Brit Rock — Part 2
Well after 5 long months, here I am with the part 2 of this post here. As I mentioned previously, the first batch of the so called Brit Rock era was categorised by a latent need to expose the British lifestyle. The need to boast about drugs/girls to forget the reality: high unemployment rates, failed efforts to stabilise poverty and the political scenery in which the country was, trying to survive what the 80´s have left behind, were mostly the topics seen in music.
As the decade came to an end and the 00´s started, what we could see was lots of bands, inspired by the 90´s but with a very different approach. Yes, they still talked about drugs, girls and very few of them about politics but I could say most of them were more focused on a more tender side of the British rockstar: the sensitive one who wants nothing but love — aka Indie Rock.
Coldplay, Travis and Snow Patrol are big exponents of such. Sadness and heartbreak were the key and I can mention loads of other bands that followed the same path: Keane, Starsailor, Embrace, Doves, Muse, Athlete, the ones that first come to my mind when I think of the 00´s. Some ended up becoming huge worldwide success such as Coldplay and Muse, playing all over the world, but they certainly turned out more mainstream than I´d like them to; Personally I only like the first 3 albums of each, I think they were less pretentious and more true to themselves back then.
Of course there were some bands which sound followed the likes of Oasis, Blur and Pulp, with the intention of having fun, enjoying life and being famous. The only difference is, most of the 00´s bands were sorta artsy, started at university campus/dorms. There wasn´t a need to survive, they knew that if they tried harder and played at the right places, they would reach stardom — the pathway was built already. Keane, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian and Libertines(at some point), Maccabees, Wombats, White Lies, Franz Ferdinand, Razorlight — to mention a few, fit this reality.
Libertines, maybe, is the biggest name of this list due to their tabloid antics. Eventually their drug problems became bigger than their sound and what was supposed to be a long lasting band, got faded to a reunion money grabbing band. Same can be said about Razorlight, such an amazing band that was swallowed by their lead singer, Johnny Borrell, pride. Both bands are even related, as they used to be friends — even have songs written about each other.
The 00´s also started the era of recycling. A revival of the 80´s sound was in vogue from revival festivals to bands, both British and American, recycling 80´s styles creating some sort of new post punk (White Lies, Editors, Killers, Wombats), heavy synthesizers and electronic beats (Klaxons, Metronomy, Lcd Soundsystem, Two Door Cinema Club), new new wave (Arcade Fire in this tragic new album — I know they are Canadian) and also all the fashion that comes along with all of these — eyeliners, lots of colour and funny hair styles.
The playlist I have for you today is what I consider the crème de la crème of the late 90´s/early 00´s — the beginning of British Indie Rock. Of course I left tons of bands out of the list but your homework here is to dig deeper. All these bands have excellent albums which are worth having a more attentive look.
Coldplay — Shiver: Back when MTV Brazil was all about music, there was a show (my favourite btw) called ‘Lado B’, B Side in English, which showed us mortals everything that was beginning to become famous overseas. Coldplay´s Shiver was the video that played the most, along with the other two which got more famous, ‘Yellow’ and ‘Trouble’. Personally, ‘Shiver’ speaks more to me than these other two. The video is another gem, look how young these lads were.
Snow Patrol — Chocolate: Snow Patrol at its finest, off their 2003 and most famous album, ‘Final Straw’, this track is what makes the band what they are — it is happy and sad at the same time, with a very creative narrative, the song actually tells a story, like a musical dialogue — that can also be seen in ‘How To Be Dead’, another one of my favourites, from the same album.
Goodness knows I saw it coming
Or at least I’ll claim I did
But in truth I’m lost for words
What have I done? It’s too late for that
What have I become? Truth is nothing yet
A simple mistake starts the hardest time
I promise I’ll do anything you ask, this time
Razorlight — Golden Touch: It is so frustrating that Razorlight isn´t now as famous as before. This track is off ‘Up all night’, the band´s first and most famous album, a great album I must emphasise: not one song on this album is boring nor bad! It´s good from beginning to end and this song in particular, a very good example of how great, creative and rich musically the 00´s were.
Kaiser Chiefs — I predict a riot: It´s very incredible how a gray, wet and cold city like Leeds gave us such a lively, coloured and happy band like the Kaiser Chiefs. Their first album, from which this track came from, is such a gem! Full of energy and unpretentious fun. It´s nothing but music to have fun having some pints, not taking themselves very seriously but ending up building such a solid carreer. An album to love from beginning to end — ah, also best videos EVER like their most famous track ‘Everyday I love you less and less’.
Hard Fi — Hard To Beat: Their album ‘Stars of CCTV’ is a 00´s classic. Their Blur, Oasis and Clash influence is very visible, especially taking into account their work class background. Their songs talk about suburban topics from parties, girls to youth angst. I strongly recommend their first 2 albums and I dare you listening to this track without dancing.
Franz Ferdinand — Take Me Out: When I think of this band and their style/songs, I picture those university guys who soon get into a band and take themselves so seriously it gets boring. Unfortunately it´s what happened to the band. Their first 2 albums are amazing but from there, something got lost, maybe because they became adults? TMO has some Talking Heads influence and a little bit of Byrne´s quirky traits and creativity but other than that, their lack of personality on following albums/songs didn´t take them further than the first decade of the 00´s. A shame though.
Libertines — Can´t Stand Me Now: I´ve never been a fan but I really enjoy this song. I believe Barat and Doherty work very well together regarding songwriting and jamming but they are sorta toxic to each other, not to mention maybe they also have toxic personas, otherwise both wouldn´t fall in a pit of drugs and self harming behaviour. Doherty went off the rails looking nowhere near he used to look, even took Amy Winehouse together to the same pit from where she, sadly, never came out of. Thankfully nowadays they solved their unfinished businesses and pay their bills touring to nostalgic fans overseas. Nothing new nor groundbreaking though.
I know you lie
I know you lie
I’m still in love with you
Uh oh oh
Editors — Munich & White Lies — To Lose My Life: both bands and styles relive 80´s British post punk, being heavily influenced by Joy Division. The thing is: early 00´s saw a long list of bands drinking from the same source, them two + Interpol, Bravery and Killers, for instance — and let me say, what a mess. All these bands are great but apart from the Killers, is very hard to tell them apart since Editors, White Lies, Interpol and Bravery lead singers share the same tone of voice when singing — channeling Ian Curtis. Despite the voice, the copy cat attitude of some of them (White Lies sometimes go too hard on the Joy Division references), they are all amazing bands and I chose these two songs cause they are great homages to the 80´s, in a modern take, being White Lies the most commercially succesful and still active.
Let’s grow old together and die at the same time
Let’s grow old together and die at the same time
Klaxons — Golden Skans: Another band with a heavy 80´s influence. Along with Empire of the Sun and the duo Hurts, Klaxons are great examples of how to revisit a decade without compromising their identities. ‘Myths of the near future’ is an album which is gold from beginning to end.
The Fratellis — Chelsea Dagger: Another example of a band that didn´t go past the first album in terms of success but it is so good that the legacy goes on forever. A Scottish band which followed the pathway built by Travis and other bands from the same nationality, full of energy and good songs that unfortunatelly didn´t go further. An album worth listening to, especially if you intend to throw a party or passive agressively profess your love to someone you fancy.
Athlete — Wires & There Goes The Fear — Doves: Maybe this is the most mentioned track in my Medium page, lol. Athlete is such an underrated band, they have an amazing set list of songs from first and second albums but never heard of them ever since. Their second album ‘Tourist’ is full of good soothing tunes, this song in particular is super beautiful and talks about a real life situation involving the lead singer and his newborn son back then;
The other track is by Doves who was a very well stablished band who got famous around 2003 and since 2010 are on a hiatus. I love listening to UK radios and their songs still play A LOT despite them not working together anymore. A shame cause the smooth voice + rich melody combination made them such a nice, talented band.
Starsailor — Four To The Floor: Off ‘Silence Is Easy’, another album which is so good you don´t skip a single track whilst listening. The band has a very solid career and they sorta belong to the sensitive/sad/romantic side of 00´s Indie Rock. I personally love their first 2 albums, though their other 2 albums are great as well.
Sterophonics — Maybe Tomorrow: Stereophonics are SO GREAT it was hard to choose one song to fit this playlist. Their albums are great, well produced and they are the most commercially successful Welsh band to date (sorry Manics). Kelly Jones´ hoarse tone of voice and the equally talented musicians involved in the band made Stereophonics one of the best British rock bands ever.
Embrace — Gravity: This song is actually Coldplay´s though never officially recorded by them. Chris Martin gave the band this song and they reached recognition with them, even though they have a vast list of good songs even sorta famous ones, this track is how they are remembered or related to. Most songs are either sad or melancholic=I love it very much thank you.
Travis — Why Does It Always Rain On Me?: How could I talk about Brit Rock 2 aka Indie Rock and not mention Travis? In fact they started late 90´s but only reached commercial recognition in 99/00 with this wonderful happy melancholic song which is off ‘The Man Who’, their mainstream debut and most successful album. I still remember when I got this album, I was 15! An album which is good from beginning to end, in fact their first 4 albums are amazing thoroughly, believe me.
Wombats — Let´s Dance To Joy Division: this band got famous around 2007 cause of this song which is amazing and it describes my whole life, lol. Are they sorta pretentious? yes. Are they solid? not quite. Do you have fun whilst listening to their songs when in a pub/club? yes — so that´s what matters. Actually this song reminds me of a night in Berlin getting totally wasted at this party I don´t know where with a good friend of mine, Daniel.
Let’s dance to joy division
And celebrate the irony
Everything is going wrong
But we’re so happy
Let’s dance to joy division
We raise our glass to the ceiling
’Cause this could all go so wrong
But we’re just so happy
Yeah, we’re so happy
Kasabian — Underdog: I´m probably going to be heavily criticised now but in my opinion, the only band capable of fitting the gap left by Oasis is this one, Kasabian. Firstly because Noel himself love them and is friends with them; Secondly because they have the poor background, love for football, the attitude and the talent. Even when the album is average, is good (see the album 48:13). From their first album to the most current one, they are loyal to their style, not a single flaw spotted — geniuses.
Muse — Muscle Museum: I, myself, am not fan of Muse, I even find them too overrated . This track is from their first album, Showbiz, the only one I truly like BUT I recognise their talent and how stable they are , how talented for a power trio and how ambitious for a British band. They reached worldwide stardom, released several critically aclaimed albums and lots of hits. They have their importance and in a bunch of songs I see some U2 reference (gasp! maybe that´s why I don´t like them), that helped many other bands follow the same pathway.
Keane — Somewhere Only We Know: My favourite sad/melancholic band from the 00´s. The fact they began as a trio, without guitars, is amazing. The combination of Tom Chaplin and the piano made the songs give you a sense of being embraced (the act not the band- tum dum tss), a break from a life of suffering — even though most of the songs are about suffering, lol.Their first 3 albums are amazing, until they decided to insert guitars, which I may say spoiled the band to me. The legacy still lives on Tom Chaplin, lead singer, solo career — which I have talked about a few posts ago.
Arctic Monkeys — I bet you look good on the dancefloor: I almost forgot to put them on the playlist, to be honest. The most successful band of their generation, Alex Turner is very prolific having recorded a couple of successful albums with AM and then heading to solo projects with Miles Kane and back to AM again to their critically acclaimed 2013 album — and back again to Miles Kane. I´m not a fan of the band as I think the only difference between them and other bands is good management, talent itself isn´t very outstanding if compared to other bands from the same time — they were lucky, saw the opportunity and took it — atta boys!
I hope you have enjoyed another playlist,
I´ll see you when I see you!
Edit: How could I ever have forgotten The Kooks??? Lost the battle of best young indie rock band to Arctic Monkeys, got into a feud with Razorlight´s Johnny Borrell which led them to write/record an amazing diss song (Naive) and has the cutest shiny-happy-people songs — besides having aged so gracefully! I´ve just added ‘Ooh La’ which is not only their most famous but also a great song with a lot of lessons to learn. The band is quite underrated and a bit left out but still incredibly awesome.