Songs In The Key Of… Britrock
BRITROCK WEEK: We pick 17 songs that represent the eccentricity, ferocity and glory of British rock in the mid-to-late 90s
This week we have been celebrating all things Britrock. So we thought we would choose some of our favourite tracks to celebrate that crazy part of the UK 90s music scene. Listen to the whole 17-track playlist on the Songwriting Magazine Spotify profile. And don’t forget to check out all of our ‘How I Wrote…’ features from the Britrock Must Be Destroyed takeover.
Kung Fu by Ash
Storming onto the music scene with their short, sharp, upbeat blend of pop and punk. This song feels like being a teenager.
Naked by Reef
Reef’s blue influences are incredibly apparent in ‘Naked’, with frontman Gary Stringer’s soulful vocals weaving in and out of heavy guitars and pounding drums.
Tequila by Terrorvision
This song is Saturday night in a joyous four-minute slice (of lime). It epitomises the good time vibes surrounding the Britrock movement, and can never fail to put a massive grin on your face.
Screamager by Therapy?
Still very much making music, Therapy?’s Screamager, is a short and sharp beauty of a track. Heavy guitars mixed with angst ridden is early 90s perfection.
I Can Dream by Skunk Anansie
Skin’s vocals are immediately recognisable on any record. So powerful that you sometimes forget there is instruments being played at the same time. On I Can Dream, she delivers blow after vocal blow.
Inglorious by The Wildhearts
Inglorious has a definite metal edge to it, that isn’t found with many other Britrock bands. Pulling it back towards pop with a catchy chorus, it is the perfect blend of genres.
Nancy Boy by Placebo
A call to arms for so many in the alternative scene of the 90s, Placebo championed the weird and the wonderful.
She Said by Longpigs
Hearing the guitars kick in on She Said immediately reminds us of summer afternoons in the park. It’s a song that oozes youth and carefree days.
Motorcycle Emptiness by Manic Street Preachers
Currently touring their thirteenth studio album, few bands have had the longevity that the Manics have enjoyed. Listening to this track it’s hard to believe that it’s 26 years old.
Hey Dude by Kula Shaker
On the more psychedelic end of the Britrock spectrum is Kula Shaker. Although known for their Indian influences in their music, Hey Dude has a familiar Stone Roses sound to its melody.
A Thousand Trees by Stereophonics
Another band that didn’t fit the mould of Britpop, Stereophonics are among the few groups to have transcended the Britrock genre, creating a guitar sound that is completely their own.
Glycerine by Bush
Although Bush were one of the few UK bands to celebrate bigger success on the other side of the pond, they still managed to fly the flag for the British rock scene. This track shows of their grunge influences perfectly, paving the way for many UK acts.
Crash by Feeder
Unrecognisable from their later more commercial hits, Crash shows off the Welsh band’s heavier side. It’s a far cry from Buck Rogers!
The Bends by Radiohead
Before they truly found their sound on OK Computer, Radiohead were a band on the fringes: too heavy in parts to be Britpop and too mellow to be all-out Britrock, they straddled two iconic movements of the time.
Connection by Elastica
The cool kids of the mid 90s, Elastica’s Connection is considered a Britpop anthem, but with its heavy guitars, we think it equally belongs in the Britrock camp as well.
Stupid Girl by Garbage
There is no other way to describe this song but damn cool. Lead singer Shirley Manson’s sultry snarl of a vocal has been copied by so many since, but none can do it quite like her.
C’mon Billy by PJ Harvey
Although in recent years PJ Harvey has moved away from her original guitar sound, it’s undeniable that her early work sat within the Britrock world. Her vocals are described as ‘frantic purrs’ as she begs Billy to come home.
Words: Fern Dunn