Alright // Supergrass
Supergrass – made up of Mick Quinn, Danny Goffey, and brothers Gaz and Rob Coombes – always strafed the outside of the general discontent that drove the Britpop era. With their debut, I Should Coco, emerging just prior to Blur’s The Great Escape and Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, and the band’s Oxford origins placing them somewhere roughly between the Gallagher’s working North and Albarn and co.’s affluent South, they stood out as a bastion of light-hearted (and much-needed) abandon amidst strife, struggle, and general, press-encouraged sniping between the two most celebrated bands of the period.
They practiced a view to freedom; a goofy, misrepresented youthful verve nowhere better encapsulated than in I Should Coco’s fifth single, ‘Alright’. With its jaunty, juddering piano riff intro to its cries of “We are young / We are free”, the song became – and so remains – an anthem for running wild, to living your youth to the fullest, or at least being a cheeky git whilst doing it. Sure, Blur and Oasis could have their fun – but for Supergrass, it was their only concern, free from the ties of ‘the Parklife’ or the stigma of the Gallagher’s lairy tabloid feuds.
The track is a fun-sized masterwork of the Britpop era, its tiny heart pounding to a breathless combination of insouciant teenage rebelliousness and finely tuned structural and compositional delicacy. Nothing is important; ‘Alright’ says live, keep your teeth clean, and feel good as you go. It is the youth consciousness of ‘Common People’ wrapped up and shot through with the bounding enthusiasm of Damon Albarn’s toothy grin on ‘Country House’; a reassurance that, no matter what we may encounter, whatever the struggle laid down upon us by a government increasingly at odds with its working-class, student and youth populace, it will be alright. No wonder the song retains its relentless verve and popularity to this day.
Words by Thomas Grantham