Sunday, August 02, 2009

Bittersweet Symphony

A classic Brit-rock bauble from the halcyon days of late-1990s, Blair-era Cool Britannia, The Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony' from 1997 is a veritable turning point for the erstwhile space-rock pioneers, indicating a shift in artistic direction, from the seething white-noise aesthetics of the past, to a more accessible, radio-ready sensibility. Notwithstanding the tetchy legal issues that bedevilled its initial release, 'Bittersweet Symphony' has rightfully earned its place as the Wigan collective's most recognisable single, by dint of its distinctive orchestral-string lead melody, its loping, strutting backbeat, and of course, frontman 'Mad' Richard Ashcroft's sneery, yet despairing, howl-against-the-elements lyrics. Check out the infamous video clip, which had Ashcroft lip-synching while walking down a busy street, quite oblivious to his surroundings, and consequently, causing all manner of social mayhem when he intentionally, nonchalantly knocks into passers-by, and at one point, jumps on top of the bonnet of a car, much to the chagrin of the irate owner. All great stuff, and a fond reminder of the best bits of Brit-pop, back in the days when it really mattered.


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