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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

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  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.)

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