It is odd to think, given that Oasis appeared to have swept the floor with the competition by 1998 or so, that Albarn may have emerged triumphant from those days, though I doubt he cares. Oasis put out two (or so -- the debate rages on) truly great albums but became something of a caricature of themselves, and in any case by setting up the expectation that they were bigger than the Beatles created the conditions for a fall. When you aim for the heavens and fall short there will be many who enjoy your comedown. Pulp was always a favorite of the cognoscenti, but even in Britain they were the little engine that could, a band big enough to take the piss out of the bigger boys but not big enough to sustain it. That said, "Common People" might be the most quintessentially British song of the era.
Then there was Blur. Popular, not especially threatening, lacking Oasis' bombast and Pulp's wit, Albarn and co. seemed destined for the hall of the very good though not the Hall of Fame. But in recent years Albarn has taken some daring, even brazen, approaches to pop music. He has become the most unlikely hitmaker with a cartoon group (literally) in which he subsumes his personality in anonymity. He lets the cartoon speak for itself, and while the Gorrillaz might never approach true greatness, they are infectious and good and have captured a particular pop mood -- fusing hip hop and dance and rock -- every bit as much as Blur did back in the heyday of the mid-1990s when Britpop seemed destined to save the world, or at least to take some pulses and hand out a few presriptions.
Now along comes Albarn as the frontman of a new supergroup that has released an eponymously titled album. Capturing at least one aspect of today's music ethos (a cumbersome, indeed terribly bad, name) "The Good, the Bad, and the Queen" received a four-star review from Alexis Petridis in today's Guardian. I have not yet heard the album so cannot confirm or deny Petridis' impressions, but if the review is even halfway accurate the Gallagher brothers must be gnashing their eyebrows in a jealous, ale-fueled rage.