The 50 Best Britpop Songs

Music Lists

For a good chunk of the ’90s, a handful of bands from across the pond managed to rule the world. Influenced by guitar pop forebears like The Kinks and The Beatles, groups like Blur, Oasis and Pulp stood in contrast to America’s grunge scene at the time and carried the torch for Cool Britannia. Their reign was brief, in the grand scheme of things, with Britpop fizzling out in the late ’90s, and when Radiohead unleashed OK Computer, it was clear that music fans on both sides of the Atlantic would be leaving the genre behind and following Thom Yorke and company to the next big thing. But the influence left by Britpop remains undeniable.

For the purposes of this list, we’re defining “Britpop” as the stuff produced during the first two-thirds of the ‘90s: no Radiohead or Stereophonics, no early influencers like the Stone Roses or revivalists like Coldplay. Not to be confused with simply “pop music by British artists,” we present to you the 50 Best Britpop Songs.

50. Elastica, “Connection”
Yes, Wire fans, Justine Frischmann did crib liberally from the post-punk icon’s “Three Girl Rhumba” when writing this tune. But think of it this way: the continued success of this jaunty synth-driven ode to love and confusion is surely still refreshing Colin Newman and co.’s bank accounts on a regular basis. Besides, when that hip-shaking beat takes over, who has time to look at the writing credits?—Robert Ham

49. The Charlatans, “One to Another”
For whatever reason, The Charlatans never made the lasting impression that the likes of Oasis, Blur or Pulp did on the international stage, but in the UK they were just as vital to Britpop’s development and cultivation as any of those three bands. “One to Another,” a single from 1996, was released in the midst of Britpop and was able to make a notable mark. Ignited by a rock riff, the song epitomizes the pomp and glow that the movement held so dear.—Michael Danaher

48. Echobelly, “King of the Kerb”
Echobelly was essentially the Britpop Blondie, and “King of the Kerb” is one of the band’s crowning achievements. On it, Sonya Madan and company tell stories of homelessness and prostitution over a deceptively cheery melody.—Bonnie Stiernberg

47. Ash, “Girl From Mars”
Though this still-teenaged Northern Irish trio was already beloved in the indie world, this 1995 single with a Pixies-like love of quiet/loud dynamics and leader Tim Wheeler’s bouncing vocal melody pushed them into the top 40 for the first time. As if that weren’t enough, the song was also used by NASA as their telephone hold music for a stretch in the late ‘90s.—Robert Ham

46. Pulp, “Babies”
Originally released in 1992 on an indie imprint, this track didn’t catch fire until Pulp’s new label Island wanted to keep the momentum of the band’s fourth album His ‘n’ Hers rolling. The remixed and re-released version, all glossy synths and aching guitar melodies, went to the Top 20 two years later. And Jarvis Cocker’s wry tale of teenage sexual fumblings and wardrobe hiding helped set the table for the band’s massive success with the similarly minded “Common People.”—Robert Ham

45. The Auteurs, “New French Girlfriend”
Despite never making much of an imprint outside of the UK, The Auteurs were a significant presence during the 1990s. One of their most impressive offerings comes in their hit “New French Girlfriend,” which pairs flouncing electrics and bass with strong song structure. At the time, “New French Girlfriend” wasn’t the band’s best-known song, but it has endured over the years to be their strongest effort.—Michael Danaher

44. Cast, “I’m So Lonely”
By the time Cast’s cheekily titled Mother Nature Calls was released in 1997, ballads had been done to death by their contemporaries. But what makes “I’m So Lonely” (a Top 20 hit for Cast) stand out isn’t its grandiosity or bombast but its honed-in simplicity and subtlety. Yes, there are strings and harmonies that build and blossom as the song progresses, but the track keeps its feet on the ground with a repetitive, straightforward melody. It was a welcome return to form at a time when many bands were submerged in excessive ornamentation and superfluous overproduction.—Michael Danaher

43. Shed 7, “On Standby”
England’s Shed 7 enjoyed some notable success in the UK, thanks to the quartet’s wily songwriting and comparisons to pre-Britpop acts like the Stone Roses and The Smiths. “On Standby,” one of the singles off of the band’s 1996 album, A Maximum High, is a straight-up guitar pop-rock song. Other acts may have leaned on schtick or rivalries to spark attention, but Shed 7 was content to rely on the strength of its songwriting. “On Standby” is a gorgeously raucous work that capitalizes on a beguiling song structure and approachability.—Michael Danaher

42. Sleeper, “Inbetweener”
Though all three of their albums cracked the UK top 10 and they served as Blur’s opening act on the triumphal Parklife tour, Sleeper are still regarded as something of an also-ran in the Britpop hierarchy. Shame, too, as tracks like this prove that singer/guitarist Louise Wener had a knack for earworm melodies and cheeky lyrics that reveal the dark, seamy thoughts hidden away by British suburb dwellers.—Robert Ham

41. Blur, “Charmless Man”
Blur’s 1995 album, The Great Escape, continued Modern Life is Rubbish’s theme of the band’s abhorrence of what the world was coming to. While the tone of “Charmless Man” is generally upbeat and pop-centric, the theme explored is anything but. Only Blur could make a song about decadence and extravagance sound loose and buoyant. “He thinks his educated airs / Those family shares / Will protect him / That you will respect him,” Albarn sings. The combination of the main character’s inescapable gloom juxtaposed with Blur’s infectious “la la” refrain makes the song impossible not to enjoy.—Michael Danaher

40. Pulp, “Sorted for E’s and Whizz”
There was a call to ban this song in the UK after The Daily Mirror’s Kate Thornton misinterpreted it as being pro-drugs (“e’s and whizz” are ecstasy and speed). And while to call it anti-drugs would also be oversimplifying it, there’s a definite melancholy displayed here when Jarvis Cocker sings lines like “In the middle of the night, it feels alright /But then tomorrow morning, oh, then you come down.”—Bonnie Stiernberg

39. Dodgy, “Good Enough”
Dodgy flew too far under the radar to ever be considered part of 1990s British invasion, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t deserving of some attention. The band’s single “Good Enough” is its most immediately accessible song, pairing bubble-gum pop tendencies with a resilient arrangement. From the fluttering brass section to the jangling guitars to the warbling Wurlitzer, Dodgy’s best-known hit was one of the scene’s biggest and best surprises.—Michael Danaher

38. The Boo Radleys, “Wish I Was Skinny”
Already an established band before Britpop became a household term in the early ’90s, The Boo Radleys had no problem whatsoever aligning themselves with the movement’s catchiness and heartfelt musings. The band’s most sincere instance of this is the bright, sunny “Wish I Was Skinny”—a radio-friendly tune that gave the band some much-deserved recognition in 1993. It wasn’t the band’s biggest hit, but it was their most accessible, and its carefree attitude and nonchalance gave the band a sunnier disposition than many of their peers.—Michael Danaher

37. Blur, “Country House”
Released the same day as Oasis’ “Roll With It,” this single managed to trump Blur’s Britpop rivals in the charts going in straight in at No. 1 in late summer 1995. While time will tell which song will be remembered most fondly, this track is surely the most fun of the two. The band sprinkles Damon Albarn’s Kinks-inspired social commentary and guitarist Graham Coxon’s best Mick Ronson impression with liberal amounts of Sgt. Pepper-esque production touches and clanging percussion.—Robert Ham

36. Pulp, “Do You Remember the First Time?”
To some degree, every ‘90s Pulp song is about sexual frustration or struggling against class. Usually, it’s both rolled into one. But Jarvis Cocker got to the heart of distorted sexual longing best on His ‘n Hers’ “Do You Remember the First Time?” At its core, the song is about trying to manipulate someone’s marital boredom in order to sleep with them again, but the startling thing about the jam is its wistful humanity. The gangly frontman’s pleas are desperate from beginning to end: “You say you’ve got to go home / Well, at least there’s someone there for you to talk to.” Even if Cocker can’t remember a worst time, the first time you hear this song is something you’ll always long for time and time again.—Mack Hayden

35. Embrace, “All You Good Good People”
Embrace were one of the last bands to be affiliated with Britpop before its rapid decline in the wake of Radiohead’s earth-shattering OK Computer. A monumental chorus and full-blown horn section are the big payoffs for the band’s 1997 single “All You Good Good People”—which was later included on their 1998 full-length The Good Will Out (and which went to the top of the charts in UK upon its release). The song seems to pick up where (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? left off, before Oasis drowned in their own fatuous, self-absorbed Be Here Now. “All You Good Good People” was Britpop taking in one of its last breaths.—Michael Danaher

34. Suede, “Beautiful Ones”
As Britpop wore on, many bands were growing darker with their sounds, but Suede’s 1996 hit “Beautiful Ones” is content to keep things light and breezy, thanks to a solid electric guitar riff serving as the main lead against Brett Anderson’s distinct tenor and falsetto. The song is a fluttering, amicable concoction that ultimately looks on the bright side of things when so many of Suede’s peers were slipping into a perpetual denial or decline. The song is both simple and sophisticated, and it’s a true Britpop gem that deserves much attention.—Michael Danaher

33. The Verve, “The Drugs Don’t Work”
One of the most emotionally jarring tracks on Urban Hymns, “The Drugs Don’t Work” came at an appropriate time in the bigger picture of Britpop. In a music scene constantly oscillating between success and excess, Ashcroft, like many, found himself on the wrong end of those two points too often. (The demo version of the song originally had the lyrics as: “The drugs don’t work / They just make me worse.”) Dark, honest and poignant, the song is the sound of someone at the end of their rope, funneling in all of the heartsickness and sorrow that goes along with it.—Michael Danaher

32. Pulp, “Mis-Shapes”
As the opening track on 1995’s Different Class, “Mis-Shapes” is forceful mediation on social status and dissatisfaction with contemporary life—a theme carried throughout the rest of the album. “Brothers, sisters, can’t you see / The future’s owned by you and me,” sings Jarvis Cocker. The song builds to a boiling-point chorus armed with frantic drums, desperate vocals, and vigorous guitars and synths. At the time, “Mis-Shapes” was a glimpse of what was to follow for Pulp—socially conscious themes and high-brow musicianship—but it has endured to be one of the band’s most impressive offerings.—Michael Danaher

31. Oasis, “Cigarettes & Alcohol”
As Manchester’s favorite sons, brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher debuted with a swagger unlike any other band in the UK. With Noel’s foolproof songwriting and Liam’s unmistakable aura, Oasis had primed themselves to be the voice of a new generation—one forging its way through life the best way it could: self-medicating and inebriated (a common trend across Britpop). “Is it worth the aggravation / To find yourself a job when there’s nothing worth working for?” sings Liam. “Cigarettes & Alcohol” was the sound of revolting against the status quo. Something was shifting in the music scene, and Oasis had placed themselves at the front and center of it.—Michael Danaher

30. Supergrass, “Caught By The Fuzz”
The opening salvo by this hyperactive quartet of Oxford lads, “Fuzz” is a rip-roaring two-and-a-half minutes of glammed-up fist-pumping garage pop, capped off by a sneering vocal turn by leader Gaz Coombes and his unfettered tale of being busted for drug possession at the tender age of 15.—Robert Ham

29. Suede, “Animal Nitrate”
Suede was one of the first big bands of Britpop, so it’s only appropriate that some sort of feud ensued. The band’s sparring with Blur may have been usurped by the eventual Oasis-Blur rivalry, but tensions and competition were ever-present in both bands’ early days. Not only was guitarist Justine Frischmann kicked out (a result of her own dissolved relationship with singer Brett Anderson and her dating Blur’s Damon Albarn shortly thereafter), but the band enjoyed immense success in the UK while Blur were still struggling to make it big. The band’s song “Animal Nitrate,” a distortion-infused pop-rock track off of their self-titled 1993 debut, was one of the high points for the band, giving Brett Anderson and company immediate and impactful success.—Michael Danaher

28. Pulp, “Lipgloss”
Before His ’n’ Hers came out, Pulp had been dabbling in different incarnations of itself, but the 1994 release is the point where the band really found out what it was made of. For the duration of the album, Jarvis Cocker and company sound focused and fervent, and perhaps most on “Lipgloss”—an upbeat track equipped with one of the band’s best-penned choruses. The song, exploring sexual disenchantment with swirling guitar leads and ubiquitous synths, was a highlight for the band—hinting that the band’s best work lay ahead, not behind.—Michael Danaher

27. The Bluetones, “Slight Return”
While many bands in the mid-’90s were pushing the limits of drenching their sound with loud, sprawling guitars and strings, The Bluetones’ 1996 debut, Expecting to Fly, showed a more tempered side to Britpop. One of the best representatives from that album comes in the single “Slight Return,” a jangly acoustic pop song that offered a nice alternative to the Britpop heavyweights—so much so that it knocked off (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? from the top of the charts, though only briefly. The Bluetones’ accessible, inoffensive sound was the opposite side of the Britpop coin.—Michael Danaher

26. Blur, “For Tomorrow”
Blur’s Modern Life is Rubbish was born after Blur toured the US and became increasingly disenchanted with the music business and American culture. They weren’t gaining traction with their first record, and bands like Suede were garnering much more attention back in the UK. Blur responded in the best way they could: penning and recording a career-altering album. Its lead single and opening track, “For Tomorrow,” propelled Blur forward and resulted in some much-deserved recognition. The song’s music and lyrics are coated with frustration and anguish—and its sing-song chorus and chord changes are catchy and off-kilter in a way that shouldn’t work, but it does.—Michael Danaher

25. The Verve, “Sonnet”
The Verve weren’t the media darlings that many of their peers were, but when the band came out with Urban Hymns, they started to gain respect. “Sonnet,” the second track from the album, is a stunning incantation of love and longing. Like many songs on Urban Hymns, the song soon spills into guitars that thrum and swoon, backed by a wall of strings, bass and drums. “Sinking faster than a boat without a hull,” sings Richard Ashcroft. He may have been singing about his own personal problems, but given the release of the album, he may as well have been singing about Britpop itself, as it was one of the scene’s last breaths of fresh air before it sank entirely.—Michael Danaher

24. Oasis, “Some Might Say”
Oasis more or less claimed to be the best band in the world while at their peak, and while that probably wasn’t the case, for a moment in 1995, it felt like it. Case in point: “Some Might Say”—one of the most striking songs off of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? Pairing Liam Gallagher’s lead vocals with Noel’s backing vocals, the song showed the strength of both brothers’ skill sets. Its distortion-drenched rhythm and lead would be the same blueprint that would mar much of 1997’s Be Here Now, but in 1995, the approach was both powerful and validating. One of their finest moments.—Michael Danaher

23. Elastica, “Stutter”
After Justine Frischmann was ousted from Suede, she was not content to sit on the sidelines and watch her peers surpass her—including then-boyfriend Damon Albarn. She founded Elastica (along with ex-Suede member Justin Welch) and released their self-titled debut in 1995, which would be the band’s only release during Britpop’s glory days—but what a release it was. “Stutter” is a incredible punk-pop song that chugs along thanks to pummeling drums and ambitiously distorted electrics, punctuated with a calculated verse-chorus arrangement. Unfortunately, like Suede, Elastica never successfully translated to the American mainstream.—Michael Danaher

22. Lush, “Ladykillers”
Another foremost member of the scene early on, Lush had released a handful of albums before their last, Lovelife, came out in 1996. From that record, “Ladykillers” stands out as the stuff pop-rock dreams are made of: dueling vocals from Meriel Barham and Emma Anderson, a Halloween surf-rock guitar lead, a handclap breakdown during the verse, a chorus that gets stuck in your head for days on end. The band seemed to be at its best. Unfortunately the milestone was too good to last; the band called it quits not long after drummer Chris Acland’s suicide later that year.—Michael Danaher

21. Oasis, “Champagne Supernova”
“Champagne Supernova” is one of the final instances of Oasis functioning at its highest level. The lengthiest single released off of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the track was everything a Britpop song was supposed to be: catchy, gluttonous, far-reaching, over-the-top. And while the lyrics still don’t make sense, Oasis could get away with it because they were beloved as the working-class heroes from Manchester. The famous line “Where were you while we were getting high?” may be have come across as shtick or pandering to their own persona, but Oasis didn’t care what anyone thought. And for a few years in the ’90s, that’s what made them so damn good.—Michael Danaher

20. Blur, “Chemical World”
One of Blur’s earlier triumphs, “Chemical World” came out when the band was in the midst of finding what it was made of. While they already had an album under their belts with Leisure, it wasn’t until their sophomore effort, Modern Life is Rubbish, that Blur would able to find a voice and position themselves as one of Britpop’s founding fathers. “Chemical World” is the culmination of the band’s different musical styles all rolled into one—distorted guitar leads, harmonies and hooks, relentless drumming and bass. It’s the band finding and cultivating its sound.—Michael Danaher

19. Super Furry Animals, “Something 4 The Weekend”
In the halcyon days of Britpop, a batch of daffy Welshman could do ridiculous things like purchase secondhand tanks and drive them to raves. You know, when they weren’t cooking up spirited pop concoctions like this, which seems to chronicle getting delightfully lost in a psychedelics-induced frenzy.—Robert Ham

18. Blur, “End of a Century”
Out of the bands that made the biggest splashes in Britpop, Blur was probably the one that showed the most variety and versatility early on. Seamlessly marrying guitarist Graham Coxon’s punk roots and Damon Albarn’s fetish with musical variation and symphonic leanings, “End of a Century” established that Blur wasn’t just some flash in the pan. Mixing acoustic strumming and distorted ornamentation with brass and horns, the song swells and swoons into a chiefly British-sounding arrangement. The lyrics of “End of a Century” may focus on a world stumbling into a new millennium lost and confused, but the music proved that Blur was anything but.—Michael Danaher

17. Supergrass, “Alright”
One of Britpop’s lesser-known stars, Supergrass didn’t have the same adaptability that other bands did when their 1995 album I Should Coco came out (those skills would be realized on subsequent releases), but their hit “Alright” offered a glimpse of their knack for crafting a great hook. (The song would even gain some traction in America thanks to its inclusion on the Clueless soundtrack.) A sunny sing-along song celebrating youth, “Alright” is bright and brief and brilliant.—Michael Danaher

16. Blur, “Beetlebum”
One of Blur’s comeback singles, “Beetlebum” is the opening track on the band’s 1997 self-titled album. The song gets back to Blur’s more guitar-driven early days, but it keeps itself in step with the band’s knack for solid songwriting and crafting catchy-as-hell choruses. It’s the start to one of Blur’s darker, more scattered albums, released when Britpop’s posture was beginning to slouch—when the bands involved were struggling to keep their heads up amid all the expectation and criticism. For all intents and purposes, Radiohead’s OK Computer would come out in the same year and essentially dismantle Britpop’s prominence. In retrospect, “Beetlebum” was the beginning of that end—and you can hear it in the music.—Michael Danaher

15. Oasis, “Supersonic”
The Brothers Gallagher exploded onto the scene with this, their debut single, in 1994. The driving guitar (which, sure, sounds a little familiar to George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” riff in some spots—but no one’s better at ripping off the Beatles than Oasis) helped carry this one all the way to the US charts, a first for the band and a Britpop milestone.—Bonnie Stiernberg

14. Suede, “Trash”
Suede was one of Britpop’s most dominant acts, even though they never reached the commercial success in America that many of their peers did. However, that fact doesn’t deter from flashing frequent signs of Britpop genius throughout the ’90s. One of the best examples comes from “Trash,” the lead single off of 1996’s Coming Up, the band’s first album without guitarist Bernard Butler. But the band didn’t seem to miss a beat. The song is a festering, anthemic pop gem that featuring a glorious chorus and guitar- and synth-driven rhythm. A vastly underrated song this side of the Atlantic.—Michael Danaher

13. Manic Street Preachers, “A Design For Life”
The first single from this Welsh band’s fourth album, this track was also the initial step forward by the Manics after their founding guitarist/lyricist Richey Edwards disappeared in early ’95. The emotion baked into these driving riffs and singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield obviously struck a chord with fans as the tune hit No. 2 on the UK charts and capped off a run of five consecutive Top 5 singles for the band.—Robert Ham

12. Pulp, “Disco 2000”
If you have a nostalgic bone in your body, you had to have felt it thrumming the first time you heard this, the third single from Pulp’s hugely successful Different Class LP. The title suggests a wizzed-up ode to the polyester era, but instead singer Jarvis Cocker calmly opens his high-school diary to remember Deborah (Deb-o-rah!), the first girl at school to get breasts and the one that got away.—Robert Ham

11. Blur, “The Universal”
One of biggest parts of Britpop’s history was the rivalry between Blur and Oasis. It began when Blur released “Country House” on the same day as Oasis’s “Roll with It” and beat it to the No. 1 spot in the charts. Blur would come out on the losing end with its next single, “The Universal”—which would fail to chart as high as Oasis’s “Wonderwall”—but the song remains one of the most superb songs in the Blur catalog. Featuring a distinctly English-sounding string section that couldn’t be pulled off by any other band, the song allowed Blur to not only show its versatility but also its strengths. Musical differences would ultimately dissolve Blur in the early 2000s, but “The Universal” is a shining moment for the band—one that shows they were much more than punk revivalists or “chimney-sweep music,” as Oasis so lovingly put it.—Michael Danaher

10. The Verve, “Lucky Man”
What makes The Verve’s Urban Hymns so great is its inward-looking, soul-searching reflection of Richard Ashcroft’s struggles and shortcomings. But while much of the album is devoted to the downbeat and downtrodden, “Lucky Man” is a definite bright spot on the record—showcasing an upbeat contentment that celebrates doing the best with what you have. The song broods and builds, going from a lone acoustic strum to a string-laden bravado set to Ashcroft’s dueling vocals and a supporting cast of guitars, bass and drums. The Verve would eventually disband because of Ashcroft’s failure to see beyond anything but himself, but on “Lucky Man,” his tunnel vision does the band a great service.—Michael Danaher

9. Pulp, “This is Hardcore”
By the time Pulp’s This is Hardcore came out in 1997, the band was already at the height of its powers. While known for upbeat, lilting sing-alongs, the band took a decidedly darker tone with the album’s direction, particularly with its title track. The song’s creepy piano tinkerings and haunting symphonic rhythm take you through a tale of excess and perversion—something all Britpop contributors would familiarize themselves with sooner or later. Things had begun to unravel. Pulp, a band that had probably best articulated the movement just a couple years prior, now seemed to be detaching itself and coming apart at the seams. “This is the end of the line,” sings Jarvis Cocker on the track, and in many ways it was—for Pulp and for Britpop.—Michael Danaher

8. Blur, “Parklife”
Credit actor Phil Daniels with a big assist on this one, as he handles the excellent spoken-word verses, dropping lines like “Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as parklife.” It also brought the Blur-Oasis rivalry to a head at the 1996 Brit Awards when the latter band—having just defeated Blur in the “Best British Album” category—took the stage and mockingly sang “Parklife,” replacing the title with “Shite-life.” Classy!—Bonnie Stiernberg

7. Oasis, “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
It may not be the biggest hit that Oasis ever had, but it is most certainly the band hitting its stride. Singer Liam Gallagher sits this out as brother Noel (the sole songwriter of the first few Oasis releases) takes over lead vocals, and the results are spectacular. Notorious for their unabashed lifting from the Beatles, the song’s intro piano is set to the same chords as John Lennon’s “Imagine,” but that’s where the similarity ends. The song elevates to a level that the band could only sometimes achieve on their debut. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” is the sound of everything working. And though Oasis would try to continually capture lightning on subsequent releases, they never sounded more at ease, more confident, more natural than on this highlight from 1995’s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?Michael Danaher

6. Blur, “Girls & Boys”
Blur’s presence in America wouldn’t be fully realized until later in the 1990s, but in 1994, with a couple albums under their belt, they were already a behemoth music maker in the UK. And when their defining album Parklife came out, the opening track “Girls & Boys” was a clear indication that Blur was going to places other bands couldn’t even fathom. Fusing punk-laden, off-kilter guitars with a dance beat and synth-heavy hooks, the song showed that Blur was growing and evolving from album to album—a knack that the band would carry into the 2000s. It was the first indication of many that Blur could stay ahead of the curve and still be radio-friendly.—Michael Danaher

5. Oasis, “Live Forever”
No one helped launch Britpop quite like Oasis. The Manchester quintet helped propel the movement into a prominent force and became one of its most prolific contributors. That began with “Live Forever,”one of their best songs off of their debut, Definitely Maybe. Filled with confidence and optimism and swagger, “Live Forever” established the Gallagher brothers as the next big thing. With Liam’s nasally vocals, Noel’s searing guitar leads and an easily navigable arrangement, the song became a catalyst for putting Britpop on the map. While Oasis’s musical formula would eventually wear itself down into redundancy and regurgitation, “Live Forever” is the sound of a band knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. “I think you’re the same as me / We see things they’ll never see,” Liam sings. The song perpetuated Britpop’s grandiosity and everything it stood for.—Michael Danaher

4. The Verve, “Bittersweet Symphony”
For a brief moment, The Verve were the best thing to happen to Britpop. Formerly ignored by the UK press, the quintet unleashed a force with 1997’s Urban Hymns, jump-started by the lead single, “Bittersweet Symphony.” From the hook-heavy strings to the distinct drum arrangement to the pompousness and bombast that singer Richard Ashcroft oozes in the video’s excellent music video, The Verve finally made an impression felt on both sides of the Atlantic—something that didn’t always translate for other champions of Britpop. The movement may have been on its last leg in ’97, but at the time, “Bittersweet Symphony” fooled you into thinking the scene would never end with songs like this out there.—Michael Danaher

3. Blur, “Song 2”
The song that launched a thousand victory celebrations in sports stadiums around the globe, this short fuzzy tune clocks in at just over two minutes and was supposedly inspired by the overwrought dynamics of American outfits like Nirvana and Pixies. On paper that sounds almost silly, but kudos to Blur for pulling it off with surprising authority. All together now: “Woo-HOO!”—Robert Ham

2. Oasis, “Wonderwall”
In spite of all of Britpop’s various voices and styles, this will always be the track that best represents the genre. The song that even The Edge and Blur’s Alex James have said that they wish they had written. The absolute apex of Oasis’s career. Nearly 20 years later, the song still has the power to stir up deep-seated emotions and nostalgia for the bygone era of your choice via that persistent acoustic guitar strum and the plaintive melody of the cello that wanders through the track. But the true power of “Wonderwall” is that for four glorious minutes, all of the lunkheaded press quotes from the Gallagher brothers and all their egregious musical sins of recent years seem downright forgivable. If they were once capable of creating something as undeniably great as this, maybe they aren’t so bad after all.—Robert Ham

1. Pulp, “Common People”
If Pulp is known for making a significant impact on Britpop, the most clear-cut reason is this song. Thematically and musically, the song has everything—the collision of class, sexual exploits, self-deprecation, a sing-along chorus, musical crescendo and catharsis. It is the quintessential Britpop song. As a piece of music, it has all of the big showmanship and hook-laden textures that the style has become characterized for; as social commentary, it reveals the disillusionment and decay of everyday life, where people merely “dance and drink and screw / Because there’s nothing else to do.” The song is much more than the defining moment for Pulp—it’s the defining moment for Britpop. No other song captures the essence, the angst, the disenchantment, the panic of what the world had become as it approached a new century. And those feelings, like the movement itself, would eventually lead to a downward spiral of excess and self-indulgence, of caricature and corrosion. These feelings live on today despite the movement’s absence, but “Common People” is where they were most clearly articulated. The song showcases Pulp at the peak of their powers, but it’s also the sound of Britpop itself peaking.—Michael Danaher

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