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Various Artists Common People Brit Pop: The Story Review

Compilation. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

This compilation feels too rushed and unloved.

Sophie Bruce 2009

Remember a time before Lauren Laverne was a respected TV and radio presenter? When Bez was a Black Grape, not a porcelain-veneered Celebrity Big Brother winner? Before Liam Gallagher lost his manly cool, married an All Saint and became a bit of a girly fool?

That was 15 years ago and this 3-CD set marks Britpop’s birthday. Bob Stanley from St Etienne (who at the time was writing for Melody Maker) may have penned the notes, but is it perfect? No.

While the biggest disappointment may be the weird pastoral painting album cover, let's start with the artists that are missing. A Britpop album without a single track from Oasis OR Blur is like having fish without chips. Though Black Grape make it in, the Happy Mondays are noticeably excluded. Elastica, Sleeper, Kenickie and Echobelly are doing it for the girls… but their equal contemporaries, Republica, are nowhere to be seen.

This isn't an achingly cool selection for snobs, either: the inclusion of the chirpy Boo Radleys and the dubious selection of Ocean Colour Scene's insipid Riverboat Song put paid to that from the off.

However, with 54 songs spread across three discs there are plenty of gems. The gorgeous Dubstar (Stars); the eponymous Pulp track; Suede's Trash; Love Spreads from the Stone Roses; Divine Comedy's Something For The Weekend. There's much to take you back.

Conversely we get the skin crawlingly awful Babybird (You're Gorgeous) and the caterwauling of Catatonia's Cerys Matthews on Mulder And Scully.

For anyone the right age this nostalgia-fest will make you feel like digging out your Doc Martens and re-scrawling all the band names on your bag in black marker. But it could have been so much better if a little more care had been taken. Such a compilation deserves cherished single sleeves dusted off along with care and attention lavished on the playlist. Common People – Britpop: The Story feels too rushed and unloved.

As your school report no doubt said during the Britpop era: 'Good, but could try harder'.

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