The records that kickstarted Britpop 20 years ago from Pulp, Blur, Suede and more
Andrew Trendell
13:17 8th April 2014

This week, the world of music is celebrating 20 years since Britpop was born. While UK acts had been making similar sounds for years, it was definitely 1994 that it became a real force of nature - shaping music, fashion and culture around the world for years to come. So if 1994 was the birth of Britpop, what were the albums that kickstarted it all? 

It seems as if there were a fair few bands in the right place at the right time, ready to ride the wave of the trend and deliver records that would go on to define the sound of the decade.

From the seminal classics of Pulp, Blur and Oasis to the lesser known gems from Shed Seven, Dodgy and more, these are 10 albums from 1994 that really kicked off Britpop. 

  • Pulp - His N' Hers: They may have been active for well over a decade, but their 1994 fourth album was their real breakthrough. Nominated for a Mercury and packed with the tales of sex, kitchen sink melodrama and dossing around Sheffield, it contained everything that Britpop would come to be known for and that Pulp would crystalise to perfection on the follow-up, Different Class.

  • The Stone Roses - Second Coming: The forefathers of Britpop, the Roses had paved the way for many 90s bands that followed - inspiring the likes of Pulp and Oasis. The long wait for their sophomore 1994 album led to it receiving mixed reviews, and to many marked the passing of the baton onto a new generation of British guitar music.

  • Suede - Dog Man Star: The band's 1994 masterpiece may have seen the band adopt a more idiosyncratic approach to distance themselves from Britpop and THAT Union Jack magazine cover, but they were still very much waving the flag for British guitar music and opening the doors for the darker and more sexual side of Britpop.

  • Dodgy - Homegrown: Mixing baggy sounds with summer pop anthems, this Britpop belter is about as 90s as Chris Evans buying a Tamagotchi for Andi Peters.

  • The Charlatans - Up To Our Hips: Britpop's borrowing of the sounds of the sixties was not hidden - it was utilised to often dazzling effect. Exhibit A: This free and easy Rolling Stones-esque gem of a record.

  • Blur - Parklife: Damon Albarn is often credited for setting the template for Britpop on the quintessentially sound and themes of 1993's Modern Life Is Rubbish, but it was 1994's Parklife that would that take that idea, change the course of musical history and sell a shit load of copies. From the lad rock anthem 'Girls And Boys' to the pre-Millenial fear 'End Of A Century' and mockney brilliance of the title title track, this is arguably THE quintessential Britpop album.

  • The Lightning Seeds - Jollification: 10 tracks, all killer, no filler. We also challenge you to find a more smile-inducing and typically Britpop track than 'Lucky You'.

  • Oasis - Definitely Maybe: The seminal debut that turned Britpop from an indie trend into a worldwide sensation.

  • Shed Seven - Change Giver: Early and bitter rivals to Oasis, it's fair to say that this debut lost the battle to Definitely Maybe, but this brave, assured and Smiths-esque record is not without its charm as a shining beacon of Britpop.

  • Nirvana - Unplugged In New York: Not a Britpop album by any means, obviously - but this chilling eulogy to king of grunge Kurt Cobain served as a reminder that the musical pendulum had swung back to this side of the Atlantic, leaving Britannia to once again rule the waves in the wake of the American rock sounds that had done so for the years before.