chapter  7
WHITE NOISE: Identity and nation in grunge, Britpop and beyond
Pages 21

The last of the chapters of this book addressing musical forms with transnational appeal, before my concluding thoughts, differs from the others presented in Part II as the sounds it concerns are to a greater extent than any of the others of preceding chapters only very loosely describable as a discrete musical category. After looking specifically at musical forms that clearly cross geographical territorial borders and where minority ethnic identity is often a factor articulated by its practitioners, this penultimate chapter looks at a set of styles that I have placed under the generic heading ‘white noise’, as their main proponents are of majority white ethnicity; something that their critics have seen as problematic. Furthermore, although they have enjoyed international export sales, the two styles that make up the bulk of the chapter are specifically located in two nationstates that critics of globalisation see as spreading a common language and culture unnecessarily over the world’s surface: grunge music from the US and Britpop from the UK. I am going to link these two musics to recent theories of whiteness and broaden my discussion to span authenticity in contemporary musical practice and the wigger – a term derived from the conflation of the words ‘white’ and ‘nigger’ – before concluding with some remarks on identity and nation in grunge, Britpop and beyond.