September 12, 2002

Getter Warmer

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I’ll admit it — I’m a sucker when it comes to Britpop. A catchy hook, a self-loathing Anglicanism, a strong accent, a well-strummed chord and I’m sold. In my defense, there are some fine bands across the channel. Anyone that has ever picked up a copy of NME or any British music rag knows the one thing Britpop bands endlessly struggle with is tapping into the yearned-after American market. Those pasty-faced, sheik-attired limeys give their all to sell us their infectious singles but usually to no avail. The singles get some airplay, but within a year few remember “Bittersweet Symphony,” “Like A Friend,” or “Why Does It Always Rain On Me” and the bands, used to playing arenas, are trapped somewhere in the midwest playing to half empty 1500-capacity venues. Sad but true.

As a fan of Britpop and a man aware of the Britpop dilemma mentioned above, I’ve always been uneasy about the stateside success of Coldplay’s debut album Parachutes. The album is pleasant, and “Yellow” is probably the catchiest and sweetest pop song of the last five years, but overall Coldplay, though earnest and sweet, came off as safe, underdeveloped, and bland. It seemed absurd that of all the great Britrock bands (Verve, Pulp, Super Furries, Blur, etc.), Coldplay was the one to break the States. But sure enough, months passed and people, especially females, continued to remark,