Well, here’s a new theory for the conspiracy types. Kevin Shields, shoegaze’s elder statesman and frontman of My Bloody Valentine, recently revealed to the Guardian that the ‘90s Britpop phenomena was an inside job. “Britpop was massively pushed by the government,” he claims. “Someday it would be interesting to read all the MI5 files on Britpop. The wool was pulled right over everyone’s eyes there.”
This is Hardcore, indeed.
Guardian commenters have already jumped over the hilarious implications of this statement by imaging Britpop figureheads such as Damon Albarn and Jarvis Cocker as government agents. Personally, I’d love to meet the officials responsible for styling Menswe@r.
It is no secret that Britpop had ties to the politics of its day, particularly New Labour. Noel Gallagher was famously photographed drinking with Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street while Albarn publicly declined his invitation to the party. In the final analysis, Britpop was an interesting creature celebrating the British identity, for better or worse. As the early acts like Suede, Pulp, and Blur climbed to the top of the charts, record company executives realized that money could be made off of this scene.
Bands like Echobelly and Marion were signed for their catchy guitar pop tunes. The music press backed the movement. Everyone was quick to cash in.
But was Britpop a government conspiracy? That’s unlikely. But hey, the hidden track on Menswe@r’s Nuisance is about alien abduction so I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned.