Review Summary: For Tomorrow: A Guide to Contemporary British Music, 1988-2013 (Part 29)
Attach a buzzword to a scene and you basically guarantee its doom. Genre tags have to evolve naturally, try to just shove something in there to make for a snappy headline and the host will reject it. With the compression of media already underway the 90s saw the rise and fall of hip-house, trip-hop, electronica, and Britpop (For a modern example: PBR&B). By 1997, everyone had had enough of Britpop. Oasis’ bungled marketing campaign for Be Here Now
and their unavoidable singles ensured that everyone was ready to put this genre 6 feet under and get on with the hangover already.
Without further ado, I proudly present Supergrass with the “Didn’t Get the Memo” Award for releasing possibly the last great Britpop album, 1997’s In It For the Money
. And it’s a fitting way to send off the genre’s golden years, a tight explosion of killer melodies and crisp production.
After kicking the scene in with 1994’s 2 minute rocket ship “Caught by the Fuzz”, Supergrass hit paydirt in their home country with 95’s I Should Coco
and that album’s omnipresent smash hit “Alright”. But what bumps the band above their Britpop peers is their adventurous spirit. In It for the Money
veers from glam to pub rock to jazz in a small handful of tracks. The final song, “Sometimes I Make You Sad”, sounds unlike any other Britpop song, an almost abrasive combination of loudly mixed grunts and circus organ giving way to an absurd sitar solo bridge. But Supergrass’ strength is making ultra compressed pop music for when life is going so well you feel like your brain is going to melt into your throat. “Richard III”, “Sun Hits the Sky”, and “Cheapskate” are all 50 million watts of fun, songs that will win you over instantly. At a rapid fire 43 minutes In It for the Money
is a quick moving monster, even leaner than the band’s debut.
Although it fell one position shy of their debut on the album charts, In It for the Money
proved to be another big success for Supergrass. Alas, it wasn’t enough to elongate Britpop dominance as the genre continued to fatigue as more and more of its premier acts jumped ship.