The Good Ship Rediscovery: Supergrass - In It For The Money

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our never-ending quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

I've been feeling a little nostalgic about the 90s lately, I have to admit. And thinking about it, I have no idea how I've managed to not gush about Supergrass. They were, after all, one of my favorite of the Britpop crop during my formative musical years (yes, the years in which most of what I listened to was made by gents with English accents). Never ones to get caught up in those silly chart battles or obnoxious sibling/wibbling rivalry, the 'grass merely made album after album of great, catchy as all get out songs. So, today little darlings, I'd like to bend your ever-indulgent ears about my favorite of all the Supergrass records, their exceptional sophomore effort In It For The Money.

I couldn't even begin to guess how many times I've listened to this record since it was released in 1997, my friends. If memory serves, I actually had to return my initial copy of the CD so I could get one with the fancy schmancy bonus disc, since back in those days I was a little on the completist side. It was worth the effort. Digressions aside, In It For The Money was, and still is, one heck of a fine little album. It showed an obvious maturation in the band's sound as they evolved from the brash and brazen, naughty cheekiness of their debut I Should Coco (featuring the notable Britpop single "Caught By The Fuzz") to a much more mature, full indie rock sound (heck, they even used horns!).

Not to say there wasn't bravado in abundance on this second album, of course. First track, the title track "In It For The Money," swelled with abandon, trumpeting itself to the fullest and leaving no doubt about what was to come. And it only got better from there. "Richard III" was one of the biggest triumphs, in my opinion, a sharply jangling ditty that showed off the darker side of the vague genre we all still call Britpop. My probably favorite of all Supergrass songs, "Late In The Day," is as swoonfully lovely now as it was back then, the 'grass getting soft and idyllic and seven shades of sensational. Listening to it now, I totally understand why the me of 14 years ago would spend hours listening to this one song over and over and over.

Another forever love of mine, "Sun Hits The Sky," showed Supergrass at their most infectious, all bouncing basslines and the distinctive, smart-brat vocals of Gaz Coombes. The addition of a keyboardist to the band was a stroke of genius, and his dramatic flourishes abound. "Going Out" has a golden glow about it, not to mention a butting heads of peaceful loveliness and balls-out rock. It wasn't all smiles around the village green, though, with songs like "It's Not Me," "Hollow Little Reign," and "Sometimes I Make You Sad" showing off the more brooding side of these Oxfordian scamps. But for every melancholy moment, there's a moment of pure Britpoppy perfection. "Cheapskate" is hands down one of the best songs Supergrass ever recorded, swaggering and shimmying all over the place. "Yeah you let me in," proclaims Coombes, "now I'm breakin through that door," a sentiment one could certainly apply to the whole record.

The bonus disc proved to be a treasure in its' own right, full of goodies like an acoustic version of "Caught By The Fuzz," a hilarious pseudo country song called "Sex," and the darkly appealing slink of "20 Ft. Halo." My favorite off the bonus disc is "Wait For The Sun," a song in the vein of "Late In The Day." The song is four minutes of hazy, heady swirling, twisting around like little puffs of smoke and culminating in a gorgeous clamoring cloud of rather 70s instrumentation. Glorious indeed.

Though it came at the tail end of Britpop mania, in my opinion In It For The Money still stands as one of the era's crowning achievements. The remarkable strides Supergrass made in terms of maturity are evident in each and every song. With this record, the band proved themselves to be much more than the likely lads getting popped for puffing and other such youthful pursuits. If you haven't yet gotten to know this record, or this band, here's your chance. Enjoy.

mp3: Cheapskate (Supergrass from In It For The Money)

mp3: Wait For The Sun (Supergrass from In It For The Money)


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