This song is one of my favourites by a band I consider to be a great singles band. Phil Daniels, most famous for his portrayal as Jimmy in 1979’s Quadrophenia, is the perfect choice as the narrator of an Eastend wideboy’s tale of simple pleasures in a narrow world of his own. And guitarist Graham Coxon’s opening guitar figure is genius in its simplicity. In short, a memorable pop song.
The song and the album of course was released during the so-called Brit-pop era, when bands like Blur, along with Suede, Supergrass, Pulp (who had actually been around since 1983) and Oasis were making a splash in their native country. All tried to break America at the time, and all but Oasis failed, although many found select audiences. I think this is because the thing which typified the scene (if there even was one beyond the music press buzz) was an unabashed celebration of all things British – British accents, British cultural references, and British musical influences like the Kinks and the Small Faces, bands from the 60s who carved a similar path, and who had similarly select success Stateside.
The scene was of course short lived, and the respective bands either fizzled out entirely (Elastica, Suede, Echobelly, etc), or transformed themselves into something other than cheeky chappies (Supergrass and Blur). It’s arguable that the bands who are associated with Britpop couldn’t get a foothold in America because they refused to Americanize. But, I don’t think it’s entirely beyond reason that this was the case. I think this ultimately caused most Americans to scratch their heads, wondering if these guys even knew how to speak American.