allmusic, retrieved 3 December 2010.
  25. ^ "Feeder: Comfort in Sound", Allmusic, retrieved 3 December 2010.
  26. ^ P. Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock (London: Rough Guides, 3rd end., 2003), ISBN 1843531054, pp. 310, 333, 337 and 1003-4.
  27. ^ a b "Coldplay", Allmusic, retrieved 3 December 2010.
  28. ^ M. Roach, This Is It-: the First Biography of the Strokes (London: Omnibus Press, 2003), ISBN 0711996016, pp. 42 and 45.
  29. ^ C. Smith, 101 Albums That Changed Popular Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), ISBN 0195373715, p. 240.


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