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Jun 13

OASIS – “Some Might Say”

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#720, 6th May 1995

“And you still think you’re going to rule the universe? You wouldn’t know what to do with the universe. You’d only shout at it.” – Doctor Who, The Pirate Planet

“They ruined British music and they ruined British music journalism.” – Jeremy Deller, Mojo Magazine.

“I think you’re the same as me” – Oasis, Live Forever

This is not, you suspect, how anyone really planned it. The Kerenskys of Britpop, the intellectuals who dreamed back in ’92 and ’93 how a new British pop music might sound and feel – modernist, fashion-conscious, ironic, nostalgic (but naturally with excellent, unexpected taste), not really very much like rock – failed to predict anything like “Some Might Say”. They (we! I read Select too!) never anticipated this sound – swampy, lazy, loud as fuck, rolling with belligerent confidence, bleeding contempt for any music that wasn’t it.

For many, it was electrifying – I resisted hard enough to convince myself I wasn’t impressed, but listening back now to “Live Forever” and “Cigarettes And Alcohol” I still don’t love them but I can’t bring back the distaste, only the effort it took to maintain it. Where Take That pleaded, hand on heart, for classic status, Oasis simply demanded it, Visigoth-style.

To fans, the young Oasis were undeniable – but were they also inevitable? What they did rearranged British rock and your expectations of it, like the Pistols and the Beatles had, so that afterwards they seem obvious, a natural response to a lack. Once Oasis brought “rock’n’roll” and “attitude” and all that malarkey back to the mainstream people suddenly noticed its absence, but they did so with hindsight. The day – or year – before Oasis came was as full of crissed-crossed pop currents as any other, and some of these eddies paid homage to “rock’n’roll” too – the New Wave Of British New Wave, for instance, or Primal Scream’s calculated follow-up to Screamadelica. Nobody particularly missed what Oasis brought before they brought it.

So to change pop culture the band achieved the hardest thing to achieve in rock, which is to imagine, create and mobilise an audience nobody had counted on. Right at the start Oasis seemed to be, roughly, an indie thing – a post-Roses music press buzz along the half-forgotten lines of Adorable. But they devoured their context – even by the time “Some Might Say” came out, they were the biggest band in Britain, and they kept on growing.

Later on the Oasis Nation became the subject of speculation – some heroic, some damning. The heroic spin is the one you found in the mens’ mags – what Oasis helped awaken was the Great British Lad, hard-partying, up for a laugh, up for a line, Young Liams full of swagger. Some put a political skin on this – identify Oasis with the North, with young working-class men after Thatcher – but it’s not a necessary angle: too reliant on stereotype, and besides the band’s appeal went well beyond particular groups. In some ways though the Gallaghers really were the best of lad culture – funny, quotable, canny and charismatic. For a while, at least.

The damning version of the fanbase is very like the heroic one, but here it’s also a force of unbending conservatism, policing tastes, crushing the life out of British alternative music by sheer demographic weight, sponsoring a range of increasingly grim successor bands – not to mention the latter-day Oasis itself. The downside of Oasis would be apparent at every festival they played in the late 90s and 00s – hordes of lairy men in band colours, sitting in the beer tent all day, drinking and shouting and drinking until their heroes took the stage and never engaging with anything else. Unless Weller was playing too, of course.

Whichever version you prefer, Oasis’ fanbase changed the direction of British pop music in ways we’ll see play out over the next several years. But neither of these pictures seems wide enough for Oasis themselves in 1995 and 1996, in their pomp – the most genuinely inescapable band I’ve ever known. You don’t get to be that big – Morning Glory big, Knebworth big – without tapping into something an awful lot of people wanted. The question is – how much was it their energy, how much their traditionalism?

I want to say it was the energy – “Live Forever”, for example, is pop manifesting sheer force of personality in a way you hardly ever see outside of hip-hop, and rarely enough then. Liam Gallagher’s voice, at its early best on that song, was like a tear in the fabric of pop, a conduit for some primal, amoral will to rock. The extent to which “Some Might Say” works is the extent to which it carries this as a kind of background radiation – since the song itself is almost completely a nothing. If Liam, carried by the band’s sloppy noise, could turn this mid-tempo mess of “dirty dishes” and “itching in the kitchen” and “we will find a brighter day” homilies into something convincing then he really would deserve those Greatest Of All Time claims he (and Noel) liked to throw around. And he almost can.

But that remarkable energy was married to an utterly common-sense view of rock music and what it ought to get up to. Oasis’ success could easily have been down to tapping its audience’s more conservative impulses – certainly the Gallaghers rarely missed an opportunity to proclaim the virtues of the past and anoint its standard-bearers in the present (mostly themselves). It didn’t take much to see Oasis as a reaction against rave, or the arty wing of indie, or frankly progression in general. As the decade wore on it was hard to see them as anything but.

But that’s later, and this is “Some Might Say”, and they’re getting away with it. Just.

6

Comments

  1. 1
    Cumbrian on 19 Jun 2013 #

    In many respects, I’d place Some Might Say, as a whole, as the quintessential Oasis single. The lead track is pedestrian, going on too long before sinking into the swamp of its own extended fade out and has lyrics rising only occasionally to the level of doggerel. It showcases a number of the faults that detractors will jump on quickly. And yet, right there, in the centre of it all, there’s the hint of a cry in Liam’s voice in the repetition of the line “some might say, we will find a brighter day” – just enough to show the vulnerability that is at the heart of Oasis’ best work. Easy to dismiss as boors, there is more going on than their detractors might suggest. Listening back to (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, it’s hardly as triumphalist and upbeat as might be remembered from the band’s on stage and in interview personas. It’s filled with songs that point out that life can be pretty shitty, no doubt grounded in their own origins.

    Received wisdom on this single is that the B-Sides slay the A-side. Received wisdom is not always wrong. More vulnerability from Noel on Talk Tonight, wondering whether he’s killed the band by walking out – not for the first or last time – and effective for personalising and, perhaps paradoxically, externalising the issue in the guise of the woman talking him down from the ledge. Then a proper dose of communal and fraternal celebration on Acquiesce, which shows a life left unexamined (“I don’t know what it is that makes me feel alive”) in favour of understanding and revelling in someone else’s vitality (“I only want to see the light that shines behind your eyes”) and a massive affirmative chorus. Finally, Headshrinker, a blast of punk inflected rock n roll at a ferocious pace that the band would rarely, if ever, match. Of course, there is a fuck off huge lift from The Faces in it and the whole single is loudness warred to hell. All these B-sides nail Some Might Say to the floor.

    So I reckon it’s all here for Oasis. They did and would do better than this for an A-Side but all their faults (the lifts, the plodding, the appalling lyrics, the sheer loudness) and the virtues (the vulnerability, the communality, the celebration and, yes, the well judged lift) are present and correct. I strongly suspect Oasis are going to get a kicking over the Popular years, both from Tom and those below the line, and some of it, I must admit, is well deserved (though I wonder how much is due to their personalities, their interviews, the forcing of them down the throats of the British public for much of their careers, their fanbase and the conservative elements that washed in off the back of their success and how much is due to the music itself – or perhaps the perception that the music doesn’t match up to the grandstanding press quotes). A question for a counterfactual pop historian might be: what would the perception of Oasis have been if they were the only band doing this, instead of bringing in the Northern Uproars of this world?

    For myself, they were an enormous part of my growing up and I imagine I am going to be, on the whole, defending them, if only with respect to my past and what they meant to me and my friends/school mates (though this might be a topic for another post).

    Overall, I’d give it an 8 – on the basis of the lead track though, probably only 5.

  2. 2
    Mark G on 19 Jun 2013 #

    “Some Might Say” then..

    Starts off with something worth saying in the verses, but the chorus / middle eight reeks of fill-in lines and desperation, and the fade-out repetition of the title reeks of “can we go now?”

    Lou Reed used to talk about how important re-writing was to his songwriting process, I get the feeling Noel has never considered this, so much of his writing begs for better lines in context.

    Oasis had done the “here comes our first number one” before, with “Whatever” having a string quartet (eventually, everyone from Cast to Shed 7 would be doing this), and the extended fade, this one seemed almost accidental, like they issued this single and it just so happened no-one else had a single out this week. (This Time..)

    And a hello and goodbye to Tony McCarroll as far as Popular is concerned.

  3. 3
    Tom on 19 Jun 2013 #

    #1 Thanks for a great comment – and looking forward to more defenses. B-sides are out of Popular’s scope (or we’d take even LONGER). I was actually surprised how much more I liked “Some Might Say” than I expected – as you’ve guessed, I don’t self-define as an Oasis fan – so perhaps this will be an opportunity for re-evaluation on my part. I’ll try to be fair by them, at any rate.

  4. 4
    thefatgit on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I remember some time in 1994 in the local newsagent being distracted by a couple of hirsute brothers staring out of the cover of NME. I picked it up and bought it. I had stopped buying NME regularly by early 1990, so I’d not really engaged much with anything outside the charts except rave or jungle. I definitely felt somewhat rock-averse during the early to mid-90’s, so things like Richey Edwards carving “4REAL” into his arm during an interview had literally passed me by. Reading about Britpop’s northern ambassadors; Oasis, as a mature adult and not like an eager teenager, hoovering up New Wave and New Pop, I didn’t feel anything much more than “hmmph it’s The Clash meets The Who meets The Beatles”. And for all their posturing and hating other bands and other scenes, they didn’t move me…

    Not until I heard “Cigarettes and Alcohol”. Then I sat up and took notice, because they had somehow blended Mod, Glam, Glitter, Punk and New Wave and made it taste not just interesting, but exciting. I didn’t care that Liam & Noel fought like cats and dogs on and off stage. I didn’t care if they hated everything else in the charts. I just wanted more of this please! So I dutifully went out and bought “Definitely Maybe”. And I played it at home or in the car, whenever there was a spare moment. I did the same with “(What’s The Story)Morning glory?”. I sort of have them hermetically sealed in this 90’s bubble in my mind. There’s nothing that Beady Eye or High Flying Birds can do to change my belief that Oasis should have disappeared after their last single release from that album. I’ll say no more, I don’t want to anger the Bunny.

  5. 5
    Chelovek na lune on 19 Jun 2013 #

    “The destruction of Creation Records” (and what it once stood for) must come into all this somewhere, too, not that Oasis were the sole, or necesarily even the principal, culprits. Old school indie had been trampled into the ground by grunge, anyway, which this…lad-rock was both a further development of and reaction against.

    The end of that brief period (i.e. Screamadelica) in which Primal Scream had attempted (and broadly succeeded) in being…musically interesting. Although it must be said that Bobby “Make Isreal History” Gillespie is an even bigger arse than either of the Bros Gallagher…

    An attack against art, mostly, and camp, certainly: not quite gritty macho authenticity, but a replica of it staged for the media and given a gloss finish.

    “Some Might Say” is by no means their most hateful single, nor their most forgettable number 1 (dealing with certain of the others will prove to be a bit of an endurance test), and I agree that it just about succeeds, perhaps by insistence alone. At least at this stage the whole Tony Blair-and-rock-stars Cool Britannia nonsense is yet to come.

    Although some of Oasis’s output is certainly technically accomplished (and having just listened to all of their no 1s, in some cases for the first time in many years, I was surprised at how agreeable some of them sounded), the general “ethos” and atmosphere impedes much enjoyment for me: too much back to the 70s pub-rock, basically, a less witty but more polished Dr Feelgood for readers of Loaded (or those who gawped at the pictures therein).

    Frankly Dodgy did a far bit of this sort of thing in a slightly less ham-fisted (if less proficient) way. And had the decency to essentially disappear after they’d done it and made their point.

    But still, I do get the appeal of this, and don’t quite dislike it.

  6. 6
    punctum on 19 Jun 2013 #

    No comment for TPL embargo reasons, except to say that I gave this a 9.

  7. 7
    Matt DC on 19 Jun 2013 #

    Even in the context of other Oasis singles this feels like a clunker, does the job in a fairly route-one way (those leaden T-Rex guitars), is surely no one in the world’s favourite Oasis song. It feels odd that this is their first #1, and I’m not sure any of the Oasis songs people reaally rate actually made it to the top, but *any* Oasis song would have gone straight into #1 at this point in history.

  8. 8
    Matt DC on 19 Jun 2013 #

    This deposing Back for Good feels noteworthy too, there’s a sense of one era of British pop making way for another, even though there are more TT singles ahead. But Take That clearly knew which way the wind was blowing by recording that song in the first place.

  9. 9
    anto on 19 Jun 2013 #

    In one sense an inevitable number one. The chart positions had steadily risen for Oasis over the course of a year, and as the first single from the second album their was bound to be extra curiosity about “Some Might Say”.
    It is rather stodgy compared to the proletarian guile of “Cigarettes and Alcohol” or the shining, primed confidence of their first three singles, but I would still say SMS was an improvement on “Whatever” which was the first indication that A)Noels Beatles fixation would ultimately get out of hand and B)He would not always sucessfully delineate between universiality and banality. If anything SMS was the Oasis single most reliant on their main asset – Liams voice – up to this point. This just about pulls it above pub rock.

    My abiding memory of this being at number one however was the TOTP appearance when Noel Gallagher or Paul Arthurs, I can’t remember which of them it was, casually hoisted his guitar over his head as a small gesture of triumph, but it said a whole lot more. After all here was a band with indie roots at number one, and crucially not looking a bit out of place. Yes, something had changed.

  10. 10
    Cumbrian on 19 Jun 2013 #

    #3 Well, I won’t be defending them all the time, I have to say. I guess, given I never really bought into the New Lad phenomenon whilst I was growing up, I’ll personally be trying to focus on the music and not necessarily the wider cultural impact, which I found pretty far from heroic. However I do think there are some good things to say about Oasis as well as the myriad bad and it might be up to a few people, myself included, to mention them.

    I think it was Mark S on the Clash thread that said that there is a link to be drawn between The Who, The Clash and Oasis, in that there are interesting things to be said about them but there are sections of their fanbases (and even elements of the bands themselves) that discourage such analysis. Maybe we’ll dig into this as time goes by.

    Finally, I’ll probably mention the B-Sides from time to time on Oasis (but will mark on the basis of the A-Side). The B-Sides in at least one case, and maybe on a couple of other occasions, provide a pretty clear marker as to what is going on with Oasis and, to an extent, what is going on with the Britpop/indie/rock music scene (not that I think Oasis were ever really indie rock; I’ve always thought of them as a Stadium Rock band – if they were a reaction to Rave or the arty wing of indie or even Grunge, I would say that they were also as much a reaction to/retreat from the philosphy behind the stadium shows on the Zoo TV Tour as well)

    #9 It’s interesting that you mention Whatever here. I kept my powder dry, to an extent, on Oasis up until this point, as there are loads of singles to talk about them on. I thought, and still think, Whatever was a mis-step and was surprised to see so many people defend it in the 1994 Year End thread. I would absolutely agree with your analysis.

  11. 11
    fivelongdays on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I spent my adolescence in a backwater. A crappy, inbred market town, made all the more frustrating by having moved from the medium-sized university city when I was 11. So music became something that meant something.

    And, if I had to choose something which grabbed me by the throat, changed my life, and made me fall in love with music, it would be Oasis doing ‘Shakermaker’ on Top Of The Pops in 1994. The guitars, the shimmering drums and the attitude blew my 12-year-old mind.

    So I became the first person in my year at school to get into Oasis. I loved Definitely Maybe, and when this got to number one, I felt like a king, like it was My Band that was topping the charts. I told ’em so.

    Of course, that’s not the totality of my tale with Oasis. But what about the song. As has been said before this is classic, quintessential Oasis. This is the sound of five blokes from Manchester taking over the world. Bugger the lyrics, this is a 9.

    Oh, and this was the last Oasis single before they looked at how much they liked The Beatles, panicked and…ah, but that’s for the next time.

  12. 12
    James BC on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I don’t agree with any of the negative comments here, and in fact I can’t think of anything negative to say. Normally I’m very against bombast, but this isn’t empty bombast – it’s bombast that’s brimming with charm, wit and infectious positivity. Triumphant rather than triumphalist.

    Even the lyrics, without wanting to get bogged down in trying to explain them, are in my view much better than critics often suggest.

    I agree about the B sides. No band apart from the Beatles has ever been as much on a roll as Oasis were at this point, chucking out B, C and D-sides that would go down as all-time classics. So much so that other groups complained they couldn’t keep up and D-sides eventually got banned.

  13. 13

    Cumbrian @10: that fanbase point is I think true — tho maybe not so much of Who fans? — but actually I didn’t quite make it: I blamed the unwillingness to go there on the behaviour of the bands themselves.

  14. 14
    Cumbrian on 19 Jun 2013 #

    13. Apologies for misquoting – I really should have checked before making that assertion – all I could remember was that I definitely agreed with the gist of what you were saying! Thanks for clarifying – and I still think I agree.

  15. 15

    Don’t apologise, it made me go and reread the Clash thread (which is funny)!

  16. 16
    weej on 19 Jun 2013 #

    This is a superb entry and the comments are equally wonderful too. I suppose we’ve all been waiting for this for a while.

    All I have to add is what a watershed this seemed like at the time. After years of Kingmaker / Ride / The Levellers* troubling at best the lower reaches of the top 20 there was a sense of separation between what “we” liked and what “other people” were buying. ‘Whatever’, my least favourite Oasis single at the time, had gone most of the way there, but it was really only with Some Might Say getting to number one that it became clear that this was the new normal – that our alternative had suddenly become the mainstream. This is obviously not a unique occurance in pop history, but being 14 at the time, the timing seemed just perfect, and Oasis’s triumphalism only helped, of course. They weren’t my favourite band, not even close, but the year ahead looked increasingly exciting. The odd thing now is thinking about how huge these two singles (and their b-sides of course) were in our consciousness at the time – and what minor footnotes they seem like now, between Live Forever and Wonderwall. Something about the winners writing the history, I suppose – or perhaps more to do with SMS / Whatever not being particularly good songs.

    A 5. Cigarettes & Alcohol would’ve been a 9.

    *You might not see the connection between these acts, but this was what the indie kids at my high school listened to in ’93 and ’94.

  17. 17
    will on 19 Jun 2013 #

    Re 8: Yes, I felt it was significant at the time too.

    I always ended up liking the early Oasis singles against my better judgement. Yes hopelessly retro, lyrically awful rip offs they might be. But then I’d find myself humming them on the bus the day after TOTP. And I’d find myself buying them – I think I bought this one in the week it was at Number One.

  18. 18
    Tom on 19 Jun 2013 #

    #11/#14 – I can’t really imagine how exciting Oasis must have been if you were a teenage boy at the time. I mean, I can, a bit – I was 16 in 1989, the year of the Stone Roses, not a band I have any time for now but I was swept up in it and definitely the idea of “our” group doing well in the world was part of that. But Oasis outgrew that context with WTSMG, for better or worse.

    I’d just turned 22 when this came out, was in my final term at University, a very happy time in general, and I saw Oasis in an almost opposite way – a “jumping-off point” almost, time to leave the weekly thresh of indie behind and investigate different things. It had been happening for a while, NME guitar bands were becoming less and less a part of my diet but Oasis accelerated it. I remember one “indie soc” disco we went to, around this time, and I counted seven different Oasis songs before I left (with still a couple hours to go). It seemed like the right time to step away.

    (By the time of [BUNNY] vs [BUNNYFOE] I’d left University and was looking for a job, by the time of Wonderwall I’d got one at the Music And Video Exchange and was happily listening to techno, japanese psychedelia, and anything else I trusted The Wire enough to try.)

  19. 19
    The Clapton Pond Regeneration Project on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I guess this is one of the few times the 1990s irony wars are actually relevant to a Popular discussion. It might as well be the Boer war. I hope people aren’t still thinking about it.

    As I see it, at the time you had to assume one of these positions:

    A. I like Oasis
    B. I like Blur (or Suede or Pulp or Elastica or whatever it’s not actually about Blur), or
    C. No, actually, I like Oasis

    Position C, in all of its ostentatious and tortured post-irony posturing, is about the most 1990s thing you could ever think. Why not just like Oasis?!? But on the other hand it still feels right to me. I guess it pulled in quite a few of the Pulp fans who thought Blur were a bit lame.

    I think some people must have attempted a Position D (post-post-irony?) but it took too long to explain and I wasn’t really listening and we were all listening to big beat by the time they’d finished.

    Anyway, Some Might Say is a fucking belter. I love this song.

    Is it true they are still seen as college rock in America? It almost suggests that our class system is over-complicated.

  20. 20
    wichita lineman on 19 Jun 2013 #

    After it’s Mama Weer All Crazee Now intro, Some Might Say moves through a slightly finger-wagging verse, but steps up powerfully at 1.10. This is one of Liam’s strongest vocal performances, maybe the best we’ll get on Popular (it’s astonishing how reedy his voice sounds now by comparison). The psych guitar part at 2.04, with its backwards lines bleeding into Teenage Fanclub/Big Star chunky psych/powerpop moves, is shifts strangely but intriguingly through some odd chord changes before heading back into the verse. I can hear thrilling, tuned feedback. The coda(s) don’t waste any time. There’s plenty of movement and layered guitar melodies throughout its five and a half minutes.

    Oasis would abandoned this kind of detailed approach, and play up their bludgeoning will to power, not long after. But Some Might Say has as many ideas and hooks as entire Oasis albums. It’s an 8, pushing for a 9.

    As no one has said so yet, I feel I should point out that with a 6 out of 10 in NME, and equally mediocre reviews elsewhere, Morning Glory got anything but a rapturous reception at the time. Oasis’ ascent to “biggest band ever” status was by no means assured at this point.

    As Weej has said, Some Might Say reaching no.1 felt like a long-delayed victory in the indie wars – The Wonderstuff getting to number one didn’t count – after the Stone Roses had knocked on the door before giving up in a depressingly lame manner. It didn’t feel like a retrograde no.1 to my ears. There was room in my life for this and Baby D.

    Re 10/13 There was a Who feature in Smash Hits in 1979 in which Pete Townshend walked up to a fan outside the Brighton venue where they were playing that night. “Do you know what time The Who are on?” Pete asked the parka-wearing kid. “Fuck off old man” or some such was the reply.

    Small Faces, Weller and (for different, but similar, ‘everything he does is genius’ reasons) Bowie fans put me off all of them for years and years. If I hadn’t seen the Stone Roses or Oasis early on* then I wonder how I’d feel about them. Same goes for a bunnied Welsh group.

    Re 19: C was the only option. B people still get my back up. They’re very playground-y.

    *apologies for peacock plumage

  21. 21
    lonepilgrim on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I bought the first Oasis album out of curiosity, having enjoyed the singles I’d heard, and I thought it was fun, throwaway pop-rock. I liked Wonderwall but couldn’t see the point in buying any more music with little sense of curiosity or development (IMO).
    I don’t mind listening to this – it reminds me of My Bloody Valentine sonically but with most of the mystery stripped out. Unlike Johnny Marr who seemed willing to use a variety of guitar FX, Oasis seemed content to go for overload and distortion and the lack of variety becomes wearing to me. The rhythm section aren’t that interesting either.

  22. 22
    Tom on 19 Jun 2013 #

    #20 another great comment, I should have tried harder to articulate the music – agree all that’s in there, but I think sacrificed a bit to the tempo and vocal melody. Liam saves it.

  23. 23
    fivelongdays on 19 Jun 2013 #

    @19 – My ex was American, and I’d say that, yes, they are seen as College Rock over there. A friend of hers (you’d probably say he was a hipster, except I don’t think the term was in use at the time – 2005ish – and he was a nice bloke) was pretty impressed that I’d seen them, and they had an alternative credibility that they lost over here at some point around Knebworth.

    @18 – They and [BUNNYFOE] (and Pulp, shame we can’t officially talk about them on Popular, but I suspect we will) meant the world to me when I was 13 (and, to a slightly lesser extent, 12 and 14). Reading the NME took me away from my Inbred Market Town and to a place of infinitely cool people. I vowed, when I was older, that not only would I meet these infinitely cool people, I would become one of them. Alas! I failed really rather miserably.

    I’d still say that, behind ‘Shakermaker’ (which is the song that opened all the doors for me), this is my favourite song of theirs, largely because it brings back the feelings of walking into school that Monday morning, feeling like I was one of the Gallaghers, and being very smug at someone who didn’t like Oasis (and who, inevitably, would end up as a massive fan of theirs) because – ha! – I Told You So.

    The other thing – and I should mention it here, I think, rather than later – is that this was the last Oasis single to sound like the Oasis I fell in love with. That can, in the main, be put down to it being Tony McCarroll’s last single with the band. Don’t laugh! He may have been a pretty mediocre drummer, but at least he was a pretty mediocre drummer who wasn’t deliberately trying to play like someone else.

  24. 24
    Nixon on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I still hate them. This is, what, 18 years ago now? And still I can’t gear anything special in it at all. I always feel like it’s me who’s at fault when it comes to Oasis, but there’s never been a single one of their songs I’ve heard without thinking it was total, irredeemable shit. All the talk of their ambition and egos and attitude and great tunes and confrontational voice-of-a-generation spirit, it goes whooshing over my head. All I hear is grey, lumpen sludge. Rot their bones forever.

  25. 25
    Izzy on 19 Jun 2013 #

    Before I listen to this again – and I must say I’m intrigued by the sonic descriptions thus far – it also felt like a watershed to me. Not just that it made no.1, but that there was no way it wasn’t making no.1 – and more to the point, they genuinely could’ve released anything and got to no.1. ‘Wibbling Rivalry’ anyone?

    And yet … I also remember being really deflated by it. One of our bands rules the world, and it’s with a song about nothing, lazy tossed-off rhymes, no real attitude to it. ‘Supersonic’, ‘Live Forever’, ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ and ‘Whatever’ were all far bolder statements. Of course, ‘Shaker Maker’ had already pulled that punch, and that was only their second single – even then, a sign that they didn’t quite know what they were doing.

    Ironically, I suspect that after fifteen years of growing contempt, it’s that last factor that’s going to lead me into being a lot fonder of them in Popular than I would be if this hit me in the abstract. Right, let’s do this.

  26. 26
    23 Daves on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I was an Oasis fan for awhile. I didn’t want to be, but I was. In fact, having dismissed the first single “Supersonic” as a piece of slightly more forceful post-baggy pop (think The Real People, Bedazzled or any number of other snarling northern indie kids struggling to get airplay outside of The Evening Session) I gave my guest list place at one of their early club gigs away to a very right-on female friend of mine. At the end of the gig, she overheard Liam say: “I’m off now to see if I can pull some birds!”
    “Ha ha! That’s his credibility down the spout!” she said to me the next day, and I laughed in agreement. That’s how out of touch we both were. We thought that by playing up to this image, Liam was damning the band’s indie career. After all, you wouldn’t have caught Brett Anderson coming out with things like that.

    Then I heard “Shakermaker” and was taken with its sheer force, even though that isn’t really widely considered to be a high watermark in the band’s catalogue anymore. Then “Live Forever”. “Live Forever” really hooked me for a very long time indeed. I had a student job working as a data entry clerk for a High Street bank, and we’d listen to Radio One while working and turn the station up as soon as that track came on. Nobody thought it should sit in the background. Then “Definitely Maybe”, which I struggled to fault… and in my defence, I have to say that I loved all this material in spite of myself. I was a rather boring, pretentious, hand-wringing, spotty youth, not someone who looked up to the attitude of the Gallaghers or (I think) they’d have wanted to appeal to.

    Then “Whatever”… I accept that it’s probably not as good as I felt it was at the time, but right at that moment it felt euphoric, sounding like a vital soundtrack to me as a very young man finally beginning to enjoy life for the first time since childhood (Though these days I accept that ELO did much the same kind of string-laden, feelgood adult pop far better. As a man in my early twenties I’d temporarily abandoned my childhood love of Jeff Lynne’s merry men, and perhaps “Whatever” appealed to a side of me I was stupidly trying to suppress).

    I thought “Some Might Say” was going to be astounding. That’s what they were building towards, right? Well, not really. I’ve always thought of this as being something of a mis-step, a number one purely because the band were due a chart-topper at this point. The production of it, in particular, irked me – all compression and treble screeching around the main tune, trying to force you to think of it as being more than it is, the audio equivalent of a bland man wearing a big jokey tie with cartoon characters on. It sounds both loud and despondent, but what is it despondent about? The lyrics offer no clues. It’s the buzz of a dirty great dying fly.

    Everything about the track seemed faintly half-arsed. The band didn’t produce a proper video for it, so apparently just dumped some cobbled together Super 8 footage on The Chart Show’s doorstep and left it at that. In those pre-Morning Glory times, some of us actually thought the volatile band, for all their bluster, might actually be giving up. It didn’t knock the socks off anyone I knew and offered no hints of what was to come next.

    For all my criticisms, it’s a passable single, but passable isn’t what I expected from the band then. It would be a bumpy, uneven ride from this point forward, and by the time I got struck on the head by a plastic bottle filled with piss watching them at Finsbury Park (right at the precise moment where the band were playing a dreary dirge about Noel Gallagher’s divorce) I wondered what I ever saw in them. But that’s some way into the future, taking place around the time of one particular bunnyable track.

  27. 27
    Another Pete on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I remember seeing the Supersonic video on the Chart Show around the time I was revising for my GCSEs, little did I know a year later that said band would prompt most lads my age to buy guitars and ‘get into music’ over the coming year. From about the Easter of 1995 onwards Oasis had help spawn an army of Ben Sherman shirted A-level aged buskers. The guitar songbook section in the local Virgin Megastore moved out of the dusty corner near the stockroom entrance to a more prominent place and increased threefold. British Guitar music was back in the spotlight.

    Personally even in May 1995 I just found them overplayed. Every other song on the jukebox was one of theirs (#18 Tom you are far from alone in that indie disco experience). By the time the much hyped battle of the bands came around 3 months later I was sick of them. Retrospectively whether I like it or not they were the soundtrack to that first year of college and the long summer of ’95, like Mancunian accented tinnitus.

  28. 28
    tonya on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I’ve always loved this and Liam is great on it. As an American, I could enjoy Oasis and Blur and Pulp and not worry about where I was aligned. My favorite Oasis memory is bonding with a girlfriend of mine about how we preferred Noel despite everyone saying Liam was the attractive one.

  29. 29
    Mark M on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I understand that Oasis meant a lot to many people over the years (but then, that’s always going to happen with at least a few acts you can’t stand, unless there aren’t any acts you can’t stand). And I know that people I respect, like the Lineman, can hear something in them, but I never could, not past fleeting seconds. I sort of got why people liked Cigarettes & Alcohol (the bump & grind of the guitars), and the vaguely Hüsker Dü-ish trajectory of Acquiesce, and even the [BUNNYABLE QUALITIES] of [BUNNIED SINGLE]. But mostly, god no, those churning, lifeless guitars, the plodding rhythms and, as much as anything, Liam’s vocals. That wearying whine – couldn’t bear it from the start. People talk about the energy, but Oasis records always felt tired and tiring to me from the start.
    Yes, they could both be fleetingly amusing in interviews, but essentially they were both pro-stupidity, ignorance, cultural conservatism. They seem as far as you could possibly get from, say, Little Richard both in terms of spirit and musical dynamics, and that’s not what I want(ed) from the rocky end of pop.
    I was 24 at the time, and rapidly losing interest in guitar bands – I was mostly writing about hip hop for Select by this point, although I did review Supergrass’s I Should Coco, which came out that month. I was already not enjoying trying to be a music journalist, but the rise to hegemonic position of Oasis certainly made it worse.

  30. 30
    Nixon on 19 Jun 2013 #

    Pretty much word for word what Mark M said. (Except I’m ten years younger, and never wrote for Select.)

    I wish I could hear this, and their other singles, with other people’s ears; even now, reading the comments above, I’m jealous of what I seem to be missing. I spent a decade wishing I could bring myself to like Oasis, mainly because I want to hear what their fans (and the journalists who enabled them) are hearing in these records – on paper, Oasis read like an awesome stew of sex and power and hooks and tunes and attitude and sweat and noise and fuckin’ in the bushes. But on record… I can’t hear any of that.

    (Actually, what I said up there about every Oasis song being irredeemably shit isn’t *completely* true. The closest any Oasis song has ever come to moving me (soul or feet) would be the very much-maligned “Little James”, the simplistic nursery rhyme Liam wrote for his stepson – one of my friends made me listen to the whole of “Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants” (I mean, come on, there’s being proud of your ignorance and there’s whatever the fuck is happening with that title), and the only time I detected any vestige of feeling, anything at all to latch on to for that feeling of common humanity, was Liam singing a nice story for a child, (something like) “We’ll sail out to sea / Your mum, you, and me”, and meaning it, doing something honest, just for a few odd seconds but enough to spark some kind of recognition. I gather that is widely considered the worst song Oasis ever recorded, which rather confirms I just don’t “get” them at all.)

  31. 31
    Mark M on 19 Jun 2013 #

    I should say, in fairness, that Some Might Say is far from Oasis at their worst.

    Re: 26, when they first appeared, to me too, Oasis seemed like Madchester revivalists, sub-Roses/Inspirals music aligned with Mondays-ish stabs at surrealism (it wasn’t instantly clear yet that they were on a Lennon tip). They turned out to be rockier and more rockist than I would have guessed after Shakermaker.

  32. 32
    Andrew Farrell on 20 Jun 2013 #

    I’m not sure how I didn’t notice it before, but 1:55 into the rendition of Acquiesce on The White Room has Liam bearing a striking resemblance to a fellow that we’ll see very shortly, and in a related context.

  33. 33
    will on 20 Jun 2013 #

    Re 26: Funny you should mention about the production. I completely disagree. I love the fact that towards the end it sounds like the band are playing in a wind tunnel with everything turned up to 11.

  34. 34
    swanstep on 20 Jun 2013 #

    it reminds me of My Bloody Valentine sonically but with most of the mystery stripped out.
    This, although the exact invidious comparison this track suggested to me was Ride’s Today and perhaps some JAMC. Liam’s vocals are pulled fairly far back in the mix a la shoegazers and proto-shoegazers, the ‘brighter day’ noodly lyrics aren’t a million miles removed from Today’s, and SMS’s official vid. owes a lot to JAMC’s visuals. [Note that in his enthusiastic account of the Shoegaze wave (Sound Opinions ep #371), Jim DeRogatis opines that Ride (singer and guitarist) Andy Bell ending up playing bass for Oasis is like John Lennon being tapped to play bass for Herman’s Hermits (‘*So* wrong…’). That’s nasty, and possibly crazy, but SMS is where that sniping remark hits home I think.]

    I guess I never heard, and still don’t hear the bounty of ideas on SMS that Wichita does – its lineages were/are clear and the sense of things being dumbed down, de-poeticized, while at the same time made bluntly louder and more shouty is just depressing.

    And yet, and yet, there’s a killer hook here: that ‘Yeah’ (first at 1:28) leading into the second chorus pattern (or main chorus pattern depending on how you divide things up) does – gracefully, with minimal effort, without blowing anything into pastiche – ring the ‘She Loves You’ bell. We hear it as something we’ve missed even though we didn’t know it; the mating call of the UK pop masses or something. And, yes, there’s something soulful about Liam’s voice and Noel’s even more so on the B-sides that’s compelling. So, despite my grumpy reservations this is a 7 I’d say. Tellingly, not enough to crack anywhere much outside the UK. It would take Wonderwall’s classier drum parts (Alan White for once off the leash) to set off the hooks more to change that.

  35. 35
    Patrick Mexico on 20 Jun 2013 #

    Ah, this lot. At last. Looks like fun.

    94-98, aged 9-13, loved this lot – the first guitar band who stirred any emotion in me. After that.. :makes squealing tyre noises.: But I can write a book on that – much more on that later.

    Re #29: Yes! Someone else finally has the inspirasheeeeon to say what I’ve been thinking for years: early Oasis are sonically the wayward cousins of Hüsker Dü. (And, much as they wouldn’t like to admit it, many of grunge/alt-rock, Supersonic shares a broody outlawness with Come As You Are, and er.. if you speed this up “chipmunk” style on the old Windows Sound Recorder, the outro sounds exactly like the Pixies’ [fantastic] Debaser. Though back then, they considered such material “far too smelly for us” and “coming over here, smackin’ up saying they hate themselves and want to die.. Not fookin’ having that”.. Salty humour but already expressing a brutal, back-to-basics revisionism that would eventually be Britpop’s undoing. Also, it’s hard to believe the Gallaghers had even *heard of* anyone from Our Band Could Be Your Life back in ’95.. But making it sound :accidentally: like Siamese Dream or New Day Rising is infinitely better than
    :deliberately: being a Revolver/Exile on Main Street facsimile. Mr Gillespie, the nurse will see you now..)

    But anyway – listening to Turn on the News from Zen Arcade straight after this, saw an unlikely common bond between the ‘Sis and HD – spot-welding timeless melodies onto glam-racket machismo, sharing a lyrical fixation on teenage bravado, desperate escape from the 9-5, and “guttersnipe surrealism.” Of course, SMS lacks the latter quality inherent in most of Definitely Maybe and Acquiesce – the lyrics are scattergun pseudo-existential cheddar*. But when there’s this primal bombast, this sound of a then “indie” band actually enjoying themselves AND wanting the world rather than wanting to be alone, and a chorus only beaten for giddy bubblegum joy that year by Weezer’s Buddy Holly, it’s a simple, effective and soul-cleansingly terrific record.

    8.

    *”Fishes / dishes” – No. Just no. Yet “It’s overflowing gently / But it’s all elementary, my friend” may be a better lyric than any of the other bands in this post wrote..

  36. 36
    Kinitawowi on 20 Jun 2013 #

    I never quite got Oasis at the time. Northwest Norfolk was not exactly a hotbed of musical growth and development, and I think I was 14 and had other things going on (somewhere around here was the point where certain parental relationships, already rocky, started to collapse completely); I didn’t own a CD player (couldn’t afford one) but refused to buy tapes any more; my music knowledge consisted of my sister’s collection (she got a new stereo for her birthday one year, the lucky cow) which mostly meant Take That and her peculiar fondness for the next bunny on the list, and the glory days of LW Atlantic 252.

    So Oasis as cultural and musical Event, while obvious in hindsight (I wrote in The Matter Of Britain about the sudden switch to new entries at number one becoming the norm, and here we are), more or less passed me by. My sister’s boyfriend listened to them on occasion, and I loved Champagne Supernova in all its lunacy, but this is one I have no recollection of at the time.

    It’s okay, I guess. The main reason I hear it now is through playing Guitar Hero, which I understand is the only way to listen to the full length version, and subsequently damn it feels long, probably because of some of the aforementioned swampyness. A very average 5.

    Also worth noting as the only number one on the first disc of Now! 31, which truly had the most beautiful cover art of them all.

  37. 37
    Tom on 20 Jun 2013 #

    A question that occurred to me last night – did any bands try for the Full English Beatles experience between “Sowing The Seeds Of Love” and “Whatever”? (The comparison was a handy student bar trolling tactic back in the day).

  38. 38
    wichita lineman on 20 Jun 2013 #

    NOW! watch: Oasis’ third appearance, after Cigarettes & Alcohol (NOW 29) and Whatever (NOW 30) was on disc one of NOW 31, sandwiched between Portishead and the Weezer single mentioned earlier by Patrick. I have no memory of the opening track:

    Wet Wet Wet : “Don’t Want to Forgive Me Now”
    Edwyn Collins : “A Girl Like You”
    Pulp : “Common People”
    Supergrass : “Alright”
    Shaggy featuring Rayvon : “In the Summertime”
    Ini Kamoze : “Here Comes the Hotstepper”
    Dana Dawson : “3 Is Family”
    Jam & Spoon featuring Plavka : “Right in the Night”
    East 17 : “Hold My Body Tight”
    Boyzone : “Key to My Life”
    Seal : “Kiss from a Rose”
    Kirsty MacColl : “Days”
    The Human League : “One Man in My Heart”
    Portishead : “Sour Times”
    Oasis : “Some Might Say”
    Weezer : “Buddy Holly”
    Del Amitri : “Roll to Me”
    EMF with Reeves & Mortimer : “I’m a Believer”
    Duran Duran : “White Lines (Don’t Do It)”
    Jimmy Somerville : “Hurt So Good”

  39. 39
    James BC on 20 Jun 2013 #

    I wish you’d redacted that Del Amitri song, I’ve got it stuck in my head now. It was never off Atlantic 252 (except when the Connells were on).

  40. 40
    punctum on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #37: “Avenue”?

  41. 41
    Mark G on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #36, you think this version is long? Get the Japanese CD single, it’s the only place you will find Noel Gallagher’s demo version. It’s very like the finished article, except it’s muddier and slower, and by default longer. Oh, and Noel sings it, obviously.

  42. 42
    Cumbrian on 20 Jun 2013 #

    Awful lot of good comments here – some unexpected that I need to think about (I’m not, for instance, getting any layering on this but would bow to WL’s assessment at this point – I probably need to listen again) and some that were predictable (which is not to say they’re inaccurate or unfair). It feels like Oasis have been discussed over and over again for nearly 20 years, so it is unsurprising that some well worn positions are surfacing here – we’ve all had a lot of time and opportunity to work out what we think, I guess.

    Two other thoughts – don’t know about other bands going Full Beatles between TFF and Oasis but I would say that I love “Sowing The Seeds Of Love” and even though, in some respects, it’s a silly comparison, reckon it better than pretty much all of Sgt Pepper. Yes, it’s better than (some of) The Beatles.

    That Now 31 is one of the few ones I actually bought. I don’t remember the WWW song either, I think I probably always started it on Track 2 actually. That Duran Duran cover was certainly…memorable is probably the most charitable way of putting it.

  43. 43
    anto on 20 Jun 2013 #

    re37: I’m not really familiar with their work but World Party were frequently compared to 66-67 Beatles. Karl Wallinger rather like Neil Finn was championed by Q magazine in the period before Oasis came along not least because his songwriting was viewed as being appealingly out of time. The implication seemed to be that there was something of the spirit of the sixties in his approach.

  44. 44
    punctum on 20 Jun 2013 #

    World Party were more Ray Davies than anything. “Is It Like Today?” always reminded me of China Crisis, though.

  45. 45
    Chelovek na lune on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #37 At a stretch the Lilac Time at “All For Love & Love For All” (& other tracks on the parent album), maybe

  46. 46
    The Clapton Pond Regeneration Project on 20 Jun 2013 #

    One of my favourite hobbies is finding the actual, scientifically proven, best bits of artists careers. (F’rinstance Blondie’s is in Union City Blue where she goes “Arrive, climb up four flights”.)

    I think the way Liam says “ra-ai-in” in Some Might Say is Oasis’s.

    It’s not quite their best song but that’s definitely the best bit. Liam sings “rain” the way Danny Baker says your parents say your name when they’re angry with you: with a bend in. “DA-AN!” etc.

    Rain, with a bend in. This is England!

  47. 47
    swanstep on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #37, Tom. Maybe King’s X’s Legal Kill and It’s Love back in 1990? XTC’s Skylarking and Oranges and Lemons albums have always felt quite Beatles-wannabe to me although their own personality is so strong that maybe the comparison’s pointless. Please Be Upstanding!

  48. 48
    will on 20 Jun 2013 #

    My favourite bit is the off mic ‘woo’ before Noel’s final solo into the fade.

  49. 49
    Patrick Mexico on 20 Jun 2013 #

    I stand by my 8/10, though my mark could have dropped considerably had this been released three or more years later. Mostly due to Oasis being a band who then seemed to coexist peacefully with the PulpSuedeElastica axis, rather than a lumbering juggernaut barging everybody else off the highway into a fetid ravine of lighters-in-the-air dadrock. In fact, the loud, sneering, rockist Oasis is far more likeable and true to themselves than their other identity as jangling, sub-Rutles, provincial open-mic night bores. Reminds me of why, er, Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses sacrificed any sense of decadent fun or backbone writing power ballads. (And any other 80s glam-metal act you care to mention, it’s like “dressing the Incredible Hulk as a ballerina” as someone said of KISS going disco.)

    This early, it doesn’t matter if it’s out of tune [or the lyrics don’t make sense] because they’re cool. Sometimes that’s all you need – hardly something an entire career can dine out on, though after a quite dire start to 1995, this follows Back for Good’s palate-cleansing sophisticated starter with a big, bold, unpretentious gentle giant of a mixed grill main course. Though we’ve got a slightly indulgent dessert coming up next which is even better..

    This has been a terrific thread – thanks to everyone who contributed, this needed it more than most as you destroyed the theory that one can’t shed any new light on Oasis. And an even more exciting one to come at the opposite end of summer.

  50. 50
    Chelovek na lune on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #47. Yep, those XTC albums came to my mind too…but Oranges and Lemons already predates The Seeds of Love…and is thus disqualified by the terms of the set question ;).

    (Still, any excuse for a link to the Mayor of Simpleton is welcome)

    (Also: sort of too much, The La’s: but even the first release of “There She Goes” well predates Tears For Fears transient reinvention)

  51. 51
    punctum on 20 Jun 2013 #

    Songs that sound like the Searchers and mention Jason Donovan – not a fan of “There She Goes.”

  52. 52
    James BC on 20 Jun 2013 #

    One question about Oasis: what about them, specifically, do people think sounds like the Beatles? Which Beatles songs do they have in mind?

  53. 53
    Nixon on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #52 A similar sort of question (what Beatles songs do people mean when they call something “Beatlesque”) was raised and answered when discussing Hello Goodbye, but in Oasis’ case, I’ve often thought people were picking up on something buried in the DNA of I Want To Hold Your Hand, particularly the guitar and not-very-harmonious harmony sweeps on the “I can’t hide / I can’t hide / I CAN’T HIDE” bit.

  54. 54

    Well, the 2008 LP Dig Out Your Soul* is almost literally a jigsaw of nothing but Beatle (and post-Beatle) lyrics and arrangments — if I have a moment between now and the final Oasibunny I will detail the full which & how of this (if not the why).

    (*Which is the only one I really know. I had a plan to write something about DOYS and Chinese Democracy which never got anywhere — The Return oF ROCK!! or some such — so I listened to it a *lot* in 2009.)

  55. 55
    Tom on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #52: http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2006/07/the-beatles-hello-goodbye/ discusses the related question – which BEATLES songs “sound like the Beatles”?

  56. 56

    by “post-Beatle” I mean solo Beatle

  57. 57
    Auntie Beryl on 20 Jun 2013 #

    They’re not of the UK persuasion, but Jellyfish drew heavily from The Beatles on ‘Bellybutton’ (’91) and ‘Spilt Milk’ (’93) and ended up sounding like the Raspberries, Wings, ELO, and all manner of immediately post-Beatles bands.

    Amazingly we will, indirectly, have cause to discuss them much later on…

  58. 58
    will on 20 Jun 2013 #

    Re 52: Well, the last 20 seconds of She’s Electric is a note for note rip from the last 20 secs of With A Little Help From My Friends

  59. 59
    swanstep on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #52. Rain and Ticket To Ride are the two I hear traces of all over early Oasis (but there’s Imagine in some particular songs, Hey Jude in others, She Loves You in still others, and a kind of indirect Tomorrow-Never-Knows-ism taken from Ride et al. – or so it seems to me).

  60. 60
    MikeMCSG on 20 Jun 2013 #

    I saw the “Supersonic” video in 94 as the last item on The Chart Show , thought these look alright and was then instantly disappointed by the mediocre music. That’s pretty much defined my relationship to them ever since despite friends going apeshit over them in 95-6. And as a big Inspiral Carpets fan there’s always been a certain resentment at their being so comprehensively outgunned by their roadie.

  61. 61
    Tom on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #59 and a pretty bloody direct Tomorrow Never Knows-ism in another Gallagher song we’ll be talking about.

  62. 62
    weej on 20 Jun 2013 #

    This may have been done to death, but let’s not forget that with Whatever they managed to rip off one Neil Innes.

  63. 63
    wichita lineman on 20 Jun 2013 #

    Re 60: Inspirals also outgunned by their pre-superstar DJ, Paul Van Dyk. Poor lambs.

  64. 64
    James BC on 20 Jun 2013 #

    Thanks for these replies, and in particular the direction to the Hello Goodbye thread. Someone there mentions And Your Bird Can Sing (great song) which I think is the best shout for a Beatles song that might be a precursor to Oasis’s overall sound. But how representative is it of the Beatles?

  65. 65
    Alan not logged in on 20 Jun 2013 #

    (My own experience of Oasis is common… the early ‘this sounds exciting’ slid into general dislike quite quickly. Live Forever and Shaker Maker, sure, but then this continues in the same vein? Couldn’t stick Definitely Maybe, gave it away to a housemate who loved them. But as that implies I did BUY it. Same flatmate also got the Kula Shaker album. Oh yes.)

    “Effortless’. A word I heard a lot at the time in relation to some of the consciously backwards-looking bands of the time, including those I loved (Elastica) and Oasis. I clearly remember Mark Radcliffe pulling this description out a lot for the latter. I love the idea of effortless pop, and I’ll even stick up for the idea of lazy musical creations to the point where I mark down reviews using “lazy” off-handedly in a derogatory manner.

  66. 66
    Tom on 20 Jun 2013 #

    #65 this was consciously encouraged by Noel G himself, who presented himself as an inexhaustible fountain of self-proclaimed classics that came naturally to him – like that one? I just wrote five better this weekend and wait ’til you hear THOSE. Again, some of the fans must have loved that stuff, and it tied up with the idea that their B-Sides etc were even better.

  67. 67
    Izzy on 20 Jun 2013 #

    It was a big feature of the early interviews, that he had 200 songs written and ready to drop. Listen to something half-formed like ‘Alive’ (b-side to Shaker Maker iirc) which appeared effortless in demo form and as far as I know they never even bothered to record properly, and the claim seemed believable.

    But then after Morning Glory it turned out the cupboard was dry and he admitted as much. I remembered the early claim and – oh naïveté! – felt kind of cheated, and bewildered that anyone would actually barefaced lie like that. I wonder if my life would’ve turned out differently if I’d employed such chutzpah as a trouserless oik. Certainly those that do never seem to have to face consequences.

  68. 68
    Mark G on 20 Jun 2013 #

    Well, when you write songs as a kid, then eventually get to write songs for records, it’s tempting to add up all the ones that went before.

    One that springs to mind is “Badj”, a song about (Better) badge culture, that was on some demo tape that went for a fortune at auction. I dare say that was one of many that Noel had no intention of reviving when things got desperate!

  69. 69
    swanstep on 21 Jun 2013 #

    As Alan McGee tells the story, Noel had two full albums plus written, i.e., essentially every song we know up to the end of Morning Glory, when he signed Oasis (and he says he was nervous about Be Here Now since Noel was writing his first new songs in 3-4 years, now living a very different lifestyle, etc.).

    Now, 40 songs (plus a few unreleasable early efforts as per Mark G’s example) isn’t 200 but it’s still an extraordinary backlog/reservoir to have built up, and, having roadied, Noel would have been *well* aware that most bands aren’t like that (closer to the norm: Radiohead touring to support Pablo Honey and having to play Creep twice in their sets because they only had 14 songs or whatever it was). So perhaps we can forgive Noel his arrogance and exaggeration. Indeed, everything would have been fine if only he’d continued writing, developing after success hit.

  70. 70
    mapman132 on 21 Jun 2013 #

    My first exposure to Oasis came in the fall of 1994 when UK Chart Attack (any other Americans on here remember that show?) played a certain song and my reaction was along the lines of “OMG, someone turned the Coca-Cola song into modern rock”. By the time Supersonic and Live Forever made it to US modern rock radio a few months later, I was hooked. Oasis was actually my favorite band in the world for a short period 1995-96. And then it all seemed to fall apart…but that’s a story for later.
    As far as SMS goes, I know it only as an album track as it was never released as a single or promoted to radio over here. Wonderwall was far and away their biggest US hit – actually made Billboard’s Top 10 (still hard to believe no bunny is necessary here). Several lesser hits followed in 1996-97, but then their US popularity collapsed pretty suddenly. I actually have a theory that Oasis and a certain girl group were partially to blame for the UK’s historical slump on the US charts over the decade following, but again, that’s all yet to come…

  71. 71
    Mark G on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #69 Well, I sort of take your point about when a band has a shortage of songs, but every songwriter I’ve ever known has a massive back-page selection of stuff written from age of three onwards, it’s very easy to say “I’ve got 400 songs”, as I know I (personally) have also, but things like [lists some very early songs I wrote when 13 or less, then thought better of it then deleted the titles from this message, carry on] were unformed and only ever ‘jotted down’.

    Anyway, there’s a certain Beatle album that has sleevenotes that reckoned John and Paul to have enough songs already that if they wrote no more, they had anough to take then up to 1974.

    Oh look, the Beatles. Did anyone else mention them already?

  72. 72

    NG: “I have 200 songs written and ready to drop… ”
    LG: ” … but they’re all fooking shit.”

    ^^^The veto problem probably also applied in the John&Paul situation. Also the George/Ringo-not-earning-from-Lennon/McCartney-songwriting-credits problem, which contributed greatly to the bust-up.

  73. 73
    Conrad on 21 Jun 2013 #

    its testimony to their powers of persuasion that people invariably mention the Beatles when discussing Oasis’ influences. Yes, that’s the comparison the Gallaghers wanted to be made. And sure they obviously loved them, and indeed half inched various chord sequences and stylistic devices from them. But they were really much closer in sound and feel to Slade.

    I never got beyond mildly interested – most of the 94 singles were pretty good, even the Rutles one. But by 95 it was sounding pretty one dimensional. And the bass player never did anything, so they never grooved. The essential sex part of rock n roll that the Stones had in spades was missing.

    And there were so many more musically interesting things happening among their peers. Next to Dog Man Star for instance Def May sounded very pedestrian.

    SMS is ok though, and Liam’s voice as many have pointed out is still the best bit about them at this stage.

    A word on the cover art – its terrible. Brian Cannon and Microdot were stealing a living beyond the first couple of Verve records

  74. 74

    Slade have a much stronger groove, also. (And are generally much better and very undervalued.)

  75. 75
    Tom on 21 Jun 2013 #

    I think – and I raised Beatles Band in this context in my review – you also have to take outcomes a bit into account. Oasis weren’t “bigger than the Beatles” because they never dominated global pop in the way they dominated domestic pop, but they were COLOSSAL, the Spice Girls the only music phenomenon to touch them in the UK over this period.

    & this is one of the most interesting things about them, from a wanky meta-critical POV. Acts’ later critical reputations – very crudely – rest on three factors: were they popular? were they “influential”? were they good? And the level of respect and tone of later discussion rests on which they tick – some popular but not good, some influential and good but not popular, some all three. Influential and good usually go hand in critical hand, because of the ‘written by the winners’ effect. And Oasis are a band whose critical rep is as massively popular AND massively influential but the ‘good’ part is still very much up in the air, mostly because they went on so long (the one thing Gallagher SHOULD have copied from Paul Weller was splitting early).

    Obviously Noel G doesn’t give much of a monkeys about what critics think, but as a critic the fall and rise of critical reputations is very interesting to me, and Oasis (still) divides opinion far more than any band in their genre with that level of success.

  76. 76
    Cumbrian on 21 Jun 2013 #

    The general sense I am getting from the thread is that the first of the three factors Tom mentions in #75 is a real issue for a lot of people. If Oasis hadn’t been so country buggeringly popular, I suspect that they would be held in slightly more critical esteem than they are (more is the point, if opinion is divided on Oasis, it seem like it is between “they were crap/a nothing” and “the first album/two albums were good and the rest was crap/a nothing” – I actually quite like their penultimate album and the first half of the last one though, so I don’t know where that places me). But since they were incredibly big, and their music was played ad infinitum at indie discos and they were all over the news, soundtracking TV shows and so on, they quickly wore out their welcome, to the point where those who are anti have a really visceral reaction to their hegemony. If Oasis had been only as big as Gene and hadn’t precipitated a load of other culturally conservative bands, I think we would be looking back at them going, they were a bit of an outlier to the quirky art school stuff. They might even be looked on fondly as something that was a point of difference in the Britpop scene.

    There is generally a backlash to massive popularity nowadays. It makes The Beatles seem even more out of time to someone like me, born in the 80s. They actually managed to be the biggest band on the planet AND the critical consensus is that they were amazing. It might have something to do with the Internet providing voices to the dissenters much more easily (but that seems a little too pat to me – there must be something deeper than that going on).

    Slightly separate point: I can hear the Slade comparison musically but was thinking last night that, from a cultural point of view, they were more like Dire Straits (though much less technically skilled). Dire Straits were huge, loved by masses of people who, from my understanding, basically only liked Dire Straits, and only ever produced stuff at mid-tempo or below. Dire Straits also produced one enormo-album that is probably not as good as their early work and ploughed pretty much the same furrow their entire career, not really challenging their audience. I’ve obviously been pretty selective in my reading – but I think there are parallels there.

    Reading this back, I suspect a lot of these thoughts are half formed. Hopefully someone can help me shape them – or I’ll go back to thinking about Oasis far too much for someone who should be working.

  77. 77
    Mark G on 21 Jun 2013 #

    THe Beatles’ ‘fallow’ period has been glossed over in retrospect, mainly because of their ‘ahead-of-timeness’ of a lot of it. Things like “Within you without you” were looked at as being “the boring one before the rest of Side 2” but now it seems a lot more contemporary than most of the rest of it.

    Their last tour of the USA struggled to sell out, “Magical Mystery Tour” was not understood, they ‘looked odd’ and sounded strange.

    Then “Hey Jude” came out and they suddenly looked lke the Beatles again.

    Anyway, most of that belongs on the HJude page, maybe,

    I liked “Don’t believe the truth” more than “Morning Glory”. Maybe even “Dig Out”, but I didn’t play that one much.

    Noel was sussed enough to not worry about critical acclaim once the money arrived, and Oasis were past the point of ubiquity. Having said that, it was the one thing he envied Damon Albarn for…

  78. 78
    Mark G on 21 Jun 2013 #

    The other “three-way” rule for bands’ impetus to keep going, has been broken down into having two out of three from:

    1) Critical Acclaim
    2) Audience Appreciation
    3) Personal Artistic Satisfaction

    With 2) comes the money, with 1 comes the praise…

  79. 79
    Cumbrian on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #78 Not having 3) can kill a band off though, even in the presence of 1 and 2, right? Unfortunately it can also be literally fatal, dependent on the personality involved (Kurt Cobain had 1 and 2 in spades for instance – not that his demise was all about him not having personal artistic satisfaction, although, it was part of it, if his suicide note is to be accepted at face value).

  80. 80

    4) being able still to stand each others’ stupid faces/voices/ideas is not ungermane sometimes

  81. 81
    Mark G on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #78 Yeah, but it explains why (let’s say for instance) Status Quo still can carry on doing well-paid gigs. Kurt? I think he overdosed on too much artistic satisfaction…

    The reason bands split can be down to many reasons outside the three things, but the reason bands stay together (in theory) come down to having positive ratings on a sliding scale of two of the three, and not being too much of a low (or negative) rating on the third..

    And next on the open university…

  82. 82
    Izzy on 21 Jun 2013 #

    Dire Straits? No! I love Dire Straits – in their craft and pleasance they are an antiOasis of sorts.

    Yet you might not be too far off in your cultural assessment. I’d maybe raise you with fellow Live Aiders Queen though, in raising a storm that just went on and on, a world to itself regardless of fashion.

    Though actually, Simon Cowell might be the perfect twin behemoth. A genuinely fresh old idea, spawning imitators and run into the ground through repetition, soon enough running out of any reason to still exist but ploughing on regardless.

  83. 83
    Tom on 21 Jun 2013 #

    Yeah my triangle was more about after the band have ceased to be and live only in the hallowed halls of MOJO – though I guess it could have an impact on the shape and content of reunions ;)

    “Its popularity proves its worth” and “Its popularity proves its mediocrity” are two contradictory arguments which BOTH have at times been very popular in pop music, and play out differently at different times (and in other media too) (web culture is fascinated by popularity).

    How they play out is a long-term fascination of mine – I think you’re right that “This band is massive, they must be good” was A Thing in the Beatles era and then fell out of favour in rock (hip-hop works differently) – and Oasis are actually a bit of a break point here, after them you get an awful lot of guitar bands and singer-songwriters whose popularity is an issue not an endorsement.

  84. 84
    Tom on 21 Jun 2013 #

    The genre name elephant in this particular room is DADROCK obviously.

  85. 85
    Mark G on 21 Jun 2013 #

    Is it a genre name, or a way of lumping everything together and flushing it away?

  86. 86
    Cumbrian on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #82 For what it’s worth, I quite like both Dire Straits (give me a bit of Making Movies or Love Over Gold please) and Queen too. One of the main criticisms that can be leveled at Oasis and DS is that they never really developed their sounds (I’ve never understood this – I treat both bands like AC/DC and The Ramones, i.e. if this is what I want I’ll go there; if not, I’ll listen to someone else, as I have that choice – development is not necessarily something that I find all that important – though it may add a bit of spice to bands I already like, the fact that I can put their records down if their not developing is pretty crucial to my not getting tired of some bands) but Queen were a bit more all over the map.

    I think that the thing that links Oasis, Dire Straits, Queen and a number of other bands (Led Zep? The Darkness? Some others presumably) is somehow becoming a People’s Band, connecting with a bunch of people that either didn’t read music magazines (Led Zep famously got some quite bad reviews) or couldn’t care less what they said if they did. Cowell’s progeny presumably fall into a similar category. I wonder if this is something that irks the serious music lover and thus plays into the loud pejorative views of all these bands from certain quarters (But…but…can’t you see. they’re pedestrian and conservative and all this other stuff is better – to which lots of people say, whatevs).

  87. 87
    Tom on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #86 As I understand it the core of the Oasis objection is that their sound started off pretty developed and then kind of devolved :) But I will have plenty more opportunities to find out.

  88. 88
    Cumbrian on 21 Jun 2013 #

    Well, maybe. There’s obviously massive bunny potential here in terms of talking about how Oasis might or might not have progressed.

  89. 89
    tm on 21 Jun 2013 #

    Noel G’s songwriting style actually seemed to subtely change for the worse: there was a yearning quality to some of their earlier work (esp many of those much-vaunted B-sides-that-should’ve-been-A-sides) speaking to the teary romantic inside the drunken lads. This is just about intact with Some Might Say and reaches a sort of November Rain apex with an (I think bunnyable) example coming up in a few years. They were songs that sounded great roared out by a footy crowd but they were songs that sounded great as you struggled to master the basic chords on your first acoustic guitar in your bedroom or half-heard through a car window.

    By Morning Glory, though, Noel’s had two years of crowds roaring his songs back at him and he’s got slack and lazy: fame and wealth and cocaine and acclaim* killed what vulnerability might have existed in his bullish psyche (*Oasis were iirc pretty well-regarded critically at the time as nerdy middle-class music journos tried to get down with ‘ver lads’ until the great Oasis crash of ’98…of which more in context). Quite simply, soon after this, he went from writing songs which sound great roared out by a footy crowd to writing songs which sound good only because he could rely on huge footy crowds of lads to come to his gigs and roar his songs back at him.

  90. 90
    tm on 21 Jun 2013 #

    Slightly off-topic but do people think Dire Straits are held in such contempt because of the yuppie association of the 80s. If not for that, would Mark Knopfler be seen as a British Bruce Springsteen, writing well-crafted stadium songs about the trials and tribulations of ordinary men and women?

  91. 91
    But Why? on 21 Jun 2013 #

    A big difference between Oasis and Dire Straits is that a decade after Brothers in Arms they were gone. I grew up in the 90’s and never heard of them at this point. A decade after Morning Glory Oasis were still filling stadiums and having hit albums. This is despite nearly everyone thinking their best work was long in the past. I remember the Gallagher’s being interviewed in the NME around this time and they slagged off most of the new indie bands at the time and they were taken seriously as if young bands should strive to get the Oasis seal of approval. I doubt if Noddy Holder had started having a go at the likes of Adam Ant in the early 80’s that he would have been indulged to the same extent. I liked some of their 2000’s work but their was far to much hype still hanging around them. An awful lot of people never moved on.

  92. 92
    Cumbrian on 21 Jun 2013 #

    I think it’s because, as I alluded to earlier, Dire Straits were (big generalisation coming) liked by people who were not immersed in music and music criticism such that they would be writing long blog posts defending them 15-20 years later. The people who were into music and music criticism have focused on other acts (not that there’s anything wrong with that per se), so they have not been dusted off.

    Some of these people might have been yuppies. But my Dad was well into Dire Straits and I can’t think of anyone less Yuppie like. I definitely bracket DS with Springsteen personally.

    Maybe one day, someone will reappraise Dire Straits – but with Knopfler’s reticence to do the reunion dance, I doubt that there is a huge demand for writing of this type at the moment. If he did reform and tour the band, I think this sort of stuff would come out. I also think that DS would be able to sell out any arena in the UK tomorrow, if they did a reunion.

  93. 93
    wichita lineman on 21 Jun 2013 #

    Re 87: that was certainly my problem with them. But then, I was pleasantly surprised going back to bunnied later Oasis singles when I had to write a piece on ’00s number ones.

    Still, that really is some time away.

    As for the Beatles/Slade thing, I’m pretty sure Slade were huge Beatles fans. Noddy’s voice is basically an amped-up Twist & Shout Lennon, and some of Jim Lea’s songs (My Frend Stan, Look Wot U Dun) were as directly influenced as She’s Electric.

    How Does It Feel was their Champagne Supernova (or vice versa). Both, I’d venture, were going for a combination of Hey Jude and A Day In The Life.

    As for Dire Straits, they are first wave dad rock for sure, but it seems like quite a different thing to me. Those tasteful blues riffs; getting Cherry from Pan’s People in the video for Private Investigations; and the “blimey, we’ll have women referees soon” attitude of Lady Writer. Unlike Springsteen, not sexy at all.

  94. 94
    tm on 21 Jun 2013 #

    They were some of the last identifiable characters in British indie, apart from maybe Pete Doherty and as such it makes for an easy story for music press to roll them out and say ‘look at what these proper stars make of today’s indentikit skinny-tie c*nts’

  95. 95
    Ed on 21 Jun 2013 #

    I was pleased to see the shout-out upthread for Tony McCarroll, who has a legitimate claim to have been the secret ingredient in Oasis’s best music.

    He is a terrible drummer, of course; not interestingly or excitingly primitive, just kind of nothing-y. There only because a band has to have someone at the back sitting on a stool. You surely have to blame him, as well as the bass player, for the lack of groove noted earlier.

    When people (Joe Carducci) complain about the sad decline of British drumming from the great days of Bonham, Baker, Mitchell, Moon, Watts and Starr, I always think it’s McCarroll they have in mind.

    (For a stereotypically stiff-backed unrhythmic nation, England did produce a remarkable cohort of great drummers in the Classic Rock era. I think Carducci is wrong, too, to argue that British drumming was killed off (“deskilled”) by punk and New Pop. Budgie, Hugo Burnham, Mike Joyce and – above all – Stephen Morris are all great. And Colm O’Ciosoig, if you stretch it to Ireland. But somewhere along the line I agree the tradition did get lost.)

    But no matter how dull McCarroll is, Oasis were never as good again after he left.

    Coincidence? Maybe not.

    And the supposedly hot drummer they got in to replace him (Alan White, but not the one from Yes) was equally unmemorable in his performances.

  96. 96
    Wheedly on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #95 I’d add Reni from the Stone Roses to your list, although after that I’m stuggling to think of too many.
    I have a pet theory that US drummers have always had an advantage over Brits as taking up the drums at school, in the context of jazz or marching band, is so much more common than it is here. Added to that is the fact that over the last twenty years or so you’ve got a couple of generations of drummers who’ve grown up with marching-band hands and hip-hop feet, and who then go on to transplant those skills to all kinds of different genres.
    The last talked-about drummer in British music I can think of is Matt Tong from Bloc Party (which was getting on for 10 years ago now) and frankly I never heard him do anything I hadn’t heard Dave Narcizo from Throwing Muses do twenty years before.

  97. 97
    Izzy on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #90: Knopfler totally is the British Springsteen. In so far as such a thing is possible.

    In fact I think of him more as if-Springsteen-had-social-security. The Boss’s characters face their struggles and succeed, or die in the attempt, or end up in jail. Knopfler’s have a laugh, or go home, or stick with their jobs. There’s less at stake. I adore both, but Bruce is the one you’d die for.

  98. 98
    Wheedly on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #95, I wouldn’t call Alan White unmemorable exactly. He had that fill in Don’t Look Back in Anger (going into the last chorus) that taught a whole load of kids how to play straight 16ths and triplets in the same fill without getting their arms in a tangle!

    In fact, he got far more little spotlight moments like that in Oasis songs than Nick Banks ever did in Pulp or Dave Rowntree in Blur (which isn’t to say that they weren’t both decent players who made good choices in their parts).

  99. 99
    Izzy on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #95: Loz Colbert of Ride as top indie drummer, probably with Reni though in fairness they were very different. He was outstanding.

  100. 100
    Andrew Farrell on 21 Jun 2013 #

    #75: One of the things that Noel has said (repeatedly, I think) since is that yeah they should’ve called it a day after Morning Glory but they didn’t and it’s too late now (until it wasn’t). Of course Noel is touched by genius in the art of saying things that will appear in tomorrow’s headlines.

  101. 101
    weej on 22 Jun 2013 #

    #98 Pulp’s mid-80s drummer – Magnus Doyle – was much more creative with his playing and more often took a leading role in the group (see this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzx0NBtO27M for example). Nick Banks job was to follow the synth rhythm from the Yamaha Portasound which they used in the late 80s – not as spectacular a role but technically harder to pull off.

  102. 102
    Conrad on 22 Jun 2013 #

    “But no matter how dull McCarroll is, Oasis were never as good again after he left.”

    You could very well say the same thing for Steven Addler and GNR. He was replaced by a LA session drummer who might have played like a metronome but had zero swing.

    Sometimes the chemistry is more important than the individual elements. Anyawy, there is a rather rockist tendency here to talk of good British drummers in terms of indie/rock musicians only.

    Plenty of great drummers in British pop groups, not least Copeland of course and the DD Roger Taylor. And on the subject of Dire Straits Pick Withers was a terrific drummer.

  103. 103
    Ed on 22 Jun 2013 #

    “There is a rather rockist tendency here to talk of good British drummers in terms of indie/rock musicians only.”

    Good point! Copeland is fantastic, although I think I’d want to argue The Police were at the very least rock-ish.

    To take it further, I guess you could say the true heirs of Watts and Moon are Goldie, Roni Size, Terror Danjah, Wiley, Mushroom and Jamie XX.

  104. 104
    Wheedly on 22 Jun 2013 #

    But of course Copeland’s American, and I imagine learned his chops there.

    #102, careful throwing the ‘r’ word around sir!

  105. 105
    Conrad on 22 Jun 2013 #

    If you can’t throw it round on an Oasis thread when can you!
    Anyway I’m looking forward to Granddad rock in a few years time when the mid 90s britrock scene finally gets revived, as it surely will

  106. 106
    23 Daves on 22 Jun 2013 #

    #93 – You beat me to it. I think that both Oasis AND Slade owed a huge debt to The Beatles, and it’s not unreasonable to suggest that. Whether each band favoured different elements of the Fab Four’s catalogue to the other is an interesting case in point, as “How Does It Feel” really was an unusual single by Slade’s standards (and not a very big hit either, for which the British public should be punished). Slade generally seemed to prefer pilfering from the grittier, bluesier end of their work, whereas Oasis preferred their anthemic, “pleases the Mums and Dads and pub drinkers by the juke box” tracks. These are huge generalisations, obviously, as both bands have massive back-catalogues.

    On that point, Slade were worse than Oasis for going on and on past their natural sell-by date and engaging in all kinds of embarrassing and cheap sounding work in order to keep the engine running. Say what you want about Oasis, but they’d never have released a Christmas Party album (though I like the idea of that and sort of wish it had happened). Here, cop a load of Slade covering Band Aid for no good reason at all: http://youtu.be/L1bN1XroVBM

  107. 107
    Doctor Casino on 22 Jun 2013 #

    …and at last, Popular returns to familiar territory for this American alt-rock listener! I don’t know a Take That from a Wet Wet Wet but Oasis made an impact over here. But not, it’s been pointed out, with this song, which was an album track and a surprise for fans of “Wonderwall” (which was a massive hit, reaching #8), “Champagne Supernova” (which did very well on alt-rock radio) and a certain rabbit-food ballad. I was hypnotized by the visuals and the dreamy ambiance of “Champagne Supernova,” which all seemed very Beatlesy to me at a time when that was an automatic ticket to my allowance money. (I also had the notion that they had something to do with Elton John but I think this may have just been the sunglasses – the Gallaghers’ blowsy laddish rockism left precious little room for anything theatrical, fey, or even particularly vulnerable.)

    I would give “Some Might Say” a 5. Yes, the “dishes” thing is a stupid lyric but it does sound marvelous with that effect on his voice, and if you want a strained, forced and unconvincing Liam rock performance, look no further than the pointless “Roll With It,” a baffling single choice in my view. SMS has a satisfying crunch and a great whirl in the last minute or so, with Noel’s shouted backing vocals providing a great bonus hook. Agreed totally with wichita lineman @ 20 – there’s a lot of detail in this fairly silly piece of work, and as the most convincing “rocker” on a rather poppy, ballad-heavy album, the song itself provides a rather desperately needed bit of texture. Other than that, it’s pretty much “Hello” (which hinges on a shoutout to our old mate Gary Glitter), “Champagne Supernova” (the first video I ever sat in front of MTV waiting vainly to see again) and your choice of “She’s Electric” and “Morning Glory.” Oh, and “Wonderwall,” which is indelible and would be worth a 7 or 8 if I hadn’t heard it twenty billion times by this point.

    But it was barely a year later that the album already started to seem and filler-filled to me, by which time I’d digested Definitely Maybe and found it much more consistent and rich. I would even be inclined to rate Be Here Now above this one although that’s a discussion for another bunny day. Two hundred songs ready to roll, my foot. If they’d broken up immediately after that first album they’d be 100% classic.

  108. 108
    tm on 22 Jun 2013 #

    Yes, Roll With it is terrible: guilty of every classic Oasis sin!

  109. 109
    Izzy on 22 Jun 2013 #

    Roll With It was such a lazy choice of single too. It would’ve been boring enough, but understandable, if it was just the vacuous uptempo tune that indie acts always thought made for an ideal lead single (Why?!) – but in heavyweight contest context it seems bizarre and unforgivable. More on that in a few entries’ time though, doubtless.

  110. 110
    Patrick Mexico on 22 Jun 2013 #

    I’ll leave discussion of Roll With It for the big one, apart from (brace for impact): amused how the six-note coda at the chorus’s end sounds exactly like the one on the Smashing Pumpkins’ Bullet with Butterfly Wings. Never heard anyone else pick up on that, strangely (see also SMS and Debaser.. But this early in the ‘Sis’s career, these “steals” are too mischievously entertaining, Tarantino-esque, to worry about. All the aforementioned, big-bollocked rock singles think alike.)

    A few weeks ago was preparing to write white-hot strips of purest vitriol about Oasis (culturally before musically), but since this entry was posted I’ve mellowed my stance. As a teen obsessive of a bunnied, proudly blue-collar and ferociously intelligent Welsh band, when I found out Oasis boasted about never having read a book it hurt me – and probably the Blackwood boys (1995 a tragic year for them) – as much as Thatcher saying “There is no such thing as society.” However I must say there’s a lot of the Iron Lady in Oasis: a flag-fluttering bluster about “making Britain “great again”, confusion between scorched-earth modernity and cultural conservatism that would win them many enemies, and “say what you say, don’t let anybody get in your way…” Indeed. They also were, like it or not, in their initial rise to power, what a lot of people wanted, and most of them didn’t know what banally divisive carnage it would lead to. 10 years old, growing up in the same unglamorous Lancashire milltown where Beady Eye filmed their last video, DM and WTSMG meant the world to me. They seemed, at the time, great, hook-filled anthemic pop records and more substantial than 2 Unlimited et al. And they wouldn’t really ever get THAT big, would they?! Thatcher, emphatically, did not mean much to me – though they both triggered the same childhood response of “switch off the telly, quick Mummy, those fingers/eyebrows/toothy grins scare me!”

    Where people went wrong on both the brothers G and Mrs T was missing various golden opportunities to nip them in the bud when they’d gone past their sell-by date and began kicking up a right stink. (I.e. 1987 General Election!) Instead of them tipping people’s anger over the edge and melting it down into a real rain to wash them off the streets, in pop terms at least, the anger was diverted into crying in the rain* with acoustic guitars. And whilst I love that city in many ways, they all seemed to come from bloody Glasgow.

    * NOT a reference to Culture Beat’s best, most offbeat single, though you can probably tell I’m very excited about something coming up next, maybe the last Popular hurrah of where that kind of jam came from..

  111. 111
    swanstep on 23 Jun 2013 #

    @patrick, 110. I was a pretty big Pumpkins fan (although I never cared for Bullet or for Corgan’s ever-increasing self-pity) and never noticed the steal you mention. Indeed I still don’t quite hear it. The big obvious lift to American ears (which aren’t typically especially sensitive to Slade or Glitter) was from REM’s (This One Goes Out To) The One I Love at the beginning of the title-track, Morning Glory (although maybe both of them owe something to the guitars in Bowie’s Rebel Rebel, which I suppose ape someone else…).

    I remember the odd noodly music think-piece at the time framed around the question,’Is Originality Overrated?’ A certain sort of music journalist who’d made his peace with Paul’s Boutique and sampling in general was evidently rather more challenged by Oasis’s very traditional light-fingeredness.

  112. 112
    Another Pete on 23 Jun 2013 #

    I think it says a lot that the 4 track CD single of Some Might Say has 3 tracks (the main track, Talk Tonight and Acquiesce) on their Stop the Clocks compilation album. That’s more tracks from one single than any other studio album post WTSMG.

  113. 113
    Ed on 23 Jun 2013 #

    “Oasis’s very traditional light-fingeredness.”

    Is a Bunnied B-side the only time Gallagher actually got caught?

  114. 114
    Patrick Mexico on 23 Jun 2013 #

    There’s a horrible, HORRIBLE steal on an Oasis bunny ages from now in which a less likeable Welsh bunny is :cough: mined in the most unimaginative way. But to quote an excellent Sleeper song (no, not an oxymoron in this case) it feels just like we’ve just got started (on Oasis, and Britpop.) Let’s not burn out the Manc Lads before they’ve even begun.

    Thanks for a brilliant thread. I have nothing else to say on this entry apart from, going back to my last post’s subject, to quote a twattery-house #5 hit, “these scabs closed down all my mi-i-i-ines”

  115. 115
    James BC on 23 Jun 2013 #

    People are saying Oasis never grooved. What about Columbia?

  116. 116
    Tom on 23 Jun 2013 #

    I’m going to have to listen to Roll With It again aren’t I? Bollocks.

  117. 117
    MarkG on 23 Jun 2013 #

    #113, No, I believe Neil Innes got some (or his publisher did), Stevie Wonder’s didn’t sort it out so that album track got bounced off the album and had to make do with the lower returns of the b-side.

    However, one GazGlit managed to get some sort-out on “Hello” from the album, which keeps him in ……….. i’m sure…

  118. 118
    Ed on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #117 Neil Innes! Of course.

    Would have been too perfect if it had been a Rutles track.

  119. 119
    Doctor Casino on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Tom, you can play what you’ll play… don’t let anybody get in your way.

    I think the only bright, uptempo-type Oasis rocker I can stomach post-DM is “Round Are Way,” a Wonderwall B-side with a healthy dose of stupidity but also some great hooks.

  120. 120
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I hated Oasis, right from the beginning. It’s easy to forget that in these pre-internet days, you’d hear lots about a band before you actually heard them. And so I had read about The Most Exciting Young Band In Britain, about this dazzling synthesis of the Pistols and the Beatles. And then I heard them. And I heard that Supersonic was weedy and underpowered compared to what I had been told. That Shakermaker was witless. That Live Forever was clumsy and hamfisted where it needed to be nimble and artful. I read the interviews and I remembered being a middle-class kid in a largely working-class school in Slough, with an industrial estate to the west and a council estate to the east – and saw that the Gallaghers were the boys who kicked my face in, so all my front teeth are chipped, who established social rules I couldn’t comprehend so they could point and laugh, who made me turn to Peel to find people making music that might reflect my life.

    So I find it hard to view Oasis as the triumph of indie – the moment where it became king. To me Oasis were the death of indie, not as a distribution method, but as a worldview. “It takes guts to be gentle and kind,” an earlier Mancunian with a distinctive singing voice that barely qualified as singing as told us. “Fuck off, you cunt,” said Oasis.

  121. 121
    punctum on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Maybe, but which one ended up on Popular? Perhaps that says something about human nature in general.

    (also I remain hugely sceptical about the mistily-defined ethics and definition of the term “indie” – my bah-pah-gah attitude says indie should embrace both Peter Brotzmann and Kylie Minogue otherwise it’s a mirror image of what it’s trying to stamp out, or politely ask to vacate the premises)

  122. 122
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to question the meaning of “indie”. I think what became apparent was that it had as many different meanings as there were people to define it. For me, aside from independently produced and distributed, it meant music that engaged with the world in an independent-minded way; music for people who felt “outside” – be it outside culturally or socially. It wasn’t just indiepop – though C86 was the first moment I felt a musical movement was “mine” – but all the rest of those intriguing things you’d hear on Peel, from the Unknown Cases to on U-Sound to Helen and the Horns. Oasis were never outside: the whole point of them was to be socially and culturally ubiquitous. The were cultural bullies. It repulsed me.

  123. 123
    Tom on 24 Jun 2013 #

    What did you think of the Stone Roses, Michael – the obvious bridging point between indie as outsider thing, and Oasis? They were thoughtful and oppositional but also wanted to be ubiquitous and pioneered the rhetoric the Gallaghers borrowed from. It seemed to me that once indie culture had got on board with that – ‘attitude’ as a kind of star quality, the sniff of the charts provided by “Fools Gold”, “Step On”, “The Drowners” et al. – the forces which allowed Oasis to come through were all in place.

  124. 124
    punctum on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I’m still to be convinced that there was ever such a thing as “indie” other than convenient shorthand for what John Peel played (a large part of which wasn’t “indie”) and if there was whether it ever achieved anything beyond being a reflection of what it hated or professed to hate, while all the time needing it – where would Age of Chance, never mind Ciccone Youth, have been without the brash fuck you pop culture of the eighties to adsorb*?

    *not a typo; opposite of “absorb”

  125. 125
    Izzy on 24 Jun 2013 #

    This is an interesting line and I found myself yelping in agreement with the idea that Oasis were climbing the stones laid down by all those bands – same as any genre needs to bubble for a while, out of widespread view, before *the big record* comes along and pushes it over the top.

    But then it raises the question – what if Oasis had broken in, say, 1986? Would they really have toed coyly at the charts like e.g. The Smiths? (And bear in mind Oasis themselves would’ve sounded different: no way would a big label (as Creation were in 1994, big enough anyway) have allowed that rhythm section on record, nor would the Gallaghers have been wedded to the rough sound they made it with.)

    No way, I say, those tunes and those primary-colours personalities would have roared to success whatever the era.

  126. 126
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Jun 2013 #

    re Stone Roses as “thoughtful and oppositional”: I dissent from that description. The odd barb in the direction of Mrs T notwithstanding (Surely this was just a conventional bit of expressing mainstream conventional wisdom in 1989/90 – far more oppositional would have been actually to support her), and a few bits where Brown’s egomania (later seen in fisticuffs with a woman on an aeroplane I seem to recall) went to comparing himself with Jesus, and boasting of the fact that he has no need to sell his soul to the Devil …they were basically drug-addled thugs (first album was quite enjoyable, none the less).

    Possibly this is all a warning against drug abuse in one form or another. (I agree they are a bridge from C86 to Oasis, most certainly)

    I think the Stone Roses got away with being perceived, at least at first, as thoughtful and oppositional in large measure because at that time they were a small band on a small label, combined with the patronising sentimentality of elements of the music press towards anything working class and male and northern. And because that sort of band really as yet had not broken thru to the mainstream, where their laddishness (as per that of Oasis) would be impossible to disguise as a result of a surfeit of media coverage…. (to be sure “new lad” culture had grown in the intervening period, too). But for my money the Roses were closer to thugs than sensitive flowers….

  127. 127
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I had no relationship with the Stone Roses at all, partly through indie snobbery, and partly through circumstance. During 1988/89, as they gradually became unstoppable, I was doing a year out as part of my university course – six months interning in Congress in Washington DC, then six months in Parliament – so I was completely removed from my circle of musical friends, and in the States completely removed from UK music full stop (again, pre-internet). I remember seeing them on The Other Side of Midnight after I came back from the US, and thinking they were pretty good, but then the rampant hysteria made my indie-snob will-not-genuflect-before-big-cults thing kick in, which was my loss, in retrospect. When I returned to Leeds in autumn 89, I was genuinely surprised to see all my friends had different haircuts and different clothes, that people I knew in bands had all added the shuffle beat to their songs. While I was still in Chelsea boots and Paisley. The world had moved on without me.

    However, I didn’t find Madchester a very appealing scene. I saw both the Mondays and the Charlatans in autumn 89, and at both gigs there was a really nasty sense of incipient violence in the air. I think a lot of the genuflection before the tough kids came from middle class writers who’d never had a DM swung into their mouth and thought thuggery was dangerous rather than thuggish. That said, the Roses and the Mondays clearly had a lot more going on in terms of music and imagination than the Gallaghers ever did.

    Looking back, it seems ridiculous to have been thinking about the Madchester groups and Oasis as “indie”. Because I don’t think any of them signed up for the politics of indie (in the Geoff Travis sense). Though there’s an odd disjuncture in that the Roses and the Mondays obviously only ended up on indies because no majors were interested in them at the start. Whereas Oasis were signed straight to Sony – and then licensed to Creation because that bit of indie credibility was considered vital to give them – wait for it – some outsider edge.

  128. 128
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    BTW I wrote about thuggery before I read #126 using exactly the same concept …

  129. 129
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Maybe the difference essentially is that the Roses were more introverted in style and character, Oasis more extroverted. I’d say that is a more relevant continuum to refer in this context to than that of “sensitive/brash”.

    (Thinks of toughness of Wedding Present fans witnessed on a couple of occasions)

  130. 130
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    xpost Well, there was such a thing as indie – whether or not it meant different things (or indeed anything) to different people, if only because so many people used it as an identifier.

    Just as the concept of being a football fan means everything from someone who watches England games on TV, to me going to every QPR home game, a fair few away games, and then non-League football on spare weekends. Broad churches, Marcello!

  131. 131
    Tom on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Yes “thoughtful” slightly the wrong word maybe, but there’s an introverted/dreamy streak to the Roses and they played the artiness up as much as the arrogance. I was a huge fan at 16 and then swiftly wasn’t, but I stand by the idea that they opened up the door Oasis walked through.

    (The Happy Mondays a quite different proposition – definitely a lot of middle-class condescension and blind-eye turning there – recall the shock of the NME on discovering that Shaun Ryder did not share their sexual politics. He also made the best records of any bands mentioned on this thread, though.)

  132. 132
    Izzy on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Take that, The Beatles!

  133. 133
    pink chamaple on 24 Jun 2013 #

    ‘thoughtful and oppositional’ is exactly right about the stone roses i think – i was reading an old interview with them recently where they were critiquing the current labour leadership by reference to the Crossman diaries and talking about taking inspiration from the Kinder trespass. Mani’s the only one who’s ever come across remotely beer and birds and football i think, and even that’s a long way from thuggish.

  134. 134
    Tom on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Ha, any bands of that generation, I guess I should have said. I know a good few who’d take them over the Beatles, though. But no, I wouldn’t.

  135. 135
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    There’s an interesting contrast between the La’s and Oasis (and not just because Chris Sharrock ended up in Oasis). Both defiantly working class groups, both in thrall to British rock of the mid-60s, both north-western, both capable of huge melodies that could find a big audience. But the vulnerability that someone upthread located in Liam (though I can’t) is there in spades with the La’s. Even when he is being defiant, Lee Mavers comes across as unsure. And that perception is multiplied manifold by his own massive insecurities about his own music and whether it could ever be good enough for his own desires.

  136. 136
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #131 As someone who was also, aged 14, a huge fan of the Roses, and then, suddenly wasn’t, I’ve wondered the extent to which the appeal of the John Squire covers/artwprl that led to them being presented that way? Although even that artwork is really quite aggressive, both in how it was produced, and what it looked like…very un-Fotherington-Tomas..

    Truth is I think the Roses are a prime case of a band who received massive critical acclaim (and expectations that, in retrospect unsurprisingly, were quite unrealistic) on the basis of a series of four utterly cracking singles (from Elephant Stone through to Fools Good, obviously) – and one earlier, enigmatically wistful one – Sally Cinnamon – and a really pretty more than decent album, but no more. Perhaps understandable, as those singles were fantastic, and the B-sides promised a lot too….but it did I think lead to the band being perceived as whole lot more than they really turned out to be. The recipients of the dreams and visions of music critics, who wanted them to be as sensitive as they imagined they were. But those hopes were fantasties and dreams (circling back to Livin’ Joy), not reality.

  137. 137
    punctum on 24 Jun 2013 #

    First Stone Roses album got a grudging 7/10 from the NME, who more or less lambasted them for absence of Acid House/hip hop crossover content.

    There’s a possibly artificial “battle” being set up here pitching “thuggery” against “vulnerability” but since I don’t know any of the musicians in question I’m not going to presume to say who was, or is, who. I would, however, say that being different or out of step is not IN ITSELF enough.

  138. 138
    pink chamaple on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #135 yes, I think it’s more than just vulnerability with the La’s – beneath the classicism, there’s something deeply unsettling going on in a lot of their music, like their wierd sea shanties are a way of expressing a realy profound inability to function in their times.

  139. 139
    punctum on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I was never sufficiently interested in the La’s to give a toss one way or the other, I’m afraid – Brookside soundtrack music, what Our Damon would have been playing in his bedroom.

  140. 140
    pink chamaple on 24 Jun 2013 #

    you’d have to presume that’s all Lee Mavers I suppose, since no band has ever lacked the uncanny more than Cast

  141. 141
    Tom on 24 Jun 2013 #

    As a regular reader (as I’m sure you were too MC!) the Roses review was utterly out of step with the rest of their coverage, and they spent the next couple of years regularly referring to it as a world-historical gaffe. http://www.pdmcauley.co.uk/NME29Apr89.htm

    (It’s not a very good review. But not an unfair one either, I think. Oddly, I’d completely misremembered who wrote it – I thought it was Dele Fadele)

  142. 142
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #137 Enough for what? It can be enough to offer consolation to a lonely teenager, even if it’s not enough to make great art. Or even very good pop music. And for lots of the two-singles-and-session groups who populated Peel in the early/mid-80s, that was obviously enough. Whereas it wasn’t for the Roses and Oasis.

    I agree that the thuggery/vulnerability thing is painting all of this in too stark a contrast (and many a sensitive indie band ended up attracting a meathead crowd – Smiths, Wedding Present, House of Love all had their proportion of beer boys). But … I don’t think I was wrong to recognise my school bullies in the Gallaghers.

  143. 143
    Izzy on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Is that confusing sensitivity with means of expression, though? I’d venture that it’s a lot more common for working-class northern lads with a headful of ideas to project themselves as Roses than as Morrisseys (a world of Morrisseys, imagine!).

    Obviously there’s as wide a spectrum as in any other field of humanity, but it’s surely wrong to imagine a division where Noel, Liam, Joey Barton and Robbie Fowler live thug lives on one side of the wall, and Morrissey (himself no stranger to passive-aggression) gambolling on the other; maybe with Jarvis Cocker on top, observing both sides.

  144. 144
    pink chamaple on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Starting to read NME in late 1989, Jack Barron came across as a man with a severe case of indie guilt. Does anyone remember what his taste was before he invented acid house?

  145. 145
    pink chamaple on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #139, I used to love those specially commissioned generic pop songs (and also TV shows) they used relentlessly in Brookside, presumably because they couldn’t afford the rights for actual pop songs

  146. 146
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #143 My family are north western working class … I’m middle class by virtue of my parents having been the first in their families to have gone to university. So I certainly don’t think all north western working class young men are thugs. That’s not the point I’m making. I’m saying that Oasis – or, if I’m honest, Liam – presented to the world a face of borderline thuggery that many people found attractive. But I didn’t, because I’d been on the receiving end of thuggery from people who perhaps resented me being, as they liked to call me, “posh”. I don’t find the celebration of any particular set of class virtues – whatever the class – to be attractive. And to hold up Oasis or the Mondays as heroes of the working class does a disservice to the many working class people who don’t behave like Liam Gallagher or Shaun Ryder.

  147. 147
    punctum on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #141: Actually by this time I’d downgraded to speed-reading the NME in WH Smiths; I stopped buying it after p*nk s left (except for the double Xmas issues with the EOY lists). Jack Barron was previously on Sounds and IIRC dug the Bad Seeds, Nitzer Ebb and Revolting Cocks.

    Dele Fadele was the one who slated Loveless for not including any songs about South African apartheid.

    #142: pop music needs the big picture and the (futile?) gesture otherwise it is on a level with Disprin and Tuc crackers. Also I think you’re in danger of projecting your own fears and experiences onto other musicians without much in the way of demonstrable evidence to back up your assumptions. Who’s doing the holding up? Who says what sort of face these people presented, other than to yours?

  148. 148
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Given that so much of your writing is about how music and musicians have presented themselves to you, and how their meaning is refracted through the prism of your own life, I think you might allow me the courtesy of doing the same, Marcello.

  149. 149
    Tom on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #147 re Loveless – how could he tell?

  150. 150
    punctum on 24 Jun 2013 #

    There are many people I’ve written about to whom the term “thugs,” or worse, could be applied, but one of the things I try to do as a writer is move beyond that kind of thinking and try my best to emphasise with people who I’m not, the central questions being: why? Why them and not somebody else? What was the appeal? What in their music brought, or pretended to bring, people together?

  151. 151
    punctum on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #149 – I think he even referred to the imprisonment of Mandela, a year and a half plus since he’d been released.

  152. 152
    punctum on 24 Jun 2013 #

    If not, then he definitely slated it for not having enough dance music and reggae basslines.

  153. 153
    MichaelH on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I don’t actually call any of them thugs – read again. I talk about how music writers were attracted by thuggery, thinking it dangerous and exciting. And I’d stand by that. My point is: what excited the music press about Oasis (and the Mondays) is what repelled me, because of my personal experiences.

    Also, what I was writing was specifically not a piece of music criticism, but an explanation of why I – unlike many, many other people – didn’t like Oasis. I don’t know why you keep trying to pull at a thread that isn’t actually there, Marcello.

  154. 154
    James BC on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #140 You should listen to Cast more. At their best (eg Sandstorm, I’m So Lonely, Flying) there is a strange cosmic spirit that emerges from what might superficially appear to be their basic trad-guitar-rock formula.

  155. 155
    Cumbrian on 24 Jun 2013 #

    The phrase “you should listen to Cast more” getting its first airing since 1997.

  156. 156
    pink chamaple on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Sandstorm is the one song of theirs I remember quite liking at the time, so maybe. But if I start liking Cast, where will it all end?

  157. 157
    Cumbrian on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I am currently waiting for someone to praise Kula Shaker and then I will be able to call House on my Britpop Bingo card.

  158. 158
    Pete on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Surely you call “A House” on early nineties Indie Bingo cards.

  159. 159
    Izzy on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Praise Kula Shaker? Can’t remember if they were consecutive, but Tattva, Hey Dude, Shower Your Love and Hush (none quite troubling Popular to my recollection) are almost as corking a set of singles as those four Stone Roses ones.

  160. 160
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #158 Boom Boom. Their rerecorded version of “Endless Art”, which was a list of solely female artists (as compared with the original, which comprised a list of largely or possibly entirely male artists) demonstrates their distance from the “new lad” phenomenon we were slating….

    We can save the discussion of Ride (who fit somewhere fairly obvious into this paradigm twixt Oasis and Mozza) until Andy Bell has ridden in on a later bunny. Can’t fault their opening run of 4EPs either – all of them beautifully packaged and presented in their 12″ casing, too….

    Although (if we are playing early 90s indie bingo) the question must be raised (also fantastic early EPs, gorgeously presented, in classic 4AD style): where is the point to discuss Lush? They lost it later, but when they first appeared…wow. just wow.

  161. 161
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Jun 2013 #

    {replaced by edited post above]

  162. 162
    Izzy on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #159: here I am forgetting The Sound Of Drums

  163. 163
    enitharmon on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Didn’t the Gallaghers rather overplay their working-classness? ISTR they were from Burnage, which isn’t exactly Wilmslow but nor was it ever a teeming rookery.

  164. 164
    Another Pete on 24 Jun 2013 #

    #162 wasn’t their début hit “Grateful when you’re dead”

  165. 165
    Izzy on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Yeah, it was rubbish though. Actually now you mention it, it is slightly and admirably perverse how unfashionable a set of influences they insisted on parading.

    #163: I was reflecting on something like that earlier – for all their background was a big thing, with the exception of Noel I never found out hardly anything about them preOasis. The old band was called The Rain, Guigsy was a promising footballer, Liam had a conviction for driving without insurance – but that’s about it.

    I don’t recall any of the mythologising surrounding Suede, or whatever you call Blur went in for. I don’t think I’ve even seen a picture of Burnage, let alone know how people live there. Maybe because it’s so far from London?

  166. 166
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Only pics I’ve seen of Burnage made it look like a 1920s local government “cottage estate”: big solid houses (some possibly designed as flats), with big gardens.

    Vada: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cmxhgkMUE-k/Ucgm1Yl7IeI/AAAAAAAAMDA/MntjHmtNt28/s1600/SAM_0211.JPG

    If that’s typical (and I suppose we could now use Google Streetview to get a wider view, if we are far from Burnage), it looks rather like my native Dagenham: a bit tough rather than really rough. Or possibly (indeed probably) with the adjectives swapped the other way round.

  167. 167
    Mark G on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I ended up in Burnage after taking a wrong turning out of Manchester airport.

    It looked OK, really..

  168. 168
    ace inhibitor on 24 Jun 2013 #

    the odd thing about the morrissian sensitivity v oasis thuggery thread here (no one actually saying its that simple, yes) is that ‘Some might say’, I always thought, sounds like a lost Morrissey title/hook; a line lifted from arms-folded flat-toned kitchen-sink realism (shelagh delaney, or betty turpin muttering some-might-say-she’s-no-better-than-she-ought-to-be, kind of thing) and reworked into something strange and yearning. ‘Some might say we will find a brighter day’ sounds like a very morrissey line to me.

  169. 169
    James BC on 24 Jun 2013 #

    I will second that run of Kula Shaker singles. Hush in particular is amazingly good when you consider what the band’s received reputation is.

    Kula Shaker and Cast both suffer from people thinking “oh, there were tons of terrible bands jumping on the bandwagon at that time”. Well yes, Lodger or Belly or whoever were pretty dispensible, but you can’t chuck everyone away on that basis (and sorry to any fans or members of those two groups – I’m sure they have their merits).

    The same thing happened in the 00s with “landfill indie”. I’ve never seen such laziness from the press, just waving away band after band seemingly without listening at all, and giving no heed to the quite wide range of styles that all got lumped together under that term.

  170. 170
    fivelongdays on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Oi – I really liked Kula Shaker. In fact, I think their Indian-themed hits (‘Tattva’ and ‘Govinda’ – they had a top 10 hit with a song entirely in Sanskrit! SANSKRIT! – for the hard of thinking) are utter, utter bizarro-yet-strangely-reassuring masterpieces. Shame ‘Drink Tea For The Love Of God’ was never the smash it deserved to be, too.

    Oh, and Cast were actually rather likable. My old band – whose main influences were AC/DC, Metallica, Therapy? and The Wildhearts – were shocked to find that (in our teenage, provincial, utterly uncool heads) John Power’s boys totally indified our big, heavy, epic setcloser ‘Inspiration?’ for their hummable hit ‘Live The Dream’.

  171. 171
    Ed on 25 Jun 2013 #

    #168 Yes, it is odd that Morrissey and Noel Gallagher could be seen as polar opposites: they have so much in common.

    Not least the fact that they both worship Morrissey. Or, to be more accurate, Gallagher worships The Smiths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1MsuoNJQ3U

    Bits of The Smiths crop up all over Oasis’s early work, especially in the comedy songs like Digsy’s Diner and She’s Electric. Married With Children is Frankly Mr Shankly rewritten by John Lennon on an off day.

    Incidentally, fun fact on Gallagher’s creative fecundity in this period: there are more tracks on Oasis’s Best Of from this single – SMS, Talk Tonight and Acquiesce – than there are from most of the band’s albums.

  172. 172
    Mark G on 25 Jun 2013 #

    I don’t recall much Morrissey worship,it was always about Johnny Marr..

  173. 173
    Ed on 25 Jun 2013 #

    Watch the interview. He waxes lyrical about both of them.

  174. 174
    enitharmon on 25 Jun 2013 #

    The Geograph project is always a good resource when you want to get the feel of a place. The square with Burnage station in it is here. Obviously you can navigate all around to get the context.

  175. 175
    Izzy on 25 Jun 2013 #

    I like the interview. Noel’s always been an engaging talker. I do wish the ‘thinking about things’ side had been encouraged more – instead the boorishness and reactionary bon mots got the attention. In truth he was also a complete cunt on occasion, like humiliating Michael Hutchence at the Brits. He deserves the same at some point, since he’s still around.

    Liam I can’t comment on. His public persona is so id that listening to him talk would seem pointless, assuming he even does interviews. Lovely bloke though, I’ve heard.

  176. 176
    punctum on 25 Jun 2013 #

    I talk about how music writers were attracted by thuggery, thinking it dangerous and exciting.

    That’s one of the central things wrong with music writing. Music writers need to apply the same search for motive to themselves as they do to musicians – what musicians and those who would criticise or praise them think are important, but what is even more important is why they think these thoughts.

    Some might say (ahem), for instance, that the Gallaghers got into music as a way of not being bullied but I’d be interested to see any supportive evidence for that (it’s a speculation rather than a conclusion). Vulnerability and thuggery can be deceptive and not too dissimilar talismen.

  177. 177
    ace inhibitor on 25 Jun 2013 #

    #171 – on a similar theme, I remember being struck by an early 90s interview with Shaun Ryder in which he cited, as a key early inspiration, those swaggering rockist thugs Orange Juice…

  178. 178
    Tom on 25 Jun 2013 #

    Surely any creative type is going to have ‘influences’ they try and rip off and ones they stay well away from directly. Plus you might be borrowing across a whole range of categories – lyrics, music, look, attidute, some kind of general vibe…

  179. 179
    MichaelH on 25 Jun 2013 #

    #176 That’s a really interesting point – clearly the Gallaghers had a troubled homelife, with that deadbeat dad. And I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if that was the source of the will-to-power element of their music.

  180. 180
    leveret on 25 Jun 2013 #

    #169

    You might be thinking of Echobelly rather than Belly? Belly were a jangly US guitar outfit fronted by Tanya Donelly (ex of Throwing Muses) and were around a good while before the Britpop era.

    Echobelly were given the Morrissey seal of approval at the time, I seem to recall. Great Things and I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me were a couple of fine hook-filled pop singles but otherwise they were fairly forgettable (at any rate I’ve forgotten anything else they ever recorded).

  181. 181
    punctum on 25 Jun 2013 #

    #179 – this is also why I think “Some Might Say” needs to be considered in its single context; Oasis were in ’95 one of the few acts, I think, to take the concept of the single seriously (growing up with all those Jam and Smiths 45s, and how well and delicately each of their single packages was put together), so you need to view the song in the company of “Acquiesce” and “Talk Tonight,” two songs which I don’t think could have come from bovine, unthinking blokes. “We need each other” and “Look at me, see how we are” – there are clues all the way through their work not to take them on initial impressions or, more radically, how some of their fans would interpret them.

  182. 182
    MichaelH on 25 Jun 2013 #

    I don’t doubt that Noel could have been a much, much more interesting songwriter than he turned out to be …

  183. 183
    Mark G on 25 Jun 2013 #

    It’s just that he gives the impression that he never ever went back and fixed lines that could have been better.

  184. 184
    James BC on 25 Jun 2013 #

    #180 I did mean Belly, but I only saw them on the Chart Show a couple of times and thought they were a minor British indie act rather than American. Echobelly would have been a much better example.

  185. 185
    anto on 25 Jun 2013 #

    re:180 Echobellys earlier singles included Bellyache and Insomniac – both well worth checking out. Bellyache featured How Soon Is Now? type gutiars and Indian vocal styings by Sonya Aurora Madan giving it an East-meets-West feel. Sonya was one of the better singers involved with Britpop. I remember a very good description of her voice in the Irish music paper Hot Press which compared her singing to the sensation of cold water gently splashing onto your face.
    The first Echobelly album Everyone’s Got One featured songs about arranged marriage, casual racism and abortion, and was generally well-received. The follow-up On was the one that featured Great Things and King Of The Kerb. The third album Lustra, which I bought out of loyalty found them a bit uncertain as to what to do next and made little impression.
    I’ve heard Sonya and the gutiarist Glen are on tour together again.

  186. 186
    punctum on 25 Jun 2013 #

    #183: Possibly he didn’t think they needed fixing, or they were a sustained and subtle comment on how punters don’t really listen to lyrics.

  187. 187
    weej on 25 Jun 2013 #

    #186 – Neither view is particularly positive. It flummoxes me that Noel can write something as vunerable and personal as Half A World Away and then be churning out hapazard meaningless collages of half-remembered classic rock lyrics for the next few years.

  188. 188
    James BC on 25 Jun 2013 #

    Or maybe Noel’s lyrics are actually good?

    In this song it’s the station, rain, dishes, fishes, itching dog and kitchen that ground the lyric in reality and stop it from being entirely abstract yearning in the manner of, say, Coldplay’s emptier moments.

    And provide a bit of light relief as well. You don’t realise it at first because of Liam’s down the line delivery, but it’s there. Paradoxically, Liam’s lack of subtlety makes the humour more subtle because it’s harder to spot.

  189. 189
    fivelongdays on 25 Jun 2013 #

    In reference to Alive sounding ‘effortless’ – just listened to it and I was shocked by how, well, Indie it sounded. Not much Britpop swagger there…

  190. 190
    James BC on 25 Jun 2013 #

    In case anyone’s wondering, here’s the full story about the fishes in the sink. It sets the scene of maddening domestic frustration, from which the hopeful verse lyrics offer a possible escape.

    The two main characters are a 17-18 year old Mancunian lad who is desperate to fly the nest but doesn’t yet have the means, and his poor put upon mother.

    Our kid wakes up one Saturday morning at 11am, full of purpose. Mam’s been on at him for weeks to clean out the fish tank and as much as it’s doing his head in, she does have a point – it looks pretty grimy in there. So he’s finally going to do it. Mam’s gone out somewhere so it’ll be a nice surprise for when she gets back.

    Kid takes the heavy tank downstairs and carefully, carefully decants the fish into the sink for want of a better place to put them while he gets the muck off. Then he takes the tank down the bottom of the yard and tips away the rest of the water. When he comes back in, the phone’s ringing. Does he want to come down for a game of five a side, asks Kevin. Too right he does, so he leaves the tank on the side and sets off, three stops on the train. The tank’s waited four weeks, it can wait till this afternoon surely.

    Mam comes back in from the laundrette looking forward to a nice sit down and a cup of tea before her friends come round after lunch. Would you believe it though, all the mugs are dirty and… what is this? This house! You can’t even do the bloody washing up when you bloody want to. Nothing’s clean, people coming round and she can’t even have a cuppa. What’s she meant to do, take it all down to the tap in the yard? Not likely. She sits down with the telly to wait for our kid to get back. He can’t be long, wherever he’s gone off to. Surprised he’s even up to be honest.

    An hour and a half goes by and then the phone rings. And it’s our kid. And he’s stranded three train stops away because the man won’t let him on for being a general lout (or at least in need of education) and for letting off the fire extinguisher last month and soaking one of the carriages. Obviously it’s coming down in buckets, it is Manchester after all, so all he can do is wait till his dad gets off work by which time it’ll be gone five o’clock.

    Mam sinks into her chair with a sigh. Should have known this would happen, our kid’s reputation is always getting him into trouble but once again she is completely unprepared for the situation. She wanders back into the kitchen to survey the desolate scene: barely cleaned fish tank on the side, dirty dishes everywhere and all she can think about with friends about to arrive, and what’s more the floor’s a state because the dog’s been in.

    The doorbell rings. Her friends are here. They’re understanding about the tea and provide a welcome shoulder to cry on about son’s latest misadventure. Mam’s just starting to relax when she hears a trickling sound… Uh oh. The dripping kitchen tap which should have been fixed before Christmas has been adding to the water in the bowl all this time, and now a miniature torrent of water is making its way down the cupboard fronts and onto the vinyl floor. Give me strength. She can hardly let the fish down the plughole so all she can do is put a pan there while she hunts about in the blackish water to get the 15 or 20 tiny wrigglers out. Surely there’s got to be more to life than this?

    So that’s the story as I see it. If you just take the time to puzzle it out it’s all elementary, my friend. You don’t get that kind of charming vignette with Coldplay, I am telling you – I’ve tried it with the Scientist but the lyrics are almost incredibly vague and obscure; no such cop-outs for Noel.

    (Worth noting, maybe, that this dispiriting scene actually forms the chorus of the song, while the uplifting message of hope comes in the verses and bridge – quite artful and the reverse of how most songwriters would probably approach it.)

  191. 191
    ciaran on 26 Jun 2013 #

    This one was worth the wait wasnt it.

    Wish I could say the same about hearing SMS again though.

    As a 13 year old I was only aware of them from ‘whatever’ and knew nothing of definitely maybe.That all changed around this time and whilst they may not have had the larger-than-life reputation of michael jackson or madonna they did seem to be the biggest thing to happen since those 2.

    I liked the UK indie scene producing their own hero’s again especially after the grunge scene had fizzled out.Grunge had its own oasis in nirvana(scarcely believable in 2013) but no real pulp or b””” type mass market rivals so made it harder for me to worship the movement.A rock band 4 close friends of mine started the same year idolised Nirvana but looked back to guns and roses,aerosmith and metallica for inspiration.

    Looking back it seemed like a time of great change and excitement.Blackburn Rovers winning the premiership,Everton the FA Cup, Father Ted on TV along with a football themed comedy which for now is postponed due to bunnyable reasons, the compact disc beginning to save people time (if not pounds!)over slow cassettes.Not to mention the imminent technological arrivals of the 32-bit Playstation console and perhaps more importantly for us the release of windows 95 and the internet about to go mainstream.

    Oasis seemed like the musical equivalent to all of the above back then.Working class lads with a tendency to mouth off and with a terrific number of tunes to back up the enormous hype, generating hope for an industry/scene which needed a shake up.IMHO The Number 1s from 1991-94 would illustrate the point I’m trying to make. The praise didnt seem too excessive at the time and I would have to admit I found myself caught up in the band which seemed the most important for some time and many years to come.This would last a further 2 years or so.

    For all that SMS sounded like a step backwards. The stupid lumbering buzzing intro, the lazy lyrics, the monochrome video going against the bands growing profile, the somewhat overall length and repetitive nature of the song.This was the weakest of their output so far with only the next single making it look better.It hasnt aged well.Rather like U2 hitting the top with Desire in 1988, this was coming for a long time even if the material was less inspring this time around.

    I like WTSMG a lot in spite of its flaws but SMS is one of the 2 tracks I like least from it.5

  192. 192
    23 Daves on 26 Jun 2013 #

    Whenever people talk about the relationship Oasis have to “indie”, and whether the Stone Roses and Suede (or even The Wonder Stuff and The Wedding Present) paved the way for their success, I’m always reminded of a particular Phil Collins interview. I can’t remember where it was published, but I got the distinct impression he was being a bit of a bitter chap and probably thought his records weren’t selling as well because of Britpop. Of course, I’d blame his decreased sales on the fact that he was churning out some very forgettable work at this point, but that’s not important for the purposes of this comment.

    “Of course,” he said towards the end, “musically I really do have an enormous amount in common with Oasis, but you’re never going to get a music journalist to admit to that”.

    This puzzled me at first as he failed to expand on his point, and it was impossible not to laugh, but when I got thinking it made a strange sort of sense. Both Collins and the Gallagher brothers prided themselves on their ordinary blokeness, their knowledge of classic rock and pop, their idea of “giving it to the people”. Collins could be retro in a different way, clearly loving his Philly and Motown rather than pilfering Slade and The Beatles, but a definite A-grade student at the Bloke’s School of Classic Pop nonetheless, even if he did produce work which frequently did nothing for me.

    And this did cause me to wonder whether Oasis were actually always outside indie. Most indie acts – if we’re using the music press stereotype as a yardstick and not including the likes of Kylie Minogue and Bomb The Bass – had either an art school temperament to them, or hints of non-stadium rock imperfection, or both (the Roses had both – Ian Brown’s weak voice and Squire’s artiness). There wasn’t really any of that with Oasis at any point. Even the initial drumming was unremarkable rather than Mo Tucker styled. And “Whatever” has more of the dynamics of ELO than The Las or The Smiths. Maybe Uncle Phil had a point. Or maybe both he and I are talking rubbish. I’m undecided at this point. I do know that my Canadian wife saw an old Chart Show indie chart run-down at one point and spluttered: “Who put Oasis in there? How are they indie?” so for her there was definitely something very jarring about that description.

  193. 193
    Mark M on 26 Jun 2013 #

    I may have said this before, but anyone particularly interested in Oasis and their relationship to indie in several of its definitions should have a look at Dave Cavanagh’s Creation book (My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize). It is vastly long, but then it’s really as much about Alan Horne, Mike Alway, Dan Treacy and Geoff Travis as it is Alan McGee.
    Oasis clearly had some roots in the 1960s-inspired, low-budget guitar music of the 1980s, but equally existed in a different time and ideological place, as well as positioning themselves as different types of personalities. What Cavanagh does suggest is that the likes of The Weather Prophets would have dearly loved to have been in Oasis’ position – by the late 1980s much of the active opposition to playing the corporate game (‘selling out’ in the old-fashioned phrase) had gone. Luke Haines’ book Bad Vibes is a more entertaining look at the same period of transition that went from when being as big as The Wolfhounds was considered a fair ambition to where you could have a number one album and still be in danger of getting dropped by major label.

  194. 194
    Auntie Beryl yet unlogged on 26 Jun 2013 #

    Both books are remarkably rewarding reads.

  195. 195
    Nanaya on 27 Jun 2013 #

    JamesBC at #169/184 – I was slightly shocked by the casual dismissal of Belly as ‘dispensable’, in the Popular indie-hive, but I suppose it makes sense if you only ever caught them in passing on the Chart Show. While everything *after* their first album is forgettable, that first album was hugely relevant in the early 90s, and I still find “Low Red Moon” eerily compelling and in my head with minimal prompting.

    Still, Tanya Donelly is kind-of indie royalty, so I guess it was inevitable they’d get airtime. Like Elastica but moreso.

  196. 196
    anto on 27 Jun 2013 #

    re193: I remember Noel Gallagher on a tv special dismissing bands like Sonic Youth and the idea that rock music should aspire to be art. Also he scoffed at one of the other members of Oasis for liking the Cocteau Twins. Noel himself always stuck up for Bono and U2 (not exactly hip now, but not much in 1995 either) and seemed fairly impressed at how big they were. Certainly I don’t think anyone would claim Oasis were ever precious about indie or what it might mean.

  197. 197
    MichaelH on 27 Jun 2013 #

    re 193 I think it’s a little bit more subtle than that. Because certainly a few years earlier, everyone else on Creation was very sneery and dismissive of the House of Love and their desire to be big (that’s in Cav’s book). But once Oasis got huge, loads of the bands – Ride is the notable example – fell absolutely in thrall to them. I’m not sure any of them wanted to be Oasis circa Shakermaker; it took them being a phenomenon for other bands on Creation to think, “Why can’t we be like this?” (Answer: because most of you were shit.) But it should be noted that not all of them felt that way – Teenage Fanclub continued to gloriously self sabotage even when with Grand Prix they had an album that should have been huge.

  198. 198
    punctum on 27 Jun 2013 #

    What do you mean by “gloriously self sabotage”? To me it implies “commercial stupidity.”

  199. 199
    23 Daves on 27 Jun 2013 #

    The one point regarding Britpop I always make elsewhere on the Internet – so I fail to see why “Popular” should be any exception – is that for me the main excitement wasn’t the main circus or the B-list chancers such as Menswear, but in what got caught in the slipstream.

    Thinking purely about Creation artists, it was heartening for me to witness the Super Furry Animals being given the space to slowly and steadily build their fanbase from album to album, a situation I really can’t imagine would have happened at many other points in popular music history. Pre-’94 I can only imagine that they’d have lived out their lives on a low budget on some small Welsh indie, or been signed to a major for one album and promptly dropped. And besides those, there was the joy of watching numerous outsiders climb into the lower reaches of the charts, and not least the thrill of Pulp getting two number two records as others have already pointed out on this thread. It made the popular music landscape seem much more rich and varied.

    The key difference between Britpop and the mid-noughties indie explosion seemed to be that the industry had learned its lesson and weren’t going to sign any more oddballs, sticking purely to the pretty kids with catchy tunes. There were lots of skewed, bizarre indie pop bands on the circuit (many of whom I loved) but they were left on cottage industry labels and utterly sidelined. The equivalents of Tiger and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci were left to fend for themselves.

    As for the point raised at #197, I think it all comes down to an age-old paradox. Most commercially successful artists will always envy their critically acclaimed colleagues, and most critically acclaimed artists will envy the success of others. If an act signed to a small record label suddenly becomes preposterously huge, those kinds of feelings are likely to intensify in that claustrophobic environment (especially when it’s clear there suddenly is more money for the taking), although obviously it didn’t spread its way right around Creation. I seem to remember that Cavanagh mentions in his book that McGee phoned up the Jazz Butcher to ask if there were any good singles on their next album, and was met with roars of laughter…

  200. 200
    Mark G on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #197 I dunno about everyone (yes, I did read that bit of the book), Peter Astor was full of praise for them when I spoke to him, the only thing he was jealous of was the ‘attention’ they were getting, but did say that it was deserved…

    #198, yes and this happens a lot. When Peter Bjorn and John had the hit with whistle whistle whistle, they did not follow it up with more of (more or less) the same, they did an introspective set of instrumentals. Clearly, they did not want comercial acumen. With Teenage Fanclub, it’s unclear if this was what they wanted or not (for me, anyway).

  201. 201
    punctum on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Thinking purely about Creation artists, it was heartening for me to witness the Super Furry Animals being given the space to slowly and steadily build their fanbase from album to album, a situation I really can’t imagine would have happened at many other points in popular music history.

    This happened regularly in the sixties and seventies. It was only in the eighties that the wheel turned in favour of instant returns or nothing.

    Tiger were on Island.

  202. 202
    Mark G on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Island used to be good at “letting them develop”. Did Tiger get the chance to succeed or fail over time?

  203. 203
    Cumbrian on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #199: In my personal list of reasons to be thankful for Oasis, Super Furry Animals are #1. The money and fame that Oasis brought Creation seemed to give them a pass to go for a punt on various artists. Some were not great, it has to be said, but it bought SFA time to develop into what I think was one of the UK’s best indie/rock bands (was – I think they struggled from Love Kraft onwards; though all those records still have winning moments, I like the stuff on Gruff’s solo records much more, and now they seem to be on extended hiatus).

    #201: Indeed.I doubt Springsteen, for one, would ever have got to Born To Run in today’s climate. Indeed, he might even not have got as far as The Wild, The Innocent… There are doubtless countless other examples.

  204. 204
    23 Daves on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #201 – It was true by the late sixties, but the early to mid sixties were far more ruthless and saw a lot of awkward or noisy bands being dropped after just a couple of flop singles. Ray Davies has often noted that had “You Really Got Me” not been a hit, that probably would have been the end for The Kinks, and indeed they were lucky to have had the chance to record a third 45.

  205. 205
    23 Daves on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Or – to clarify the clumsy wording of my original comment – the music industry did often try to slowly develop artists from around 1967 – 1979ish, but viewed across the long term that seems to have been a break in their general pattern of behaviour rather than anything else.

  206. 206
    fivelongdays on 27 Jun 2013 #

    In response to the people upthread expressing their concerns about UK drummers – it’s worth noting that the great Fyfe Ewing left Therapy? around this time

    And 206 comments? Can someone tell me if that’s a record for a Popular thread?

  207. 207
    Izzy on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Matt Helders should be right on that list of great post-punk/indie/rockist (except not really) drummers too.

  208. 208
    Cumbrian on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #206: No Charge is still the undisputed champion for number of Popular comments. Some of the year ends have loads of entries due to the TOTP re-runs.

    There’s a most comments button at the top of the FT site. I’m not some kind of savant who just knows this stuff, honest!

  209. 209
    fivelongdays on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Just seen the ‘No Charge’ thread. Seriously, bloody hell. It’s the Everything I Do+Love Is All Around+I Believe of Popular Comments, times a shedload.

    And there was me imagining a rather pleased Noel Gallagher thinking ‘Yeah, but I’ve got yer comments record, yer twats’.

    (And where is the Most Comments button? I so need to check out the threads)

  210. 210
    Cumbrian on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Up at the top underneath the FT banner and the Popular picture (with Take That), there is a red ribbon running across the screen, saying About FT, Latest Posts and so on. Most Comments is on that. It’s all clickable.

  211. 211
    Mark M on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Re: 203 Surely, the whole of the history of Creation was a punt… Their hit to miss ratio (no matter how you’re measuring success) was awful all the way along.

    I don’t think for a minute that Teenage Fanclub ever wanted to be as big as Oasis, nor obviously The Jazz Butcher. I wasn’t thinking about Creation in particular either – more The Railway Children, The Mighty Lemon Drops, those kind of people. But then, to backtrack sharply on myself, they would have probably said they had always aspired to a career that was more like the Bunnymen than the Television Personalities.

  212. 212

    Proof if proof be need be:

    1983: First single is released by The Legend!
    McGee takes out a £1,000 loan to form the record label.

    ^^^Acumen this be not thy name :)

    (Hi Jerry!)

  213. 213
    Patrick Mexico on 27 Jun 2013 #

    This deserves 212,000 comments for the simple fact it’s been a beautiful relief to hear a positive, balanced view on all things Oasis after this – the music press equivalent of “Rivers of Blood.” Nobody deserves 0/10. Not even Glenn Medeiros or Mr. Blobby.

    http://drownedinsound.com/releases/17684/reviews/4146495

  214. 214
    Cumbrian on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #211: I guess this might be true – my recollection of the Cavanagh book though is that Creation entered with some sort of a plan (be a bit like Postcard) which then spiraled away from them.

    Besides which, might well it be true of all record labels that things are done on a bit of a punt? I don’t know how much analysis goes into the likely commercial success of acts before they are signed – and if this analysis is done, how effective its hit rate is over just going into King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and signing whoever you fancy on the bill that night.

  215. 215
    Mark G on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #212, so let us speculate on why…

    1) Alan McGee starts a record label with £1000 of borrowed money to fund a legend single that nobody seems to care for much (although I liked “Melt the guns”, and thought “chunka chunka” was funnny in a way.

    Did he have some sort of idea that sales might not materialise, but a certain amount of goodwill and/or attention from maybe half-decent bands might accrue by dint of actually having something out there?

    Answers on a post (card), I’m quite sure somebody reading this right now knows….

  216. 216
    punctum on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #213 – but does anybody deserve 10/10? Or 5/10, or 8/10?

  217. 217
    Chelovek na lune on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Let it be admitted: in terms of overall vision, aesthetics (visual as well as musical), or quality-control: Creation were never in the same league as 4AD or Mute.

    “Destroy The Heart”, and various bits of My Bloody Valentine and early Ride were their peaks. But among some other passible stuff, there was always a great deal of average and really unremarkable guitary stuff.

    Still: from another of their late-indie period patchier acts, who never lived up to early expectations: “She wears denim wherever she goes, so she’s gonna get some records by the Status Quos, oh yeah” is a fine opening lyric, loped over lazy hazy fuzzy noise.

  218. 218
    punctum on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Forgive me, but that is nonsense. Whose “early expectations”? Yours?

    Also, it’s “Status Quo,” singular. It might not be Auden, but do try to get facts right, because it’s important.

    Finally, “passible” is spelt with a second “a,” not an “i.”

  219. 219
    glue_factory on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Re: 217 – I expected to come away from My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize: The Creation Records Story marvelling at Alan Macgee’s talent-spotting genius, but instead was mostly struck by the sheer volume of records he managed to release. An awful lot of which sounded like they weren’t that good.

  220. 220
    James BC on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #218 You yourself wrote “emphasise” when you meant “empathise” up-thread. Perhaps you could synthesise a bit more with the understandable slips of others?

  221. 221
    punctum on 27 Jun 2013 #

    The difference is that I take the trouble to stand back from the elephant and look at the whole picture.

    Also, I do not offer subjective assumptions in the guise of objective conclusions.

  222. 222
    Tom on 27 Jun 2013 #

    This has been a great thread – don’t screw it up with pedantic sniping please.

  223. 223
    Chelovek na lune on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #218
    Whose “early expectations”? No, not mine particularly, or really at all (beyond mild admiration for two songs): but as evidenced in terms of reception in the music press (or at least the “indie music press”, by the likes of John Peel listeners (with reference to, but only to, Festive 50s)*, and so on, which clearly peaked around the time of that group’s first and second albums. If anything of theirs post-1993 or so received the critical endorsement that “Everything Flows” attained, I am all ears and most willing to be corrected.

    *Yes, I accept that this clearly is a relatively narrow frame of reference: but in the particular context of time and that style of music, it would not strike me as an unreasonable or inappropriate one.

  224. 224
    MichaelH on 27 Jun 2013 #

    re 198 – I mean that having made an album of big commercial guitar pop, they made a very deliberate decision not to promote the fuck out of it, and to remain unfriendly to the industry because – as they’ve said – the idea of becoming a huge band (which they probably could have been for a couple of years) didn’t appeal to them. The result is that they still have a loyal audience, whereas they might have been done by 98 or 99 if they’d pursued the bucks. I don’t think they were stupid at all.

  225. 225
    MichaelH on 27 Jun 2013 #

    re 223 I think, to be honest, TFC rather exceeded everyone’s expecations by becoming a viable band for more than 20 years. Also, their biggest commercial success was with Grand Prix and Songs for Northern Britain, so it’s not like it’s all been a slow decline since Everything Flows. And the albums since have continued to get very warm reviews – yes, their moment of “hotness” was at the beginning, but that’s the case with everyone.

    As a parallel (with a band TFC love), you wouldn’t say the Byrds failed to meet the early expectations generated by Mr Tambourine Man, would you?

  226. 226
    Mark G on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Not many people bought “Bandwagonesque”, but those that did all went out and got girlfriends.

    I know, I know, but actually it’s the one album that seems to have had a lot of “I met my g/f around this time” (I know I did).

  227. 227
    Mark M on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Re 226: Reviewed it and got a girlfriend off the back of that…

    Re 219: We had a pub conversation in the late-ish ’90s about doing a front-section piece for The Face called something like the ‘A&R genius of Alan McGee’ that would just be list of 20 rubbish bands he had signed. Then decided that the readership might not be as amused as we were. Probably more fit for a fanzine.

  228. 228
    swanstep on 27 Jun 2013 #

    To be clear, when people draw attention to Creation’s ‘misses’ they mean just that Creation *isn’t an exception* to the rule that every label places bets on a large number of horses (with the relatively few winners having to cover the costs of all the rest), right?

  229. 229
    Mark G on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Yes. Also, for every record head svengali (thinking Wilson, McLaren, Spector, Waterfowl) that makes it known that all they have to do is say so, and person/act is immediately a chart sensation, um, proves not to have that power at all…

  230. 230
    fivelongdays on 27 Jun 2013 #

    @210 – ah, yes, me brain and eyes seemed to stop working.

    I need to reread My Magpie Eyes. From what I can recall, McGee started spending the labels money in a rather bonkers way (Adverts for how good the Sex Pistols were! Rollers for a bloke who couldn’t drive!), and that may well have been that.

  231. 231
    Mark M on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Re 228: It depends whether you are comparing them to EMI or Postcard, really. Other high-profile indies of the time, from SST to 4AD, at least managed to give the impression that they put some thought into who appeared on the label, although, yes, they also released dodgy records.

  232. 232
    Tom on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #229 this is one of the reasons why Cowell is such an extraordinary figure in pop – he doesn’t totally have the Midas Touch, but he has worked out how to rig the system to give him it better than almost all his predecessors.

  233. 233
    MichaelH on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #231 SST is the very model of the indie label that fucked up its mission and fucked off its bands …

  234. 234
    23 Daves on 27 Jun 2013 #

    #203 – “Hey Venus!” is a fantastic album. But yes, otherwise I’d agree that the quality of their last few records has not been that consistent. I think they’ve also openly stated that had it not been for Oasis they would not have had ‘proper’ careers in the music industry – Gruff in particular refuses to engage in any Gallagher brother sniping for that reason. I would concur that if the price we had to pay for SFA was the over-exposure of a few middling Oasis albums and singles, that’s not too much of a burden. I think I’d even let somebody lob another bottle of piss in my direction at Finsbury Park if it bought me another great SFA album.

    As for “Magpie Eyes”, I need to revisit it in light of various comments made on this thread, but it’s actually propping up my broken bed at the moment along with some reference books. I’m not joking, by the way. It genuinely is. It’s quite a weighty tome.

  235. 235
    pootle on 27 Jun 2013 #

    I bought ‘Bandwagonesque’ and have never had a girlfriend in my life. I don’t particularly want one, really. Although I found Creation strangely irritating as a label but I was still in thrall to the last of Factory (imagine an era of competing record-label ethoses).

  236. 236
    tm on 27 Jun 2013 #

    I really don’t get Teenage Fanclub: their mojo is meant to be that they’re these genius songsmiths but most of their stuff seems to meander along with no real hooks. I saw them a few years ago* and they bored the arse off me. I’m ho-hum about The Byrds, but I can enjoy the beauty of their sound even if I don’t find it terribly exciting, but TFC, apart from That Ain’t Enough, I just can’t hear anything special about what I’ve heard from TFC. Am I missing something? (Tell me what – I’m not just trying to piss people off here…)

    *At a festival sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s headlined by Super Furrys (who do have effortless-sounding indie-quirk songcraft in spades) who were pretty shambolic. Almost as if they’d been smoking cannabis…

  237. 237
    Mark G on 27 Jun 2013 #

    As I say upthread, I did buy “Bandwagonesque” and liked it with a small l. Fairly sure I got it along with “Loveless” and would play it as a break from the noise. Eventually I liked it, but never felt the need for more.

    Happy they got a bonafide hit, but a lot of their influences are in the “meh” pile for me.

  238. 238
    Auntie Beryl yet unlogged on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Grand Prix is the Teenage Fan club album that could have crossed over, but to be fair to Creation, they did go down the CD1/CD2 £1.99 route with the first two singles.

    No matter how the band spin it now, the label tried to have hits with that method, given how well it had worked with the Boo Radleys a few months before.

  239. 239
    Patrick Mexico on 27 Jun 2013 #

    @236: I’m with you on Teenage Fanclub. The Smiths, Felt, very early Primal Scream and a lot of C86 I find much charm in, but I can’t seem to engage with that band at all. Perhaps the music hasn’t aged well given its revivalism even at the time, and the one step forward, two steps back approach of many bands of the early noughties put me off anything “West Coast” or transparently “Sixties” in the slightest for ages. Especially the blasted Thrills.. I just wish they had gone back to Big Sur, and stayed there. (Apologies for some hypocrisy on my part as I always warmed to the White Stripes and the Hives when they had the same retromania – only much more energetic and the latter providing cheap belly laughs, and I was a sucker for any “energy” because of – ha! – the often godawful New Acoustic Movement of the turn of the century Oasis’s ubiquity – though not the band themselves – were partly to blame for.)

    But it wasn’t just them – as well as the post-post-punk “Gang of Four without the wit or incisive anger” crop, even when it was cool to like a certain Tennessee bunnied act a decade ago, they struck me as tiresome Skynyrd/Allman Brothers/Exile on Main St-era Stones revivalists. We’ll talk much more about them later, but the following decade yielded so many bands who within two years or less declined from “heir apparent” to “influences completely transparent.” Then again, maybe it’s an individual rose-tinted childhood thing, forgiving of many bands who’ve done the same thing in the Britpop era. Exhibit B after the ‘Sis: Elastica. Yet Connection (Wire’s Three Girl Rhumba) and Waking Up (The Stranglers’ No More Heroes) steal in such a loveable rogue manner it’s impossible for me not to be suckered in by the zippy, economical charm of that band’s debut. Perhaps compared to the latter-day bands it feels less like reverence and more winningly cowboy (NOT alt-country.. we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it, as well as pop-punk and nu-metal.. but for now I’m just looking forward to seeing how Oasis could appear SEVEN more times on Popular, outliving a lot of the above trends as they came and went. And looking forward even more to how Marcello might eat some of the above acts for breakfast on TPL..)

    Quick couple of questions to the older readers (I’m 28): how were Oasis received by the wise sages in the pub 93-94? Did the general public genuinely believe they’d be around for well over another decade? And if so, did the fans back then have faith they could maintain the quality control?)

  240. 240
    Tom on 27 Jun 2013 #

    “Too retro” was a damning and irrevocable card to play. But whether you played it or not depended on i) whether you’d heard the old stuff, and ii) whether you liked the new. A LOT of the ‘obvious influences’ were out of print, or just really expensive – so you were into post-rock and wanted to learn more about Can? Good luck with that – it was all more than full price CDs. I spent a hell of a long time in 93-94 trying to find copies of the 70s Wire LPs at a price I could afford. So making a fuss about Line Up, say, was partly just a way of saying WHY YES i HAVE heard I Am The Fly.

    But at the same time there really did seem to be something at stake in things not just ripping old stuff off (not everything could be as good as “Connection”) so the principle of “no retro” seemed a good and serious one even if the actual practise was utterly full of holes.

  241. 241
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    #238 But the first single was Mellow Doubt, the least assertive song on the album. And the strangest choice in a summer of bright assertive Britpop its – up against Supergrass, Oasis, Blur and Pulp it’s no wonder it sunk like a trace. I remember NME’s review just being a dropped jaw that was the song they had chosen.

  242. 242
    wichitalineman on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Re 238: The CD1/CD2 route would have been a sop to Sony who bought a chunk of the company in (I think) ’93. McGee was bragging that he became a millionaire (probably just about) by doing the deal with Sony, little knowing what was round the corner.

    Re 240: Very good point. Those Wire albums had been hard to track down in the mid 80s (hence a comp on the Pink label) let alone the mid 90s.

  243. 243
    wichitalineman on 28 Jun 2013 #

    …and I think the notes on that Wire comp were by The Legend!, which brings us back to Creation quite neatly.

    I’d compare Creation/4AD to Joe Meek/Phil Spector, with one taking its time, making sure every release was an event (except the poor Wolfgang Press), and the other working frenetically, sticking out records by their mates (whether Joy & Dave or Ed Ball) and hoping they’d just sell enough to keep making more records.

    Re 234: If you sold your copy of My Magpie Eyes it would go a long way to buying a new bed. Not easy to find. I regret getting rid of mine (only because it took up so much space).

  244. 244
    anto on 28 Jun 2013 #

    re236: I’ve never really got them either. I can never pick out anything that makes them distinctive, that’s for sure. An air of good humour maybe? A lack of pretentions, some ok harmonies.
    It reminds me of the girl in the sitcom who wanted to give her new boyfriend a compliment so she told him “you have a lovely sense of well-being.”

  245. 245
    tm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Re 236: It’s Ain’t That Enough, sorry…

  246. 246
    tm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Re: 239

    Personally while ‘too retro’ will make me feel guilty about liking an act (Raveonettes, Strokes before they were shit, Oasis before they were shit, Tennesee Bunnies before they were shit) it alone will never stop me liking them. What really turns me off, what I hear in TFC, is hamfisted appropriation of retro sounds: what puts me off The Thrills for example is not that they’re copying CSN&Y but that they’re not very good songwriters and the playing and harmonies are unremarkable: in other words, there’s no reason to listen to them over their influences whereas there are occasions when I would choose Oasis over The Beatles/Slade/The Pistols/The Roses or The Strokes over The Ramones (not that The Strokes were ever really influenced by The Ramones other than wearing leather jackets…)

  247. 247
    tm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Re 240: Personally my experience of the 90s retro thing was the opposite. It made economic sense to be retro: a new Blur album would cost you £14.99 on CD but Damon Albarn was always going on about the Kinks and you could get their greatest hits for £3.99 or maybe even taped for free from your parents record collection. I even ended up listening to a lot of classical music since you could always get the LPs for a pound in charity shops.

    I never saw retro as uncool at the time, either: it seemed a no brainer: 60’s; cool clothes, cool music, drugs, free love, social revolution 90’s; arseholes in sportswear hanging round outside Spar. It would take me some time to realise putting my schoolmates up against The Beatles and The Who wasn’t really comparing like with like and it was only much later when I got into Goldblade and started reading John Robb that it occurred to me that retro could be a bad thing.

  248. 248
    tm on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Re 239: The Hives are an awesome little punk band whose reputation is perhaps tainted a bit by a) being hyped by the NME at their most posturing and banal and b) the rather ploddy Hate To Say I Told You So being their breakthrough and most famous single. They are riotously entertaining live. At their secret gig at NHAC a scuffle broke out and I got knocked on the ‘stage’, Howlin’ Pelle picked me up by the scruff of the neck and deposited me back into the mosh-pit. True story…

  249. 249
    Mark G on 28 Jun 2013 #

    #243 Amazon has new hardback copies for £459 (yow!), but second hand copies for £15 or thereabouts.

  250. 250
    punctum on 28 Jun 2013 #

    It’s a charity shop regular for even less than that.

  251. 251

    Yes, my copy was £3 in the second-hand section of the bookshop across the road. Haven’t read it yet though.

  252. 252
    wichitalineman on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Lucky yous two. It’s deffo not a ‘regular’ in N London. Marcello, if you see one, could you possibly pick it up for me?

    Sukrat, it’s a very good read. He’s overly sniffy about the early days, but there are few stones unturned.

  253. 253

    I remember Cavanagh a little from my brief work at v.early Select (I got the Wire gig and stopped having time to contribute): he seemed a nice fellow.

  254. 254
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    #243 However, EMI put out the (much more comprehensive than the Pink label comp) On Returning 1977-79 collection in 1989, which meant every single “famous” Wire song was widely available in the early 90s. Also, I certainly bought Pink Flag and Chairs Missing at mid-price in the early 90s, so I’m slightly baffled by the legendary unhearability of Wire at that point. And, as to Tom’s point about Can being hard to come by – Mute started reissuing the Can catalogue in 1989.

  255. 255
    punctum on 28 Jun 2013 #

    #250: Yep, no problem. Personal copy is currently part of extensive piles of “bedside reading,” in between Jonathan Coe’s Like A Fiery Elephant and Henry Root’s World Of Knowledge.

  256. 256
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    I interviewed a Major Creation Band a few months ago, and used some details from Magpie Eyes. Two days later I got an email from the singer’s wife saying all the stuff I’d cited was untrue. Which seemed odd given how extraordinarily well sourced the book is.

  257. 257
    Izzy on 28 Jun 2013 #

    I don’t remember Wire being hard to come by, just obscure. It was an irritating strain of indie comment at the time, to dismiss, say, Teenage Fanclub as Big Star II, or Suede as Cockney Rebel Redux, as if 99% percent of the audience knew more than one song by such acts (less in Big Star’s case).

    With Can, there was just so much of it. I did see them on telly once doing ‘Oh Yeah’, so Tago Mago was the one I eventually diverted £12.99 to. I’m sure many a dullard (had I ever met another person irl who knew their work) would dismiss me with a “should’ve bought Future Days“.

  258. 258
    wichitalineman on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Many thanks. I’d be intrigued to know what the Coe book is like too.

    Going back to my first comment on Some Might Say, it’s now blindingly obvious to me why this felt like the indie wars had been won. Ten years after the Pastels’ Something Going On, the Jasmine Minks’ Where The Traffic Goes and Biff Bang Pow’s There Must Be A Better Life had been touchstone 45s in a year of event number ones, Creation had their own event number one. Even now, I find this story quite remarkable.

  259. 259
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    And just a footnote to the mentions of Elastica … In spring 95 I was in the US, and an Elastica video (I think it was Connection) was on heavy rotation on MTV. Curiously, it was a different clip from the one in the UK, and in it Justine F was very brightly lit, causing all her features to become a white blur out of which only her eyes, hair and mouth were noticeable. Which had the effect of making her look much, much less Jewish. I’ve always wondered if this was a deliberate thing to try to make Elastica more palatable in middle America.

  260. 260
    Tom on 28 Jun 2013 #

    My memories of Wire availability are obviously full of holes – I even had On Returning! (Though discogs puts the actual CD reissues of the 70s LPs in 1994, so my memories of them being hard to find in 93 seem legit)

    Izzy is right though – it was obscure rather than unavailable. My context was being at Uni – a load of people were into Britpop, considerably fewer wanted to bother digging into the roots of it. (No slight on them, of course.)

  261. 261
    MichaelH on 28 Jun 2013 #

    Ah, 94 reissues makes sense. It’s possible I had a secondhand copy of Pink Flag earlier.

  262. 262
    swanstep on 28 Jun 2013 #

    @259, MichaelH. Connection went high in the alt-charts in the US, but didn’t even scrape into the regular Top 50. It nonetheless ultimately entered general consciousness in the US via a Budweiser ad (go 4 minutes in if the link doesn’t automatically deposit you there) for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

  263. 263
    swanstep on 28 Jun 2013 #

    OK, this link has the start time right.

  264. 264
    Rory on 29 Jun 2013 #

    You lot haven’t made it easy to find something new to say about Oasis and/or this song, but as I’ve been waiting for a Popular year for it I feel I should make the effort…

    In the few years after I’d spent a year studying in England, my main source of exposure to new UK indie music was via tapes from a friend who’d kept in touch, containing esoteric stuff like the Jennifers and Popdropper. In 1994 one of these contained Definitely Maybe, by a band he assured me was going to be even bigger than Suede; and so I became one of the minority of Aussies who paid Oasis much attention before Morning Glory.

    Without any of the hindrance of hindsight, or the contemporary UK critical context apart from my friend’s reports of it, I took the music on its merits, and… quite liked it. I didn’t rate it as highly as The Stone Roses (another album I came to almost context-free when I heard it during my UK year, and loved), or even as highly as Going Blank Again (by my friend’s favourite band), but it had some good tracks.

    So when Morning Glory came out, I became one of the first of the 22 million people who bought it worldwide – and this one I did love, unreservedly. The Beatles influences didn’t bother me; a lot of my favourite bands were overtly influenced by the Beatles, and while I was listening to it I was also in the grip of Anthology 1. Liam wasn’t my favourite rock vocalist, but I warmed to him in the context of the music as a whole.

    It was enough to carry me onto their next album, and eventually – despite that one – to all of them; even to Noel’s next band, although not Liam’s. It’s been in part down to lingering interest, in part curiosity, in part the remorseless logic of musical completism, and in part thanks to Fopp knocking them out for a few quid each in the 2000s after half their audience had moved on. But it’s all been with a much clearer awareness of their UK reputation, which has sucked a lot of the fun out of it. It’s been impossible to listen to any of those later albums with fresh 1994-95 ears, and hence to any of them more than a few times. Maybe I’ll revisit them when Popular reaches their hits.

    As to that reputation: all this talk about the thuggish tendencies (or not) of the band and/or some of their fans has given pause for thought, mainly about why that never deterred me, a standard-issue quiet nerdy/geeky type, from buying their music. And a couple of things have occurred to me.

    One is that the first bands I was exposed to in any depth were Australian pub rock bands in the early 1980s, and many of those had a solid ocker fanbase (“ockers” and their cultural successors being pretty much the direct Australian equivalent of the Loaded/lad culture discussed above). A band like Cold Chisel filled much the same space in Australian music as Oasis seems to have done here, the main difference being that they quit while they were ahead (though there have been a couple of reunions). Even an overtly left-wing band like Midnight OIl (essentially our Manics, but from the late 1970s through early 2000s), with a thoughtful lead singer who ended up as a federal government minister, had fans from the ocker end of the spectrum – because they rocked hard, and said lead singer had a shaven head back when that was well-hard. If you wanted to be a fan of such music as a quiet geeky/nerdy type, you just got on with it; worrying too much about your fellow travellers was pointless.

    Then there were the reports of brotherly bickering that started making the news not long after Oasis made it big. These didn’t bother me either, because brotherly bickering was all I knew growing up. The Gallaghers’ relationship strikes me as no worse than my brother’s and mine would have been had we spent three or four decades in close proximity instead of two. (Which says nothing about how thuggish or laddish either of us were, because we weren’t.) So that was no reason for me to dismiss the music, either.

    As to the music – and to turn finally to the track at hand – “Some Might Say” is a good Oasis track, but not their greatest, not even on its parent album. In the context of the album, I could even go with a 6… but I’ve just listened to it again in isolation, and it’s reminded me of what I did like about them, so it’s a 7.

  265. 265
    Dan Quigley on 30 Jun 2013 #

    I recall being at first slightly embarrassed at proclaiming my (not unqualified) love for Oasis to my 13-year-old peers at the time, not because of their thuggish reputation – which I was not yet aware of – but quite the opposite: because I thought their twee turns of phrase and the cellos on Whatever and Wonderwall (their first two hits here in Australia) made them read as soft.

    So many great tangents on this thread – I am with Mark and Partick way back at #29 and #35 in noting that – boogie intros aside – the Oasis wash of sound recalls no one more than a slowed-down Hüsker Dü. ‘Slide Away’ in particular sounds to me as if it could almost have come straight off the second disc of Warehouse: Songs and Stories.

    As for the track under discussion, and having not listened to it for years, it took me about five different You Tube versions before I realised that it is supposed to sound *quite* so artlessly compressor-pumpy. The song is overlong, or to be more precise, about 10bpm too slow, but the chorus, not in the least bit hindered by its unrepeated string of endearingly daft lyrics is joyous – like a major-key answer record to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.

  266. 266
    enitharmon on 30 Jun 2013 #

    Thinking about my non-buying of new music in the mid-90s reminds me that one of the very few contempory albums I bought at the time was Morning Glory, and as a consequence this track is a bit of a landmark for me – the first number 1 to be in my collection “naturally” (that is, apart from those tracks I have sought out in connection with Popular) since “Every Step You Take” in 1983.

  267. 267
    Patrick Mexico on 12 Jul 2013 #

    Re 265: Well our playground version of Smells like Teen Spirit usually went:

    “Here we are now, fucking tosspots;
    We like salads, we like hotpots”

    So a (technically) Lancashire band doing one of those shout-along anthems was a match made in heaven.

  268. 268
    Ed on 5 Aug 2013 #

    David Stubbs in 1995 describing SMS as “brilliant” and “single of the year and the best thing on the album by a disturbingly large margin.”

    He is less than complementary about (Bunnied), though.

    http://archivedmusicpress.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/david-stubbs-reviews-whats-the-story-morning-glory-30th-september-1995.jpg

  269. 269
    Izzy on 5 Aug 2013 #

    I’d never heard ‘Step Out’ before and don’t remember the story of it being pulled at all. It’s really good! Oasis at their best in fact, other than the slight lull in the bridge. They should absolutely have given Stevie 50% if that’s what it took to get it on the album (assuming the whole thing wasn’t just tedious publicity-generation); it would’ve raised the whole set a lot.

  270. 270
    Erithian on 14 Sep 2013 #

    You don’t have to have been a “lad” to see the appeal of this – riffs and melodies from a pair of opening albums chock-full of them, bags of attitude and above all lyrics that feel great in the mouth – even if ou think Liam is a bit of a twat you could still appreciate the “she-yiiiine” snarl. And for me as a Manc (and for enough other people to get Wibbling Rivalry to number 52 in its own right), the bickering brothers were hysterical. Even now a Noel interview in any given magazine is the first thing I’d turn to.

  271. 271
    tm on 15 Sep 2013 #

    Noel and Liam are on too, pithy form in the Live Forever documentary too…

  272. 272
    Mark G on 16 Sep 2013 #

    I recommend the DVD with Noels commentary on all the singles’ videos, it came with the “Time Flies” box set.

  273. 273
    hectorthebat on 17 Apr 2015 #

    Critic watch:

    Michaelangelo Matos (USA) – Top 100 Singles of the 1990s (2001) 20
    Gary Mulholland (UK) – This Is Uncool: The 500 Best Singles Since Punk Rock (2002)
    NME (UK) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2014) 484
    Q (UK) – The 1001 Best Songs Ever (2003) 851
    Uncut (UK) – The 100 Greatest Singles from the Post-Punk Era (2001) 38
    XFM (UK) – The Top 1000 Songs of All Time (2010)
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Hervé Bourhis (France) – Le Petit Livre Rock: The Juke Box Singles 1950-2009
    Face (UK) – Singles of the Year 9
    Melody Maker (UK) – Singles of the Year 3
    New Musical Express (UK) – Singles of the Year 4
    Select (UK) – Singles of the Year 2

  274. 274
    Chris on 12 Sep 2015 #

    @19: “Is it true they are still seen as college rock in America? It almost suggests that our class system is over-complicated.”

    At this time, yes. Oasis were seen as a cool alternative radio/MTV 120 Minutes (Sunday night at midnight show) band only “anglophiles” were into. Definitely Maybe sold a million copies, but it did so slowly, so it was never a top 40 album. Some Might Say and Roll With It were never played on MTV in prime timeslots (actually I don’t know if they ever played Roll With It outside of 120 Minutes.) Although Live Forever was on their top 20 countdown a few times in early 1995.

    They became a top 40 band in the Wonderwall, DLBIA and Champagne Supernova time in early 1996. But they still were not seen as one of the top tier rock bands of that year (which were Smashing Pumpkins, Bush, Sublime, No Doubt, Foo Fighters, Alanis Morrisette, Stone Temple Pilots, among others.)

    Oasis didn’t really become a big music news story here until Liam refused to tour in America and refused to sing on their MTV Unplugged. So we never had the Oasis Is Everywhere coverage you had in the UK. Most of the 4 million people who bought Morning Glory just liked Wonderwall, and Be Here Now was hyped but nobody liked DYKIM? so by the fall of 1997, nobody cared about Oasis. Rock music in general died off in 1997 because everybody was more interested in Tupac and Biggie being murdered and the younger kids were listening to Hanson and Spice Girls.

  275. 275

    Ah, the American Anglophile Britpop obsessives. God bless them. Especially one of my Twitter followers, a girl of 17 who wanted to be both Selena Gomez and Justine Frischmann.

  276. 276
    Izzy on 19 Nov 2016 #

    The new documentary is terrific. Far more interesting than I was expecting – there’s some unexpected stuff (the King Tut’s gig exists on film!) and both Gallaghers come across as very smart cookies.

    Maybe showing my withitness (or lack of) but it didn’t feel like a nostalgia exercise watching it, in fact it seemed rather current. The exception is the brothers’ belligerence – rucks appear out of nowhere, others’ issues are belittled, every conflict escalated. Do people behave like that now? It’s impossible to imagine Oasis issuing a non-apology to defuse a crisis, it’d only ever be publicity to be milked.

  277. 277

    […] rock, which is to imagine, create and mobilise an audience nobody had counted on,” Tom Ewing writes about Oasis, as if also describing what Donald Trump did with a sleeping American voter base in […]

  278. 278
    benson_79 on 6 Jan 2021 #

    A great thread and a very fair review from Tom. I agree with almost all the criticisms expressed towards Oasis, but the thing is they don’t matter. Britpop in general, and Oasis in particular, is my aural comfort blanket. Listening to SMS takes me back to those mid-90s halcyon days, larking about in the high school common room with hordes of like-minded friends, riding the tide of an unstoppable cultural movement.

    Except none of that was true. A painfully shy, introverted teen, I didn’t pass the secret test to be admitted to the cool common-room crowd; instead in free periods and breaktimes I lurked in classrooms with assorted stoners, metallers and nerds who rejected the mainstream and didn’t care much for any of the songs I liked. The peculiar power of music, aided by the passage of time and a generation’s relentless dewy-eyed nostalgia, has nonetheless turned the fantasy into a mental reality.

  279. 279
    Ian Ashcroft on 9 Apr 2021 #

    Another in the long line of stodgy mid-tempo chugging Oasis tunes. A soporific plod this one. 2/10 for me.

  280. 280
    Gareth Parker on 6 May 2021 #

    I would be more inclined to go with a 4/10 here. Personally, I think it goes on a bit and chugs along without really going anywhere.

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