Although Blur were at the heart of the Britpop scene, guitarist Graham Coxon was never totally enamoured with what was going on and, on one occasion, even called it “fucking dull”.
Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of revisionism about this period following significant anniversaries of classic albums and ‘The Battle of Britpop’ turning 25. That fight between Oasis and Blur was the first time since the days of The Beatles and Stones that rock music returned to the front pages of newspapers, but it was a fight that didn’t particularly interest Coxon.
While he was proud of his achievements with Blur, and the music they recorded together, Coxon never took influence from the rest of the bands they were lumped in with under the umbrella of Britpop. Instead, he found the alternative scene in the States much more exciting as a guitar player and a breath of fresh air compared to what was happening back home.
“I was excited once I figured out where the good music was coming from,” Coxon explained to The Guardian. “And it was from America and from Leftfield. Talking as a guitar player, Britpop for me was dull.”
“It was fucking really dull,” he reiterated. “No one was doing anything interesting with a guitar. Of course, Jonny Greenwood was, Radiohead, but for the majority of it, it was just drongos who were there to back up a female vocalist,” the guitarist said in a not so subtle dig at Sleeper.
Coxon continued: “They’re all jolly nice and totally good on their instruments, but it became a thing and it was very, very boring. For me, people like Sonic Youth, Bikini Kill, Pavement and other small-label punk groups from America – these kids were teenagers, they were playing like they didn’t give a shit and like their life depended on it.”
In truth, many reflect upon Britpop through rose-tinted glasses; perhaps, a lot of the blissful reminiscing upon the period is due to people trying to latch on to their youth rather than the bands from that period reaching a new musical zenith.
Admittedly, Coxon didn’t mince his words by calling it “fucking really dull” however, he was the most inventive guitarist from that so-called movement, and his comments carry weight. Although culturally speaking, there was delirium in the air throughout the hedonism-filled days of the ’90s, Britpop crashed and burned at breakneck speed from a musical standpoint.