The Skinny: Yeah, this is the one. The Glimmer Twins (aka Jagger/Richards) hijacked tens of millions in royalties for “Bittersweet Symphony” from songwriter Richard Ashcroft (the Twins reportedly restored much the copyright to Mr. Ashcroft recently). That fucked up bit of cocksucker blues aside, this remains a landmark Britpop recording.
Sounds like: Oasis, Stone Roses, Style Council, Radiohead, Counting Crows, Travis, Stereophonics, Bauhaus
Deeper Thoughts: Gawd, did I grow to loathe “Bittersweet Symphony.” Nike commandeered it, and made it generally the theme song of the late ’90s. But 20+ years later this stands as one of the top albums of the Britpop heyday. There were three other solid singles – “The Drugs Don’t Work,” “Lucky Man,” “Sonnet” – and stellar album cuts throughout. While not quite as mind-bendingly inventive as Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Nick McCabe and Simon Tong conjure a trippy jam/psych groove that set The Verve apart from their peers.
The Sonics: Even though this disc is widely available on streaming and in any number of formats, I have to tell you that this is a tremendous example of how much better an (essentially) lossless audio format can sound compared to its lossy stepchildren. There is a depth and detail on this disc that is missing from most MP3 versions and certainly missing on popular streaming platforms. After listening to this disc for several weeks I booted it up on Apple Music through my Beats Studio3. I was astounded by the clipped, unengaging sound. For example, there’s a sparkle in the top end on the CD that’s lost. It was like looking at a photograph of a brilliant night sky.
Actually, I don’t care if you buy this disc. Maybe I won’t sell it to you after all…