In the 1990s, a string of successful bands such as Blur, Oasis, Pulp and Suede, inspired by glorious forefathers like the Beatles, revived the British rock genre. The press was quick to dub this new scene "Britpop", to describe the way these bands drew their inspiration from their own sense of Britishness, both in their appearance and in their lyrics, which documented several aspects of youth and working-class cultures in Britain.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party was undergoing a similar kind of rebirth under the influence of Tony Blair, who rebranded his party as New Labour. Since Britpop offered a positive, near-patriotic vision of Britishness in line with the spirit of "Cool Britannia", Blair sought to obtain a very visible support from the Britpop scene in the run-up to the 1997 general election. This was conceived as a way to help rejuvenate the Labour Party's image and to secure the youth vote which had eluded the left since the 1980s.
However, the traditional view of rock music (as a type of protest music, prone to generating subcultures) hardly seems compatible with the idea that it could be used to support a mainstream political party. As the Britpop format went on to influence homegrown rock music into the next decade, with Gordon Brown succeeding Blair as Prime Minister in 2007, it seems several bands took British rock back to its primary, subversive function by painting a realistic picture of British society, closer to the concept of "Broken Britain" than to that of "Cool Britannia".
Key words: United Kingdom, Labour Party, Conservative Party, Rock music, Britishness, Protest songs, Cool Britannia