A slew of significant albums all came out in 1997 – Sam Walton is revisiting each one on its 20th anniversary
Whenever the question was posed in the heat of Britpop, “Blur or Oasis?”, the cannily evasive response, if picking a side wasn’t prudent, was always “Pulp”. Amid the factional bickering of the mid-90s, though, one unifying factor endured: everyone felt fond of Supergrass, regardless of the various cultural, geographical and class divides that seemed to polarise opinion of so many other bands. Indeed, an endearing mark of Supergrass’ own awareness of their place in British pop music is that later in their career they sold official button badges declaring themselves to be “everyone’s second favourite band”, revelling in their own lack of heft (or, depending on how you view it, their universality).
Even before that, though, part of what made Supergrass so likeable was that, at a time when many of their peers were making grand statements (either musically or in the pages of the weekly music press), they seemed to acknowledge the knockaround ridiculousness of being in a pop band while simultaneously writing quietly era-defining hit singles and, most importantly, appearing to enjoy themselves. There was no hand-wringing over suburban ennui or council-estate struggle for Supergrass, just (broadly) keenly observed teenage hijinks.