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A Look Back at Britpop Landfill

Not one of these bands had the Gallagher brothers talent but it didn't stop the UK music industry rushing to crown them as the new kings of Britpop.

‘Whatever happened to the Kaiser Chiefs?’ is a question that nobody has ever asked. But 10 years ago, due largely to the success of the Arctic Monkeys’ debut Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, we were forced to witness attempts by the UK music industry in reviving Britpop through bands like the Kaiser Chiefs. Of course the industry cashed in and for a moment they actually talked about something other than an Oasis reunion.


It was all a bit self-indulgent and tragic, but not without a classic or two produced over the years. So maybe it is time to ask, how does “Ruby” sound nearly a decade on? And considering no one else is rushing to revisit the also-rans of the British Second Coming, we’re going to take one for the team.

The Kooks

Inside In/Inside Out has some great pop tracks. “Match Box”, “She Moves In Her Own Way”, “See The World” and “Sofa Song” all have that simple song-writing that made The Kinks so successful and the album still sounds like a perfect bridge for any kid making the journey from One Direction to Pavement. Too bad the band banked all their good songs in one LP, because when it came to backing it up, they gave us Konk with lyrics like, “a, b, c, d, e, f and g, oh that reminds me when we were free…” What’s funny is that they seem to know how much their recent material blows, because every setlist is so shamelessly dominated by tracks from Inside In/Inside Out that it’s like they’ve been touring the one album for ten years.

Revisit: "Naïve"

Kaiser Chiefs

“There’s nothing worse than a shit Blur.” While the Gallagher brothers have torn down their share of bands over the years, Liam Gallagher’s infamous assessment of the Kaiser Chiefs for The Sun in 2008 has never been more on point. For while the Kaiser Chiefs think they are a band of the people - they titled their second album, Yours Truly, Angry Mob - their rabble rousing is built on shouting dumb lyrics, which essentially makes them AC/DC without Angus Young. “Oh My God” was once the calling card for soccer hooligans, "I Predict A Riot" and "Ruby" have only become more grating over time and you might have forgotten that one of their songs is unironically called "Na Na Na Na Naa". "Caroline, Yes!" was a cute tip to The Beach Boys, but their career went to shit because when you’re a band that trades on big choruses and you forget how to write them, you are in trouble.


Revisit: "Modern Way"


Jonny Borrell thought he was Doherty and Dylan in one, destined to have the back rows of Wembley Stadium scream his words back at him as he stands in a Jesus pose on stage. If only the talent matched the ego and he could write popular songs. The career of Razorlight was bloated on the PR of Borrell’s boorish swagger, but sticking feathers up your arse does not make you a chicken. He tried to make up for his inability to write a melody by referencing famous writers in his lyrics, probably hoping it’d make him sound cultured and artistic. What a twat.

Revisit: "In The City"

The Wombats

The Wombats are Britpop-lite. Sure they can write a tune, but their self-deprecation is tiring and I’ve always felt Ian Curtis would want to piss on them. Every chorus is a big sing-a-long, every verse is wrapped up in nostalgia or pathos and nearly every song is about being awkward around girls, even though the band have probably shagged half of Merseyside. There’s nothing wrong with good pop music, but The Wombats are The Wiggles for teenagers, releasing the same album and waiting for the next generation of 15-year-olds to latch onto their saccharine brand of teenage frustration.

Revisit: "Moving To New York"

The Fratellis

These cheeky fuckers got famous by singing about getting stoned and sleeping with your younger sister, but whilst Costello Music was a hedonistic audiobook their second album had songs like “Jesus Stole My Baby” and ‘Look Out Sunshine’. No, they didn’t find the good book, they just ran out of ideas. Writing songs about being an arsehole is hard enough to pull off if you’re Lou Reed, let alone some wankers in a Glasgow pub.


Revisit: "Chelsea Dagger"


So Pharrell gets sued by zombie Marvin Gaye, but these guys get away with an entire career of Joy Division b-sides? Five albums of melodrama later and all the faux-angst and bland noir themes sound contrived. Still the trashy SebastiAn remix of “Camera” was a fucking banger.

Revisit: "Munich"