• Maggie Neuman

The Britpop Aesthetic

Happy Britpop Week everyone! Just a warning: I am very unqualified to write what I’m about to write but I’m going to give it a go because I’ve been learning about Britpop by tuning in this week along with all of you and WOW DO I LOVE IT! We’ve gotten to learn a lot that was going on with the Britpop music and culture but the one thing we miss out on with radio is seeing what was happening visually, the aesthetic if you will!

For context of what I’m about to share, I highly recommend reading Hank’s Britpop blog first which will give you an idea of what was happening historically in the Britpop era.

As I’ve been listening to the iconic Britpop albums, I’ve checked out a few of the iconic music videos and as a result been able to see the iconic styles of these bands. There’s so much to unpack here but for the sake of this blog not lasting forever, I’m going to talk about a music video from each of the big four Britpop bands: Suede, Oasis, Blur, and Pulp as well as a video from Elastica, the only big Britpop group that is female led.

Let’s start with Oasis and their video for “Wonderwall”. First of all, the video is completely in black and white except for the brightly colored guitars and sad clown hat that stand out in the most beautiful way possible. “Wonderwall” is of course a more melancholy song which the black and white color scheme suits very well. This isn’t the first time that Oasis did a stripped down, black and white music video like this, but “Wonderwall” was the perfected version of it. There’s so much to see in this video: Oasis jamming and just goofing around, records spinning, sad clowns, and more. This very stripped down style of video was very fitting for Oasis given the band members’ backgrounds in the lower middle class. Some of the big Britpop bands were more posh but Oasis certainly was not. Their background is also reflected in the styles of clothing they wore, especially in this video. We see denim on denim, crewnecks, oversized button ups, and Liam Gallagher’s John Lennon-esque sunglasses.