Sep 13

OASIS – “Don’t Look Back In Anger”

Popular167 comments • 14,910 views

#734, 2nd March 1996

dontlookback Their title-belt rhetoric, Liam’s snarl, and the brick-wall loudness of Oasis’ radio sound made it easy not to notice how thoughtful Noel Gallagher’s lyrics could be. They weren’t especially clever lyrics, or meaningful, or even coherent, but “Whatever” and “Some Might Say” and “Roll With It” and “Wonderwall” and this one all have a reflective streak – bits and bobs of beermat philosophy giving the lie to the idea that Oasis were only a gang of sneering blusterers. Of course, this is more evidence that Oasis weren’t ever really a Britpop band – that scene had an art-pop appreciation for smart, satirical or formally dense lyrics, and even the unworked songs are very knowing about it (“Woo-hoo!”, indeed)

Noel seemed to prefer offhand sincerity, collages of lines that sound good sung, their emotional payoffs poking through puns, rhymes and boilerplate. According to both brothers, the “So, Sally can wait…” line that rouses “Don’t Look Back In Anger” from its slumberous verses was a happy collaborative accident, Liam pouncing on a phrase Noel had pulled from the air and ordering him to keep it. But the whole song feels like a similar patchwork, really good lines – “Please don’t put your life in the hands / Of a rock and roll band” side by side with fumbling about slipping inside the eye of your mind. The magpie phrase-lifting of the title sets the tone for the whole thing.

It might seem perverse to focus on “Don’t Look Back In Anger”’s lyrics, which are a tiny part of why it got to Number One and why it’s one of the band’s milestone tracks. But the rest of it leaves me almost completely cold, even when I can see what it’s up to. The opening piano, a lift from “Imagine”, is one of the group’s least subtle bits of behavioural priming – this is going to be a Big Song, Noel shooting for the Hall of Fame with a pained, ponderous rock ballad. I rarely like that kind of thing, and no surprise, I don’t really like this. It’s a treacly, high-gravity listen – guitars and drums and strings all jostling for space, dragging each other down. And while Liam’s singing wouldn’t have fitted this song’s rueful tone, Noel’s delivery veers between heartfelt and maudlin – particularly when he lets the song fizzle out at the end. Comparisons to “Wonderwall” – with Liam in total, electrifying command of a much tighter arrangement – are inevitable, and don’t flatter this song.

But something I do appreciate about it is that, in the context of rock tear-jerkers and lighter-wavers, the scrappy lyrics are an asset. There’s a sort of story here* – bye, Sal! – but no message or particular claim of wisdom, nothing you’re expected to agree with. Instead, the song flails about in a sump of self-justification and sentimentality, and is all the better for it. I have been drunk, and I have put big, sentimental rock music on when drunk, and felt the beery swell of nameless emotion just out of reach of my befuddled mind, and while I’d never use this track for it, I can recognise that use in it. That just-out-of-reachness – that catalyst for messy, dredged-up, inchoate feels – is the one way “Don’t Look Back In Anger” does stand comparison with “Wonderwall”.

*Though one particular coherent reading did jump out at me – what if that opening steal isn’t just a signal of the type of song this is going to be, but is an explicit admission: this song is Lennon fanfic, and Lennon is its “you”. It’s a fantasy where Noel gets to be John’s buddy – a Mary Stu. “Take me to the place that you go…” – and there’s Noel hanging out in Strawberry Fields, being there at the bed-in, helping him out – saving him, maybe – with some down-to-Earth Gallagher wisdom, vibing off his presence as “Sally” is left behind – no wonder Liam didn’t get to sing this – and kissed off with a snide cultural reference because that’s the kind of thing John Lennon does for Noel, his best friend forever. And there, walking on by, we shall leave them.



  1. 1
    flahr on 7 Sep 2013 #

    Better than Imagine. Good guitar solo and probably the best single off of Morning Glory. I’m not usually fond of this sort of big stuff (“One Day Like This” brings me out in hives) but this I love. [7]

    (I appear to be the first voter, which seriously tempts me to give this a 10 just to freak out the next few voters.)

  2. 2
    Chelovek na lune on 7 Sep 2013 #

    Not sure it tells much of a story, at least not one that can be pieced together in semi coherent-fashion, but as a kind of pastiche of semi-psychedelic Beatles it is way better than anything the Rutles ever did. (This may not be the sort of comparison Oasis were hoping for, but still).

    Background music, really, but of a pretty high standard. Not a patch on “Wonderwall” – but what, if not the Rutles, it was like a good Jason Donovan track – oh that’s unduly harsh, maybe Rick Astley – of its day. Jollied up three minutes on the radio, no more, no less.

    And much, much, much, better and indescribably less smug and objectionable than “Imagine”, too.

    a 7 from me I think.

  3. 3
    @jon_roc on 7 Sep 2013 #

    Mammoth anthem tbh RT “@tomewing: “Don’t Look Back In Anger” – beery swayalong or Lennon fanfic? New Popular entry. http://t.co/CjRJmPZGBp”

  4. 4
    thefatgit on 7 Sep 2013 #

    It’s probably one of those Oasis songs, that after “Wonderwall”, is a well worn karaoke standard. Let me tell you it’s much tougher to sing than “Champagne Supernova”. There’s that strangulated bit in the chorus that catches me out, and emphasises the painful truth, that I should never stand up and drunkenly recite Noel’s lyrics into a microphone, especially “Don’t Look Back In Anger”. Or “Wonderwall”. Or “Champagne Supernova”. I have no business attempting any of these. But when they hand out the karaoke songbook, it’s probably the Oasis ones I look for first because they SEEM the easiest to sing.

  5. 5
    The Woose on 7 Sep 2013 #

    I agree that it’s without meaning, that it’s a deliberate attempt to be anthemic, that its 90s ubiquity grates.

    But you know what? It’s well put together and it works, for all its insincerity. I would also go for a 7.

  6. 6
    Tom on 7 Sep 2013 #

    Oh I think it’s very sincere – I never get a feeling of insincerity from them at this stage.

  7. 7
    Dan Worsley on 7 Sep 2013 #

    This does the job, a big portentous heartfelt tune which recalls the glory days of many a golden oldie (bit of Bowie, soupcon of Who, loads of Beatles), Gallagher at his magpie best. Still they were arrogant enough at the time that they manage to pull it off and make it seem important, a statement. It’s an intoxicating concoction but as Tom points out it ultimately doesn’t mean anything.

    If I were being generous it’s a lament for the damage Thatcher and her generation had wrought on Gallagher’s contemporaries and the working class he grew up with, but I don’t think Gallagher’s as subtle as that, I suspect all he was after a ‘Hey Jude’ for the ecstacy generation. I guess it was no surprise that this ended new Labour bating TV epic ‘Our Friends in the North’, both a requiem and a celebration.

    Another 7/10. With a drink or two and an arm around a mate, maybe 8.

  8. 8
    @rocking_bob on 7 Sep 2013 #

    Tom Ewing on “the beery swell of nameless emotion” that is Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger: http://t.co/nlIiHZ64qU

  9. 9
    Tom on 7 Sep 2013 #

    I can’t remember why I didn’t watch Our Friends In The North, just wasn’t watching much TV at this point I guess. I think I’d have liked this more if I’d remembered it from the context of a good drama series.

  10. 10
    The Woose on 7 Sep 2013 #

    #7 when the Manics saw that final episode of Our Friends.., Nicky Wire was apparently fuming they’d chosen this rather than the (in his opinion) much more suitable (and as-then unreleased) A Design For Life.

    I can see where he’s coming from.

  11. 11
    James BC on 7 Sep 2013 #

    This was when they got to do two songs on Top of the Pops – this and Cum On Feel the Noize. A TOTP first, and possibly last.

  12. 12
    Izzy on 7 Sep 2013 #

    I never much liked this, it just seemed like so much of nothing – epitomised by Noel doing the vocals himself, as if the whole point was to get him to no.1 regardless of content. I don’t buy for a second the idea that he suits this better than Liam. Liam’s the better singer and clearly what elevates them to the upper tiers; he should sing all Oasis’ songs. The same even goes for their blindside bunny, years later, on which I do think Noel does an excellent job.

    The one time I saw Oasis – early enough that they were still on the rise in a reasonable-sized venue, but late enough that they were already obviously going to be the band – Liam cried off sick during the first song and Noel had to do the whole gig himself. I do respect him as a pro for that alone. I wish I could remember more about it, other than feeling of complete anticlimax.

    Listening now, this is okay but a real mixed bag. Half of it is flabby and half good: the verses and the chorus drag, the bridge is fantastic; the end of the guitar solo is nice, the start and other licks are boring; the intro is dull, the outro quite sweet. Could be a five or a six in truth, and in the end I’ll go for the higher number for the shots of them nervously arriving in the taxi, they still look like the novice band they once were, just on the cusp of making it, just before they got lazy. (6)

  13. 13
    lonepilgrim on 7 Sep 2013 #

    I’ve just watched the video again and after about 2 minutes 45 seconds was thinking this isn’t so bad only to realise that there was another 2 minutes to go – and so it drags on. I’d prefer an edited version; it’s got a memorable tune, some poppy catchphrases and is performed with commitment. I don’t know why Noel felt the urge to make it (and so many of their later songs) so long. Still one of their better songs for me

  14. 14
    Dan Worsley on 7 Sep 2013 #

    Just think how long this would’ve been on ‘Be Here Now’, you wouldn’t have got much change out of 15 minutes.

  15. 15
    Ed Furniss on 7 Sep 2013 #

    I was in a mainstream club in the 1990s post-11pm and this song came on over the PA. The effect was extraordinary. The whole club, boys, girls, drunk, sober stopped and sang along – it had the effect of a modern-day hymn, like a football chant or Abide With Me. Whether its lyrics mean anything or not – I think they do, its an battle cry against the ‘woe is me’ grunge generation – or whether the music is a rip-off (I thought Oasis were more an amalgam of Sex Pistols, Slade and La’s actually) or prduction is sloppy, for me this song hits the spot where many more clever, ‘art-school’ pretension could never expect to reach. And Noel’s voice is – and still is – great.

  16. 16
    @bowiesongs on 7 Sep 2013 #

    “This song is Lennon fanfic, & Lennon is its “you”. It’s a fantasy where Noel gets to be John’s buddy – a Mary Stu.” http://t.co/FNYijoFvux

  17. 17
    speedwell54 on 7 Sep 2013 #

    I try not to look back and over analyse stuff too much; liked it enough at the time. I don’t get hung up on the lyric of most things, and it has to be pretty clunky for it to be real downer. This is a mixture of words that go together well, and other lines, but it does “sound good sung”.

    Rewatching the video, it’s not great. I’m not sure it is a story video, occasionally it literally follows the words, but aside from a few nice shots- for me – it is as difficult as the lyric.

    Watching Noel Gallagher’s HFB perform, what is essentially a faithful cover, is somehow more enjoyable.

    For Oasis though, 5.

  18. 18
    Mark G on 7 Sep 2013 #

    #11, not the first (The Jam did “Precious” and “Town called Malice” the same week, apparently the first time since The Beatles), and subsequently The Ramones and The Sex Pistols both did too.

  19. 19
    Will on 7 Sep 2013 #

    Personally, I’ve never been able to see beyond the lyrics with this one. ‘Slip inside the eye of your mind’ What? How do you do that exactly? ‘Her soul slides away’? When was the last time you witnessed someone’s soul slide away?

    Easy to take the piss of course, but it does sound as if NG sat down with the specific intention of writing an anthem, couldn’t think of anything to write about and just chucked together a few random phrases that were passing through his head at the time (some of which he’d already used in previous songs).

  20. 20
    flahr on 7 Sep 2013 #

    incidentally – it’s “Sally CAN wait”

  21. 21
    Kinitawowi on 8 Sep 2013 #

    I can’t not hear this as Hale And Pace’s “Don’t Talk Back You Wanker”. It’s naff, but good naff, and clearly better than most of their stuff… probably a 6.

    #11: I distinctly remember Robbie Williams doubling up during the I’ve Been Expecting You era (with Man Machine and, possibly, [BUNNY])…

  22. 22
    Elmtree on 8 Sep 2013 #

    The video is a real missed opportunity. An Avengers-themed video is absolutely the right way to suggest the sixties without just copying something a contemporary band did, and Noel had the good sense not to cast himself as John Steed-but it goes nowhere and doesn’t fit the mood of the song at all. Shame he never really set his mind to writing the kind of song that would, in fact-trying to write a 60s spy movie-style song might have forced him to write something with a bit more lightness of touch than he ever pulled off.

    Meanwhile, this is about the only time Oasis really nail it on a single. There’s a coherent feel to the lyrics, they sound like they mean something to Noel even if we’re at a distance, and the ending is committed. The guitar arrangement is the problem-it wants to do Hendrix but it’s not that kind of song. Gallagher said later that he couldn’t resist filling up every space on his songs with a guitar lick of some kind, and this is a classic case study. And the pace is very sludgy.

    Am I the only person who thinks that the piano line doesn’t sound *entirely* like an Imagine rip-off? Lennon’s line sounds delicately minimalist and it loops again and again, under the whole song-proto trip-hop, almost, like a Massive Attack percussion loop. Gallagher’s is clearly an intro, and sounds much more knees-up; it sounds like the start of a piece of trad-pop, played at home on a piano that sounds a lot more working-class.

  23. 23
    Ed on 8 Sep 2013 #

    It’s all about ‘Our Friends in the North’, for my money the greatest TV drama series ever.

    If you haven’t seen it yet, you should track it down right now.

    If you have, I defy you to watch this without tearing up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ivHzbw4RLQ

    Simon Cellan Jones, the director, apparently chose the song when it was just an album track on ‘What’s the Story’, and it was pure chance that it was number one the week that the final episode aired.

    In the context of the series, the weaknesses of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ become strengths. Its sentimentality has been earned, and its borrowings from the past connect the story’s beginning in the 1960s to its end in the 1990s. The episode-ending songs are brilliant every time, but this one in particular becomes an impossiblly powerful evocation of the passage of time, nostalgia and hope, success and failure, life and death.

    As Dan suggests @7, ‘Don’t Look Back’ was a perfect anthem for the New Labour era: full of confidence and commitment, but with an emptiness at its heart. Its use in ‘Our Friends’ both exploits that emptiness, and fills it with meaning.

    For that reason, and that reason alone, it’s a 10 for me.

  24. 24
    swanstep on 8 Sep 2013 #

    When Noel Gallagher threatens to punch you in the nose for this score Tom, you can try to smooth things over by pointing out that in truth you think DLBIA is as good as ‘Hey Jude’ and twice as good as ‘Imagine’. :)

    As for the Lennon fanfic reading, I thought the ‘start a revolution from my bed’ clinched that the fantasy was that Noel (or Noel’s narrator) *was* Lennon (or at least strongly Lennon-like). Listening closely to the line again though, the ‘my’ is kind of swallowed and could easily be a ‘thy’… so maybe.

    Anyhow, I guess I give DLBIA a 6 or a 7 (depending on mood) – it’s lyrically only *just* good enough to pass, but it’s a robust enough tune and arrangement to be IIRC kind of a knockout on first hearing (seeing it in that TV show helps recapture that first innocent-eared perspective – thanks Ed, #23!).

    DLBIA’s not much of an earworm I find, however, precisely because it’s so eager to please that it gets tiresome very quickly. Also, DLBIA is always a little *more* stately than I remember it – does anyone know whether this is one of those recordings, like U2’s Pride (In The Name Of love), where they deliberately mastered it slowly, lowering pitch and smearing out the beats slightly to get a better feel?

  25. 25
    weej on 8 Sep 2013 #

    DLBIA is rubbish of the worst sort, not only offensively bad in-and-of-itself but having a pernicious effect for the following decade and a half, possibly longer. I’ve spent the last 17 years denouncing it to anyone who’ll listen, and it looks like I’ll have to continue here as nobody else is doing so.
    Let’s start with the lyrics. Is there a word to describe something which uses the vocabulary of the last generation to construct something which sounds like it could be meaningful, though it’s just an empty collection of phrases? Let’s call it “meaningish”. DLBIA represents the first truly successful deployment of meaningish lyrics. There is no narrative here whatsoever. I don’t want to suggest Liam & Noel were acting cynically, or that they were stupid, they just found themselves in a situation where they could get away with this shit, and they did. Let’s look at a few examples:

    “Slip inside the eye of your mind” – nuff sed already
    “So I’ll start a revolution from my bed / cause you said the brains I had went to my head” – yes, because that’s John Lennon and something that rhymes with it, fuck’s sake.
    “Stand up beside the fireplace / Take that look from off your face” – Just because your mum said it doesn’t mean it’s useful here, Noel.
    “You ain’t ever gonna burn my heart out” – Do what!? Burn it out? How incongruous and plain wrong.
    “…Sally can wait” Who is Sally? Nobody cares, that’s who. Not even the group.
    “…as we’re walking on by” Oh, now it’s Walk On By.
    “Her soul slides away” – Slides away? What?
    “But don’t look back in anger” Not Osborne, but Bowie – and lifted entirely for reasons of meaningishness.

    Ok, so I’ve basically just listed every line of the first verse and chorus, but you get the point. The fact that they were allowed to get away with pretending to have written an Indelible Rock Classic and have what seemed like the entire nation go along with them just makes me despair. The opening lift from Imagine is telling – I’ve seen the savaging that particular Classic has got on here, but come on, you might think it naive or sanctimonious but at least Lennon was trying to say something. I’d like this to be a case of “destroy your heroes” – in this case by relegating their lyrics further into the realm of cliché – but this is the time Liam turned up at the Brit Award with a scouse accent, and as Tom has said, it’s absolutely sincere.
    The worst thing about DLBIA is what it meant. The art school element of Britpop was dead and buried, the 60s pasticheists triumphant. The political, the experimental, the gay, the weird – these were all swept away by the unstoppable force of this song. Now it was Oasis or Weller on the front of Select every month, and every other group expected to fit in or be ridiculed. For every f-grade landfill indie band of the last two decades who could’ve been trying out new sounds, for every meaningish lyric (Coldplay’s Speed Of Sound is a good example), for the ghettoization of pop music, for New Lad and everything that meant, for a million dicks with acoustic guitars at parties, we have this song to thank.

  26. 26
    Tom on 8 Sep 2013 #

    #24 the fact that it’s “my” bed is the most fannish thing about it surely ;)

    #25 great comment. I think you’re probably right that this is the song where the hegemony shifted to Britrock (though things like laddism were forces well before DLBIA) – re the lyrics style, obviously I’m more charitable to it than you are, but I also get the feeling Noel owes a little bit to self-declared non-lyricist Barney Sumner: patchwork a bunch of meaningless lines together and see what falls out. The difference being in the singing style – Sumner is far more affectless, mocking the listener who expects meaning (while delivering quite a lot of emotional impact anyway, of course). Noel, on the other hand, has a strained, emotional rock singing style and I think that’s where the “meaningish” effect comes from: a trick of delivery as much as verbal content.

  27. 27
    thefatgit on 8 Sep 2013 #

    Weej has now convinced me that DLBIA is a Britpop “Life On Mars”. And I respond to both songs in the same way under the influence of alcohol; they are boozy sing-alongs. Try and analyse them and there’s nothing there. Nothing at all.

  28. 28
    Mark G on 8 Sep 2013 #

    The main problem is that Noel never ever went with anything other than his initial lyric. It’s all ‘first draft’ stuff, which isnannoying as there are loads of great lines set in with random rubbish.

    Oh, and I’m tempted to say “It’s a piano, that is what they sound like” except Noel has form for this kind of thing.

  29. 29
    @weesimon on 8 Sep 2013 #

    Beautiful piece of writing by @tomewing about a song (and band) I loathe, passionately. A joy :) http://t.co/2aoYubKLMS

  30. 30
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 8 Sep 2013 #

    Lodger is by some way my favourite Bowie LP, but I think you have to do a lot of work — and some of it pretty suspect — entirely to acquit the er original “Look Back in Anger” of what weej is calling meaningishness, once you listen past (in turn) Db’s “strained, emotional rock singing style and… trick of delivery”. Was its lyric-writer using Burroughsian cut-ups still at this point? My guess is yes, and if not, he was surely using Eno’s Oblique Strategy cards.

    My caveat, I suppose, would be that (a) I’m bothered least by this particular Gallagher tic, because I don’t pay much attention to songwords at the best of times, and (b) I’m overly fascinated by when once radical techniques begin to return as as merely trad habits.

    That said, “Slip inside the eye of your mind” at least is really not hard to gloss: “the eye of your mind” is a way of saying “your mind’s eye” — to slip behind it is to place yourself (momentarily) in the sensibility of your truest imagining inner self, the mind behind your mind’s eye, where you might find “a better place to play”. (I like the use of the word “slip” here: it suggests that this move is really only an easy step away, and not a hard thing to do, despite being a thing the song is saying that the “you” doesn’t do enough…)

  31. 31
    Tom on 8 Sep 2013 #

    There could be an eye of the storm thing, too?

    Noel liked the idea of things that slide away, or was fond of the words – he’d already called a song that: the band’s best track, in my mostly-uninformed opinion.

    Good point about cut-up starting radical and ending up common practise, though by the time it ended up common practice the formal cutty-uppyness was long gone. But “meaningishness” had been the norm for big bands for a long time – “Don’t Look Back In Anger” isn’t particularly more egregious than “Save A Prayer”.

    It’s all about finding that line or two which can jump out and matter to the listener, and if you load your song with lines which might, you’ll get a bigger hit-rate overall.

  32. 32
    Tom on 8 Sep 2013 #

    Tho as I suggested in the review I think what separates Noel G from Bowie and his inheritors (from Le Bon to Brett Anderson) is that he’s not usually going for modernist/poetic effects, he’s more about the colloquial – some might say, you gotta roll with it, d’you bunny what I mean, etc. He might have written “Save a Prayer” but he’d not have tried “The Chauffeur”. So stuff like “the eye of your mind” or “after all you’re my Wonderwall” sticks out more than it otherwise might.

  33. 33
    Ed on 8 Sep 2013 #

    “Slip inside….” is an allusion to this, I would guess: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwSA0Tckwbk

    Although Noel may have been thinking of this version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQN6yqxABvg

    The cut-up lyrics, like the big guitar sound, also probably came from Nirvana. They were a Kurt Cobain enthusiasm, and we know Noel was a big fan.

  34. 34
    Ed on 8 Sep 2013 #

    But ‘Save a Prayer’ is completely straightforward, isn’t it? The last verse helpfully explains what it’s all about. Certainly it’s much more coherent than DLBIA, I’d say.

  35. 35
    weej on 8 Sep 2013 #

    I think we have to draw a distinction between cut up lyrics and what Noel was up to. Cut-up can work as a form because (a) if you’re putting good stuff in, good stuff may come out and (b) the unexpected combinations can inspire creativity. What Noel is doing is throwing together a load of classic rock / pop cliches mixed with whatever phrases he was hearing around him, and passing it off as a great statement / anthem / whatever it is. With something like Save A Prayer – yes, it’s guff, but we can pass it off as imagery, it isn’t pretending to be something it isn’t.

  36. 36
    hardtogethits on 8 Sep 2013 #

    I like the idea that the tide is turning here after initially all comment seemed to be in Oasis’s favour.

    Remember Stiltskin, with their 3-out-of-10 chart topper, “Inside”? Tom commented “It’s a cataract of nonsense – somewhere, Simon Le Bon sucks air through his teeth in awed admiration.” Here, we seem to be reaching the same conclusion. Except, Oasis were so big that they could go straight in at number one with the FOURTH single off an (already available) album. People really were investing in this.

  37. 37
    mapman132 on 8 Sep 2013 #

    It’s hard to believe this is only Oasis’ second number one – it feels like we’ve been discussing them forever (and there’s still what? at least 6-7 to go?) Anyway, unlike their previous #1, this had a small impact on the US charts: #55 on the Hot 100, Top 10 on Modern Rock. I actually like it: I think I’ll give it an 8.

  38. 38
    MichaelH on 8 Sep 2013 #

    I said all I have to say about Oasis The Phenomemon on the Some Might Say thread, but I’m very taken with the Lennon Fanfic theory. Also, though, is this the song that proved Noel G had read one book, at least? Surely “the revolution in my bed” line is a reference not just to the bed-in, but also to Revolution in the Head, which would have been published not long before this song was written. I agree about the “please don’t put your life …” line being one of his better lyrics, but then I wonder why it was written, since the entire point of Oasis at this juncture was to demand you placed your life in the hand of a rock’n’roll band – Oasis fans were like football supporters, with the same tribal loyalty, and Liam and Noel seemed to revel in it. So while pop songs, of course, don’t have to be true, that line seems too disingenuous to be true. As if David Bowie had written Just the Way You Are, or something.

  39. 39
    Mark G on 8 Sep 2013 #

    It’s one of a small number of songs that, for me, had the nugget of a situation that would render well in a song.

    The tune/arrangement is fine.

    The lyrics? Something about having a new girlfriend allowing ‘you’ to have affection for a previous partner, letting go of the anger that lead to the split-up (and, obviously, the commencing of the new relationship) and having positivity.

    So, to that end, I’d junk all the lyrics except for the “So, Sally can wait” section that runs up to the title (inclusive),and the closing “at least, not today”.

    Is this the singular most patronising post I have made on this board? How many top 10 songs have I written? Does this song actually need more sense?

    Paul Mac used to say “They can’t all be Eleanor Rigby”, but does Noel keep the overall quality low just so as to not peak and have to ‘keep up the quality’? Occasionally, there’s one he’s genuinely proud of. But you’ll have to wait a long time for that bunny.


  40. 40
    ace inhibitor on 8 Sep 2013 #

    #31 ‘Slide’ and ‘Shine’ are the quintessential oasisverbs, aren’t they? I’m guessing as much as anything because they suit Liam’s slurred delivery so well.

    #38 agreed that the ‘please don’t put your life’ couplet sounds disingenuous – ‘oh no, why have you made us your gods!?’ and because of that and because I think its a crap, clunky rhyme punctuated by that awful ‘see what we did there’ guitar work, I vote it the worst moment in their entire ouvre

  41. 41
    flahr on 8 Sep 2013 #

    #35 – ah, so this song isn’t Authentic enough for you, I gotcha ;-)

  42. 42
    ace inhibitor on 8 Sep 2013 #

    I watched Our Friends in the North recently, having missed it completely first time round. One thing that really struck me about that last ’90s’ episode is how dated it feels – a world without mobile phones, email, internet… – just about the last point in time, I would have thought, when you could realistically do that. (Every contemporary drama now has to find some way of accomodating the way people actually communicate. That final scene, Christopher Ecclestone chasing Gina McKee’s car through Newcastle… he would just text her now, wouldn’t he?) It makes the 90s look almost as remote as the 60s of the first episodes.

  43. 43
    swanstep on 9 Sep 2013 #

    @Mark G., 39. I think Noel G. does bring out a slightly patronizing side in people who’ve tried to write songs themselves: when his lyrics get awkward (e.g., the ‘fireplace/look off your face’ couplet) they’re awkward in *exactly* the ways people remember their own crappest, most cringeworthy lyrics as being (or at least that’s true for me!).

    I’m not sure, however, that as drastic surgery as you recommend for the song’s lyrics are necessary (e.g., I find Mark S’s defense of the first line perfectly adequate): maybe just a few lines changed here and there could *place* things a little better and stop the verses from feeling so scatter-shot. In this connection I was thinking a bit about the last track off Ziggy Stardust, ‘Rock n Roll Suicide’: not one of Bowie’s great songs but effective. The couplet ‘Don’t let the sun blast your shadow/Don’t let the milk float ride your mind’ could be Noel G., but Bowie places matters with the previous line, ‘But the day breaks instead so you hurry home’: so we’re stumbling home at daybreak among the milk delivery trucks. *That’s* the sort of stabilizing line I think DLBIA needs once or twice in its verses.

  44. 44
    Avon on 9 Sep 2013 #

    With the ‘Please don’t put your life in the hands…’ line, what makes it great is precisely that it goes against the whole brash, loud, football supporter vibe of Oasis. It’s like a moment of quiet truth away from their normal bombast, where Sensitive Noel plays the honesty card. Although, as pointed out, the guitars giving a squeal in response renders it arse. Bernard Butler, on one of his best forgotten solo tracks around the time, did something similar (lyric went something like, “When all I have is my/ electric guitar” *SQUEAL!!!* Shocking…)

  45. 45
    Ed on 9 Sep 2013 #

    @38, @40 etc: Yes, it’s classic reverse psychology, isn’t it? “Please don’t put your life in the hands of a rock and roll band. That would be terrible, wouldn’t it?”

    Of course, they did then go and throw it all away. We can’t say we weren’t warned.

    I always thought that line was meant to be about Robbie Williams.

  46. 46
    Mark G on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #43, Of course, you are quite right if what you are proposing is a ‘better fit’ for the existing content. What I had in mind was a different song which the chorus more or less points towards. Noel does this often, I can’t think of anyone else who does this at all, where the verses and the chorus do not match.

  47. 47
    anto on 9 Sep 2013 #

    This seemed over-familiar even before it was a single. Actually I can’t remember another album with as many ubiquitous tracks as ‘Morning Glory’. This particular one was used at the end of ‘Our Friends in the North’ which seemed a consolidation in itself. Also unless I’m mistaken March ’96 was the month when Oasis won virtually everything at the Brit awards apart from Best International Female Artist.
    I personally prefer ‘Don’t Look Back..’ to ‘Wonderwall’. The arrangement is a bit boxy and the ‘Imagine’ reference is totally unnecessary but I like the lift on the chours and the general feeling it has of a kind of council house epic. It’s upward in defiance but not stratospheric as such. Oasis were always more about the need to get out of bed rather than touching the sky.

  48. 48
    leveret on 9 Sep 2013 #

    I prefer this to Wonderwall too, and didn’t mind an occasional turn for Noel on lead vocals. He has a plaintive sort of quality in his voice which lends this song a sense of wistfulness, despite the triteness of the lyrics.

  49. 49
    Cumbrian on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Here we are, just at the very crest of the wave. (WTS)MG is selling like hot cakes, there’s no Glastonbury so the two night stand for your band is THE hot ticket for the summer and you can bung out the 4th single off your album and it will get to #1. Even the critics have been cowed by the weight of public popularity and all the somewhat negative reviews for your album have been consigned to a footnote to your inexorable, world conquering march. America awaits, if you can keep it together.

    But, by its very nature, once a wave crests, it starts to break and the only possibilities are navigating the waters back to shore with skill, upright on your board, or succumbing to the destructive forces and swimming back to land, at best with your board under your arms or at worst chasing your equipment all over the place, whilst the waves buffet you hither and yon. The signs of the break and the fall, rather than skilful piloting, are here throughout this single.

    DLBIA, as others have pointed out, is an easy anthem; I think you can draw some parallels with Live Forever, another slow-ish, showy anthem (showy in LF is in the long guitar solo, here it’s the “finally we have a drummer” tumble down the stairs into the final chorus). Live Forever though means something – perhaps the most important thing – revelling in the connection with someone else – and never wanting it to end. DLBIA is, if it’s about anything, about the end of a connection, shoots for wistful, and I think misses, and winds up with something that can be bawled back at you by 125,000 people, so that you feel like the King of the World. I guess feeling like the King of the World is one way to avoid looking back in anger at least. I’d give it a grudging 6 – a lot of the criticisms of it above are well founded in my view.

    In retrospect, for at the time Oasis could do little wrong for a lot of people, future problems are especially apparent with at least two of the B-Sides. Step Out is bright, peppy and was slated to appear on the album – except that the lift is so flagrant that legal issues with Stevie Wonder kept it off. I think it would have been odd on (WTS)MG though – that album is actually weighted down by the world (from Hello – where Gary Glitter’s refrain is married to a lyric addressing just how much of a bitch it is working with Liam sometimes – through the “world gets you down, keep on keeping on” Roll With It, to the need for salvation on Wonderwall and the cocaine psychosis of the title track), such that I don’t think Step Out fits in. It’s also horribly recorded, pushing the volume high with some awful guitar texture that is unfortunately going to feature heavily the next time Oasis get in the studio. Cum On Feel The Noize is even worse for this – headache inducing, slathering on the guitar in great chunks, going on too long before fading out into Reeves and Mortimer-esque Brummie accents (Oasis were about to have serious problems working out how to finish songs in a timely fashion – but we will be there then). Only Liam manages to come out of it with any credit – it might be one of his best vocals.

    There’s some nasty prefiguring with those two tracks, made even worse by the fact that they sandwich a lovely song. Underneath The Sky lasts 3:20 and where DLBIA misses, hits the wistful tone spot on. The piano solo is artless. There is nothing showy about the track at all – there’s even enough separation in the recording to pick out the acoustic guitars under the electric – and the lyrics, whilst going back to the well of escape, seem to have some sort of thought put into them (witness the shift from “all he needs is his life in a suitcase” to “all we need is our life in a suitcase” and the implication that Noel might like an anonymous life, telling stories, writing songs and moving on when the fancy takes him, as well as managing to avoid rhyming in the bridge/chorus). It’s so far from a piece with everything that surrounds it and everything that is coming up – yet so obviously still Oasis thanks to Liam’s delivery – that it’s the track that makes me wonder what could have been; they wouldn’t go back to stuff like this until Part Of The Queue, nearly a decade hence. Less adulation probably would have been the result, and too much of this might well have been boring, but a more grounded, more thoughtful, dare I say it, more indie Oasis might have been able to stay on the surf board for longer.

  50. 50
    Cumbrian on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Also,a further sign/question that Oasis’ time as the biggest band in Britain is fast coming to an end. Ask yourself this bunny question – who will be #1 when Oasis play Knebworth?

  51. 51
    Cumbrian on 9 Sep 2013 #

    As no one else has done it, I’ll also say that this – and the next #1 – kept Children by Robert Miles at #2. I don’t know what to say about it to be honest, except that it sounds a bit like the junction between Moby and Enigma.

  52. 52
    Andrew Farrell on 9 Sep 2013 #

    The first line does point towards Noel’s mental mantle of a holder of Esoteric Knowledge (and is willing to point their fans in that direction) – more Lennon fetishism of course, but somehow it feels more interesting because it’s coming from a dull band – that it’s now Officially Alright to be interested in this stuff. But notably only from one of the pair – though I might come back to that for a quieter entry, Christ knows there’s going to be a couple.

    Great lost time-travel Youtube reaction videos – Noel watching Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

  53. 53
    23 Daves on 9 Sep 2013 #

    One advantage of Noel’s lyrical approach is that listeners could easily weld their own meanings on to his songs if they wanted. This definitely applied to me in this case, since I actually split up with a girlfriend of mine at a party while this song played in the background, and she was in attendance with – wait for it! – a girl called Sally. To this day, I can’t hear DLBIA without feeling that it’s in some way addressed to me or about the nastiness of the fall-out from our particular row, even though most of the contents are utterly irrelevant and the reference only loosely fits at best (though I do buy the analysis given above that it’s partly about “letting go” of a partner).

    I drew a lot of comfort from the track at the time, though I’m less keen on it now and can hear its lumpen qualities more clearly. But even so, its stickle-brick Beatlesiness has always reminded me of the naivete of a lot of very late sixties and even early seventies attempts to ape the Fab Four, initially reminding me of the theme from “Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads”, then later (when I finally actually heard them) Elton John’s 1969 attempts at psychedelic pop and obscurities like Fickle Pickle’s “Sam and Sadie” (http://youtu.be/4fZfF1EECOI). I could hear “Imagine” too, obviously, but I’m no more offended by the overall simplicity of the homage than I am by Status Quo or The Move’s beery takes on the rock underground.

    Overall, a 7 from me I think, probably partly for reasons which had nothing to do with the intentions of Noel Gallagher or anyone else. If you’d asked me at the time I’d probably have stretched to a 9 or maybe even a 10.

  54. 54
    wichita lineman on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Save A Prayer and Life On Mars or terrific comparisons, neither of which I would ever have thought of. My antipathy towards “girls band” Duran Duran at the time set me firmly against it, so I can see how this meaningfully meaningless ballad can rub people up the wrong way. But a cut-up is a cut-up, and if Life On Mars can survive it’s dogs and clowns and heavy-handed Disney lines, then DLBIA certainly can’t be sunk by its recycling of above-average sixties lyrics and song titles. First line is 13th Floor Elevators, Primal Scream and the Small Faces in one. That’s quite impressive.

    What I didn’t like about it at the time was that Noel sang it. His voice is perfectly OK, but it felt like points scoring within the band – “I get to sing the biggest song cos I wrote and I want everyone to know that”. More of a Yesterday (no other Beatle present) than an Imagine in that respect.

    RE Our Friends in the North: I’m surprised the Manics wanted A Design For Life to represent the confidence, promise and ultimate hollowness of New Labour. DLBIA does the job so well. Having said that, I’ve never stopped to think what the lyrics on A Design For Life are about. For me, again unintentionally, that is more the blueprint for late 90s Britrock than DLBIA, huge orchestration an’ all. Beyond it lie Embrace, Starsailor, and others I’ve thankfully forgotten about.

    If they’d wanted to release it, I’m sure Champagne Supernova could’ve been another no.1 as a FIFTH single from (WTS)MG. It was used purposefully and effectively on Southcliffe, another very fine and powerful TV series.

    Re 53: Likely Lads is a good call, and thanks for that Fickle Pickle track – never heard it and it’s terrific. “Sally can wait” as a trigger reminds me of “West is Mike and Susie”, another evocative hook from Van Der Graaf Generator’s Refugees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoIDixTz8w4

  55. 55
    Mark G on 9 Sep 2013 #

    “Design for Life” reminded me at the time of the “We’re OK” song that featured in “Educating Rita”, the one where Rita’s mother says “There’s got to be a better song to sing than this”

  56. 56
    fivelongdays on 9 Sep 2013 #

    As I’ve previously mentioned, I can’t stand Wonderwall, and I blame it for just about everything wrong, ever. However, I honestly don’t mind this. I think in some ways Noel’s voice is stronger than Liam’s (although Liam is far more distinctive) and it suits this song. Compared to Wonderwall, this has got more oomph, more drive, and it doesn’t celebrate idiocy. Yes, the Lennon worship was starting to feel tiresome, but it works here. Also – and perhaps most importantly – ‘Please don’t put your life in the hands of a rock’n’roll band’ is one of the greatest lines ever, and it’s easily Noel’s finest.

    On the other hand, it has been played a wee bit too often, it drags a little bit, and Alan White sounds like he’s falling down a rather unimpressive flight of stairs…so I think I’ll give it six, maybe seven.

  57. 57
    Cumbrian on 9 Sep 2013 #

    I too am a bit surprised the Manics were miffed about A Design For Life not being on the end of Our Friends… – isn’t it (ADFL), at least partly, about Old Labour – or at least the types of things Old Labour talked about? And also a bit of wariness about New Lad/binge drinking culture?

    I guess it might fit Our Friends in the end, thinking about it – given that there’s elements of socialism and community running through it and (spoilers) Daniel Craig’s character overcomes problems with alcohol – though he does have a stint in prison to dry out (/spoilers).

  58. 58
    Elmtree on 9 Sep 2013 #

    I think the problem the critics may have had with getting WTS(MG) is that they listened to it end to end. Listened to it that way it’s a chore-very sludgy and all one pace, with most of the extra instruments they’d learned about since DM coming in at the same pitch as the guitars. And listened end to end the high-volume mastering probably sounded very monotonous.

    But paired up against much of the competition on a Radio 1 playlist this would have stood out-big guitars and a very raw vocal. I think its other distinctive factor compared to its natural competition is its organic quality: there’s no looped guitars or drums anywhere, it’s not locked to a defined beat, and at the end there’s a full-on guitar solo. The norm in rock, obviously, but if you hated synths and drum machines this must have sounded pretty excitingly wild at the time. But I wasn’t listening to pop radio back then, so I’d welcome opinions on this.

  59. 59
    weej on 9 Sep 2013 #

    I don’t think DLBIA is the worst offender as far as indie lyrics go, not even for the period (that honour goes to Mansun’s Stripper Vicar, a lyric so bad that they felt they needed to write a b-side to explain that the lyrics weren’t meant to mean anything anyway, so there haterz. The song itself is pretty good though.) – just that it set the new standard of “this is what a Classic Rock Song looks like”. Life On Mars has fairly ridiculous lyrics, yes, but they aren’t ugly, clunking, banged-together-with-a-spanner-that’ll-do lyrics. Save A Prayer is just a silly pop song, nobody in their right mind could’ve taken it serously.

    Apropos of nothing much, I was listening to Acquiesce yesterday. I would’ve given that an 8 or a 9.

  60. 60
    Rory on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Once again my general obliviousness to lyrics (I rarely remember them very accurately) inoculated me to this song’s obvious flaws, leaving only the healthier parts. I’d go a six on a bad day, which as I’m Australian was yesterday; today it’s a seven.

  61. 61
    wichitalineman on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Now! Watch: This would probably have opened Now 33 if Queen didn’t always insist on being Side 1 Track 1 (so it wasn’t Freddie, then); it had to settle for second place.

    A nice bridge from Britpop (Pulp) to US Rock (Meat Loaf) is Cher’s One By One which, I think, was written by Liverpool band the Real People, who were a major (and largely forgotten) influence on Oasis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2OyWJTGXDY I never liked them much myself. No memorable tunes and a telltale, washed-out major label production.

    I think this was the last Now to come out on vinyl. But I could be wrong.

    Queen : “Too Much Love Will Kill You”
    Oasis : “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
    Babylon Zoo : “Spaceman”
    Supergrass : “Going Out”
    Pulp : “Disco 2000”
    Cher : “One by One”
    Meat Loaf : “Not A Dry Eye In The House”
    Enya : “Anywhere Is”
    The Connells : “’74 – ’75”
    Boyzone : “Father and Son”
    Blur : “The Universal”
    Paul Weller : “Out Of The Sinking”
    Cast : “Sandstorm”
    Mike + The Mechanics : “All I Need Is a Miracle”
    Status Quo with The Beach Boys : “Fun Fun Fun”
    Terrorvision : “Perseverance”
    Lush : “Ladykillers”
    Levellers : “Just the One”
    Radiohead : “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”
    Oasis : “Live Forever”

  62. 62
    James BC on 9 Sep 2013 #

    I think Hello from Morning Glory is Oasis’s best example of phrases that stir emotion despite having no obvious meaning. “Nobody ever mentions the weather” is a great non-observation, and I love the menacing use of “sun don’t shine”, coming off as an oblique threat to stick something where the sun don’t shine.

  63. 63
    Cumbrian on 9 Sep 2013 #

    My Dad had the Status Quo album that features the song with Beach Boys. He had it on heavy rotation. Let me just say that “Fun, Fun, Fun” is “Not, Not, Not”.

    What’s Live Forever doing tacked on the end of that tracklist? Bit weird.

    I think that The Real People’s Chris Griffiths was given a co-writing credit on Rockin’ Chair off the “Roll With It” single, thus making him the real winner of the Battle of Britpop. Must have made a pretty penny of the sales of that single.

  64. 64
    Cumbrian on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #62: As I mentioned earlier, I’m convinced Hello is actually a song full of meaning. I think it’s about Noel coming back to the band after doing one and having to face up to working with Liam again. “The weather” is a metaphor for Liam’s mood – hence making or breaking his day – as well as “I don’t feel as if I know you, you take up all my time”. The mordant “Hello, Hello, It’s good to be back” suggests that it is anything but.

    Alternatively, it could be about having an abusive father. Either interpretation fits the song. Anyhow, I think Noel has written some real meaningless drivel in his time – but Hello is not part of that.

  65. 65
    Tom on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Two tracks on the same Now Disc though! Was that a first?

  66. 66
    ciaran on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #63 – From reading the now 33 notes back then Oasis all had 9 of their songs released in the top 75 at one point close to now 33’s release so they included live forever on the album as a result.

  67. 67
    Cumbrian on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #66 Oh yes – the cigarette pack style box sets of the singles. I remember those. Pokemon meets Britpop – got to catch them all and put them in a little box.

  68. 68
    mapman132 on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #60 I rarely listen to lyrics closely either, which is probably why I like this song – it sounds good if you don’t take the words seriously (which is true of most of Oasis’ hits).

    Completely by coincidence, I was thinking of a song this morning whose lyrical flaws even I can’t ignore – it was a US Top 5 in 1995, but our chance to send it though the wringer here is yet to come….

  69. 69
    MichaelH on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #61 Real People had one decent song, Windowpane – the contractually obliged song all Livepool bands had to have about a tab named after glass (see also Lookingglass by the La’s). But that’s the only melody of theirs I can remember.

    Been thinking more about the “Please don’t put your life in the hands …” line, and realising it was actually oddly prescient, given the way Creation placing its life in the hands of Oasis destroyed that label, turning it into Oasis plus hangers on, plus cocaine, plus paparazzi, with deletirous effects on the music and lives of many of the people involved. If you imagine it as being sung to Alan McGee it becomes strangely touching. Perhaps wichitalineman might have some insight into this …

  70. 70
    23 Daves on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #54 Don’t bother with the (sole) Fickle Pickle LP, it’s really not worth it. But it is perhaps worth mentioning that vocalist Geoff Gill did end up doing the arrangements for The Verve, which makes their presence in this thread perhaps less odd than it might seem.

    I’m irritated by the fact that there’s no sign at all of Elton John and Roger Hodgson’s (of Supertramp) 1969 single “Mr Boyd”/ “Imagine” on YouTube, which contained both nostalgia for The Beatles in their psychedelic prime (already!), meaningless lyrics fired from a phrase gun, snarled vocals with long drawn-out vowels, plentiful pop guitar solos and mournful piano lines. Elton never seems to mention it, but during his pre-fame years he clearly accidentally stumbled on the Oasis formula for one single.

    Oh yes, and I forgot to say – I never liked “Wonderwall” either. A dirge. I could never understand what I was supposed to be getting from it and always skipped that track on “Morning Glory”.

  71. 71
    Ed on 9 Sep 2013 #

    @54, etc. What is it about ‘Save a Prayer’ that people don’t get?

    I’ve been trying to think of songs that are lyrically *more* direct and explicit in their meaning, and I’ve come up with ‘White Lines (Don’t Do It)’ and ‘Free Nelson Mandela’. Other than that, I’m stumped.

    Even ‘Don’t Kill the Whale’ has that slightly enigmatic line about reasoning with destiny.

    “Some people call it a one-night stand…” Indeed they do.

  72. 72
    wichitalineman on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Re 71: Save A Prayer is dressed up in language that doesn’t sound much like a quick shag, which is presumably what it’s about.

    The pace and earnestness of the chorus suggests significance – bringing religion into a song nearly always does – but the lyric doesn’t really mean anything. Not that I can work out, anyway.

  73. 73
    speedwell54 on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Re Wichita at 61 – you could have name checked yourself with disc 2!
    Now 35 was the last on vinyl and worth a pretty penny I believe.
    Also re Queen insisting on track 1 side 1. It was mentioned on the Now 30 Years ITV documentary earlier this year as if it was nailed on, but not really backed up. They failed on NOW 3,4,7,16,19. Admittedly they did get their own way several times.

    Re Tom at 65. “Two tracks on the same Now Disc though! Was that a first?” I’m not sure if you are asking so precisely “disc” therefore a cd, not cassette or vinyl which rules out a few possibles

    Limahl and Kajagoogoo on Now 1
    UB40 alone and with Chrissie on Now 6.

    then in the cd era

    Paul McCartney with My Brave Face and helping out on “Ferry ‘cross the Mersey” on Now 15
    Bill Medley with Jennifer Warnes and then as half of the Righteous Brothers on Now 19
    Elton, alone then with George Michael on Now 22

    As a named act in the pure sense I think you are correct with Oasis. Since then, quite a few, with many bunnies. Robbie Williams and Katy Perry have done it twice!

  74. 74
    Alfred on 9 Sep 2013 #

    The Bernard Sumner comparison is apt, but an arrangement like “Don’t Look Back in Anger”‘s would expose him cruelly.

  75. 75
    hardtogethits on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #61. re: One By One, by Cher. Weird fact – it was recorded by top Irish Eurovisionist croonster Johnny Logan before Cher. I apologise that this does not flow from any other contribution, but I was so enthralled when I heard this fact (and his version of the song) that I wanted to tell anyone who might be interested and then in the ensuing years I have wondered if anyone would be. This is my only hope.

    #73. Thanks for the Now facts, Speedwell. I never did get round to watching that Now 30 years doo-dah. Worth it? Discussed elsewhere? If so, sorry.

  76. 76
    Kinitawowi on 9 Sep 2013 #

    #51: Children was an amazing track, although given that it was explicitly created as a comedown song to be played at the end of raves it may also be a stepping stone to the couple-of-years-down-the-line dreaded path of Chillout.

    #61: We’re done with CD2 of Now! 33 too, of course (there’s no number ones on it). A bit patchy for three quarters of a disc – even if I Got 5 On It remains hilarious – until it explodes from about Dubstar onwards.

  77. 77
    Tom on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Robert Miles’ music was banned in Italy for being too boring, ISTR. There were a couple of road accidents blamed on it sending drivers to sleep.

  78. 78
    Chelovek na lune on 10 Sep 2013 #

    Robert Miles’ ‘One and One’ (I don’t recall the similarly named Cher number at all…) – that was a real cracker of a single, straddling the pop/dance divide just very well…and not sleep-inducing either. Haven’t listened to ‘Children’ for many years….but my vague recollection (right? Wrong? Wildly wrong?) was some kind of updated Mike Oldfield type vibe…)

  79. 79
    flahr on 10 Sep 2013 #

    I thought we’d discussed “Children” before – great track, but #77 is a little ironic, given that I remember reading its purpose as a comedown song was so highly-strung teens didn’t die in road accidents on the way back from raves.

  80. 80
    Jody Macgregor (@jodymacgregor) on 10 Sep 2013 #

    Tom Ewing on ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ & “the beery swell of nameless emotion just out of reach” is tops. http://t.co/nyWoiEEFYC

  81. 81
    Ed on 10 Sep 2013 #

    @72 Exactly! LeBon is saying a quick shag with him actually *is* a religious experience. (‘Locked Out Of Heaven’ flips the idea around, because Bruno Mars is trying to be charming, rather than imagining what Bryan Ferry would say.)

    And now I’m going to get RapGenius on you. It’s always been my favourite DD song, but now I’ve made the effort to look at the lyrics, I think they’re actually pretty good.

    You saw me standing by the old
    Corner of the main street
    And the lights are flashing on your window sill

    (We are all prostitutes, you see?)

    All alone ain’t much fun
    So you’re looking for the thrill
    And you know just what it takes and where to go

    (I’m not really sure just what it takes and where to go, but I’m prepared to believe that LeBon knows.)

    Don’t say a prayer for me now
    Save it ’til the morning after
    No, don’t say a prayer for me now
    Save it ’til the morning after

    (Don’t worry about me: I’m having a good time. Although I may be a bit wistful in the morning)

    Feel the breeze deep on the inside
    Look you down into your well
    If you can, you’ll see the world in all his fire

    (OK, this is a bit Flora Poste’s Fine Writing, but I think we can all see where he is going with his imagery here. I don’t need to explain what “your wel” is, do I?)

    Take a chance
    Like all dreamers can’t find another way
    You don’t have to dream it all, just live a day

    (As Viz once put it: Have a tab. You might get hit by a bus tomorrow.)

    Don’t say a prayer for me now,
    Save it ’til the morning after
    No, don’t say a prayer for me now
    Save it ’til the morning after
    Save it ’til the morning after
    Save it till the morning after

    (Did this bit)

    Pretty looking road,
    Try to hold the rising floods that fill my skin
    Don’t ask me why I’ll keep my promise
    Melt the ice

    (Sexy metaphors, a slight return)

    And you wanted to dance so I asked you to dance
    But fear is in your soul
    Some people call it a one night stand
    But we can call it paradise

    (And that’s what the song’s about!)

  82. 82
    mintness on 10 Sep 2013 #

    On the subject of Robert Miles: is it just my memory playing tricks on me, or did TOTP actually censor the word “Children” in its top ten countdown in the wake of the Dunblane massacre?

  83. 83
    Kinitawowi on 10 Sep 2013 #

    #82: Children was number 10 in that legendary countdown read out by Chris Eubank (“at number thixth…”) and it was okay then, although Polyhex tells me that was five weeks after it first made Number 2 so enough time may have passed by then.

  84. 84
    Alan Connor on 11 Sep 2013 #

    Re 38: At the time, I kinda presumed that Noel G was re-reading Revolution In The Head frequently. “‘A hard day’s night’ was some bollocks Ringo said? Right, I’m using ‘your brains have gone to your head.’ Psychedelic ‘Turn off your mind’ instructions? Right, having some of that. Mixolydi-what? Fuck that.”

    On the other hand I was myself constantly re-reading Revolution In The Head at the time, so I’m doubtless projecting. (But if Penny Anderson is right in remembering no Beatles in Noel’s CDs in ’93, maybe he was getting properly acquainted with the band with the assistance of MacDonald…?)

  85. 85
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 11 Sep 2013 #

    One of MacDonald’s arguments in RitH is that there was an enormous risk taken — and price to be paid, not least by Lennon — for placing avant-garde projects, Cageian, Burroughsian, “randomising” projects, in the hands and minds of an unprepared mass public, in the context of a complex overall study of 60s rock and pop and educated intelligence, and the value (and fragility) of their coexistence. There’s something more than just mordantly ironic about this proposed sequel, then: NG (as representative figure of such a public, none less prepared?) carefully reading said book, and its therefore becoming a catalyst for Oasis to recast pop/rock and educated intelligence as implacable foes.

    (Though to be honest, I’d say — if this scenario did indeed play out as claimed — it mainly reveals what was always problematic about MacDonald’s argument…)

  86. 86
    glue_factory on 11 Sep 2013 #

    Re:30, Bowie’s “strained, emotional rock singing style and… trick of delivery” on Look Back In Anger is arguably actually Scott Walker’s. Bowie was just borrowing it.

  87. 87
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 11 Sep 2013 #

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any fans yourself.

  88. 88
    Mark G on 11 Sep 2013 #

    and then Scott decided if Bowie can place avantgarde concepts, then so could he.

  89. 89
    Cumbrian on 11 Sep 2013 #

    Re:38 – I’ve got a copy of Shakey with a Noel Gallagher quote on the back, suggesting he’s read it. So his library is up to 2 books now. I say library – he might just have a lot of space on his Kindle.

  90. 90
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 11 Sep 2013 #

    Maybe, but Scott W got to high seriousness in an MOR context long before Bowie (not least because he reached high popularity before Bowie). The issue would be how much Nite Flights and Climate of Hunter were consciously intended as retreats away from the widest audience.* SW’s current “arena of placement” is (only too well “prepared”) Wire readers, so it falls a long way outside MacDonald’s areas of concern.

    *The old Walker Brother audience had finally dissipated, of course, during the lay-up, but were they planning to reconvene it, or to find a new (smaller, more discerning) audience? We’d have to ask them, I guess. And Maus is dead :(

  91. 91
    weej on 11 Sep 2013 #

    Noel, quoted at Songmeanings (so to be taken with a pinch of salt unless anyone can find the real source):

    “I went up to The Manor when Paul Weller was recording Stanley Road and that’s when I did my bit on Walking On Guilded Splinters. He played me his song, Wings Of Speed, and that was the feel I tried to get on Don’t Look Back In Anger. I did it live for the first time at Sheffield Arena. Should people put their lives in the hands of a rock n’ roll band? If it’s us then, yeah, I think they can. Some of the lines come from John Lennon. I got this tape in America that had apparently been burgled from the Dakota Hotel and someone had found these cassettes. Lennon was starting to record his memoirs on tape. He’s going on about `trying to start a revolution from me bed, because they said the brains I had went to my head.´ Thank you, I’ll take that. It’s about not being upset about the things you might have said or done yesterday. It’s about looking forward rather than looking back. I hate people who look back on the past or talk about what might have been.”

    …so not from RitH then, though it doesn’t mean he didn’t read it.

  92. 92
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 11 Sep 2013 #

    Fuller version of that interview here: http://www.oasis-recordinginfo.co.uk/?page_id=1050

    (but I don’t know its source, who NG was talking to or when)

  93. 93
    Cumbrian on 11 Sep 2013 #

    #92: Heh Heh. Thoroughly punctures my theory on Hello that link.

  94. 94
    Erithian on 11 Sep 2013 #

    Going back to weej #25 – why do you think he’s got Bowie rather than Osborne in mind with “Look Back in Anger”? I’d always seen it as a conflation of Osborne and the Dylan documentary “Don’t Look Back” (which I don’t think has been mentioned) with all the connotations of being older, wiser and no longer an angry young man. But you can take out of it what you want to I guess since it’s so… meaningish is an ace word. I used to wonder if I was the only one thinking, yes the lyrics sound good but what the chuff do they mean?!

  95. 95
    weej on 12 Sep 2013 #

    #94 – Simply because Noel was always on about his education being from buying classic LPs at Mr Sifter’s. He could’ve heard of John Osborne, he might’ve seen Don’t Look Back, but he’s absolutely seen Lodger, picked it up and wondered “is this a real Bowie album? It looks like a badly produced bootleg” – like anyone does when they see it for the first time.

  96. 96
    Mark G on 12 Sep 2013 #

    Badly produced bootlegs don’t have glossy gatefold sleeves in full colour.

    If you said “seen “Wah – The Maverick Years”, picked it up and wondered “is this a real Wah album? It looks like a badly produced bootleg” – like anyone does when they see it for the first time.” then I’d go along with that one.

  97. 97
    weej on 12 Sep 2013 #

    Ok, maybe not a babdly produced bootleg, but still “is this really supposed to be like this?”

  98. 98
    Erithian on 12 Sep 2013 #

    Since you mention Wah, very off-topic but I had to chuckle at the TV critic who asked why Simon Schama hadn’t got Pete Wylie to do the title music for his series “The Story of the Jews”.

  99. 99
    ciaran on 12 Sep 2013 #

    #47 – Yes I remember DLBIA being everywhere too about 2-3 month before it was released. Hardly any song before my 3-4 years of musical awareness had this much of a presence without being released and it would take an effort from a similar indie well in 2006 by a similarly mouthy gallagher type before I encountered such hysteria over a previously unreleased album track.Champagne Supernova become familiar aswell in the middle of 1996.

    DLBIA was to me the highlight of WTSMG, an album high on the top of that xmas wishlist which relatives duly delivered.Despite my indifference to the first 2 single releases and wonderwall to a lesser extent I loved everything else.To our youth it felt like the greatest album ever made. A great success on top of a solid debut album and the enormous success of DLBIA signed off the period on a great note, leaving us wanting more.

    I still like this a lot and am surprised by Tom’s fairly low mark..For me its a 9 at least.possible 10.For all of Oasis faults it holds up well now and it’s really the end of the imperial phase.What followed was a great disappointment.

  100. 100
    James BC on 12 Sep 2013 #

    I remember Champagne Supernova being on the radio (Atlantic 252) despite not being a single. If they’d kept going Michael Jackson-style they could have easily got up to seven or eight hits off the album, maybe even nine or all ten with some judicious use of remixes and double A-sides, or live versions.

  101. 101
    Dan Quigley on 12 Sep 2013 #

    #92’s link: ‘Champagne Bossanova’? ‘Champagne Surfer Rosa’?

    This struck me as a shorter but more plodding variation of ‘Whatever’ at the time. In the right combination of circumstances almost any track from DM or WtSMG (still can’t remember where those parentheses go!) could induce in me a madeline-dipped-in-tea moment, but in my current, relatively unaltered state this seems a bit too pleased with itself.

    Forgive me if the following has already been noted, and also if it seems snider than I intend, but with its unmysterious everyman vocals, cod-psychedelic allusions and ‘Drumming is My Madness’ solo, this is more Ringo than John. (Goes off to find DLBIA/Octopus’s Garden mash-up.)

  102. 102
    23 Daves on 13 Sep 2013 #

    Is it me, or is there a vague similarity between some of the strings on this immediately at the end of the chorus and Pachelbel’s Canon In D Minor (used to popular effect on The Farm’s “All Together Now”)?

    Note – it could well be me, as I’m not somewhere I can easily listen to the track at the moment, but it’s a nagging thought I just had.

  103. 103
    Mark G on 13 Sep 2013 #

    Yeah, I’d second that. Pachelbel’s Canon In D Minor played staccato.

  104. 104
    Steve Mannion on 13 Sep 2013 #

    sez wikip “The piece was particularly prevalent in the pop charts of the 1990s, being sampled and appropriated in numerous commercial hits such as Coolio’s “C U When U Get There” and Green Day’s “Basket Case”.

    FSOL and Spiritualised too iirc

  105. 105
    Mark G on 13 Sep 2013 #

    Let us not forget Monty Python’s “Decomposing Composers” also.

  106. 106
    Cumbrian on 13 Sep 2013 #


    Obligatory link to comedian Rob Paravonian’s Pachelbel bit.

  107. 107
    Dan Quigley on 13 Sep 2013 #

    The first time I heard Whatever, the thing I liked about it was its resemblance to the Famous Five’s theme song, another Pachabel-knock off, albeit with some nifty dropped beats.

    I can think of another couple of Canon in D cribs in the pre-millenial lead-up, possibly bunnied. Is the C-G-Am-F progression, which in the 00’s became as ubiquitous as the ‘We Want Cantor’ doo wop changes in the late 50’s, a super-abbreviated nod to the Canon too?

  108. 108
    Patrick Mexico on 13 Sep 2013 #

    Not bunnied – a #3 in July 1997 – but played Coolio’s C U When U Get There (dawn of text speak, urgh) to death on my school French trip that heavily riffs on Pachelbel’s Canon. Thought it was brilliant, miles better than Gangsta’s Paradise; evidence that the macho and excessive also had a heart of gold. I was only 12, I didn’t know that was mostly a very bad idea indeed in pop, from hair-metal to a 2004 bunny who’d get a 6 and a half, maybe a 4 and a half in two rage-coffees’ time..

    Can’t deny some of it is genius – about three minutes it sounds like Coolio’s looking in the mirror and arguing with himself.

    As for DLBIA. This is a very conventional rock record, but it does fly in some faces of fashion, made by the school bullies, but chock-full of wordplay straight from the school swot or teacher’s pet. Yes, it’s sixth-form poetry made by relatively grown men, yes I do understand why people feel awkward the “picking metaphors out of a hat” songwriting, and yes I always hear it as “And so, Silicon Way, she says it’s too late but she’s wanking off bikes.”

    However, Oasis went full pelt here writing the best pure pop song/power ballad they could with the influences at their disposal, and I’m pretty sure at the time people thought they would a) get better with each album or b) do a Stone Roses and sod off for years and leave us alone anyway. So for making the effort to be the definitive Britpop song, deserves a hearty:


    Replicating this would kill Oasis’ credibility stone dead later, mind, and other bands who’ve copied DLBIA have been responsible for some of the dumbest, most amoebic music I’ve ever heard.

    I had no problem with Britpop wearing influences on its sleeve – futurism in pop is usually followed by a clear opposite – but unlike say, the Smiths, who’d have such affection for cult TV, films and literature of the sixties informed their music’s emotion and character, it feels Oasis chose the Avengers themed video because it’s well, the Avengers, and it doesn’t matter if it’s out of tune, because it’s British, it’s retro, and it’s cool. Love that show, Department S, 1960s Bond and so much from that genre (and.. Archer) but this quote from Wichita Lineman on the Meatloaf thread struck a chord:

    Jim Steinman shows his love of Spector and Springsteen in the same way Mike Myers pays tribute The Avengers and The Prisoner in Austin Powers – both set my teeth on edge because they are taking influences I love, and things they profess to love – I don’t doubt their affection – but missing the point in the most ham-fisted way.

  109. 109
    Kinitawowi on 14 Sep 2013 #

    #108: oh please, Prince had been doing txt spk since the early 80s.

    Seem to recall the Pet Shop Boys version of Go West played up the Pachelbel bit.

  110. 110
    Baztech on 14 Sep 2013 #


    But “White Lines (Don’t Do It) almost sounds like a pro-drug song in it’s delivery… But I guess that was your point ;)

  111. 111
    AndyK on 14 Sep 2013 #

    4 out of 10 is incredibly harsh. I can see the flaws but DLBIA embodies a populism and social resonance that is relatively rare and shouldn’t just be dismissed as seventh-pint bluster.

    There is a problem though in that it doesn’t lend itself in any way to close reading. It’s a pure melody-that-offers-itself-up-to-the-historical-moment tune, a stitching together of Bowie + Beatles in a brief moment of time when it looked like the ’80s nightmare was just a blip, that the populist humanism of the 60s/70s was about to return in the form of the first Labour government since 1979. For all the inane couplets here, the slogan-title captured that feeling better than any of Oasis’s supposedly “smart” or “knowing” contemporaries.

    As others have commented, the OFITN starring role sealed the deal.

  112. 112
    Chelovek na lune on 15 Sep 2013 #

    ##102-4, #106

    Not remotely close to being a hit in the UK, but almost unavoidable in some of continental Europe at this time, and mildly listenable, seemingly also with a Pachelbel tinge: ‘Love Is The Price’ by DJ Bobo.

  113. 113
    hardtogethits on 15 Sep 2013 #

    #71, #110 It’s called Don’t DON’T do it. My caps, obviously.

    See Dave Marsh, in “The Heart of Rock and Soul”, 1989.

    “Divining the message is hopeless, however, because even though the verses condemn the drug world (including trenchant lines about the disparity in the court system’s treatment of street kid users and businessman dealers), in the end the singer admits that he gets high himself and that what really bothers him is that the shit’s so damn expensive. So, the double negative in the subtitle says it straight.”

  114. 114
    Tim Byron on 16 Sep 2013 #

    Have to say that I completely disagree with the early comment on this thread about this being better than the Rutles – the Rutles are the kings of Beatles pastiches (the Spongetones or Utopia give them a run for their money) – in terms of nailing the sound and feel, etc. Noel generally wasn’t a clever enough songwriter to really nail it the way that Neil Innes does (“Let There Be Love” from Don’t Believe The Truth does alright, later on.) So instead his attempts, for me, come out as being more like the Stones trying to do the Beatles.

    Oasis were obviously the huge cultural phenomenon at the time in the UK, but they only had the one top 10 single in Australia (Wonderwall, which was a #1). ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ was a #19. And a band like Oasis being that kind of cultural phenomenon changes how you hear the music. In the UK, Oasis were everywhere, apparently, and their fans were apparently chavs/beery blokes/jerks, judging by this thread? In Australia, the equivalent blokes would have been into stuff like Pearl Jam and Metallica in 1996. The people who liked Oasis were probably more or less the same people who liked Blur and Pulp here. If I remember my school friends correctly, Oasis probably had more female fans than male fans here, at the time. So for me in 1996, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ was always a fairly enjoyably poppy slice of Britpop (in the context of a radio playlist next to ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’ or ‘Glycerine’, it doesn’t sound especially bombastic or big statement-ish to me). It has a rather pleasing melody and chords.

    I didn’t buy the single (I seemingly spent my pocketmoney on ‘Charmless Man’ and ‘Disco 2000’ instead) but maybe it would have been the next cab off the rank if my pocketmoney had doubled. For me at the time, I was torn between ‘rat in a cage’ rage and my innate pop instincts, and stuff like Oasis and Blur seemed the acceptable golden mean – they were obviously pop but they were smart enough and rocking enough that I felt like I could enjoy them.

  115. 115
    Mark G on 16 Sep 2013 #

    #110, just to add to the un-clarity, the song’s title is “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)”

    (Not a ‘correction’ as such, and as I’ve just noticed #113, I shall say.. no more.)

  116. 116
    Izzy on 16 Sep 2013 #

    #114: everyone liked Oasis here at the time, would be nearer the truth. There would have been a few at the far end of the Blur/Pulp wing of indie who disliked Oasis on principle (and are hugely over represented on ft), plus dance/r’n’b types for whom they held no interest – but otherwise pretty much everyone who liked music liked them. I’ve seen imperial phases before and since, but nothing to really compare with the swell behind them in 1995/96; certainly not for a pretty trad, somewhat sloppy band who were only tangentially a media event.

  117. 117
    Tom on 16 Sep 2013 #

    #116 it’s interesting that both the biggest British bands since the Beatles (Oasis and a different soon-to-be-bunnied five-piece) appeared around the same time and had colossal imperial phases. I suspect there was not much crossover between the fans, though, so I’d still doubt the “everyone”.

    (How big IS the potential audience for music in the UK, I wonder? The biggest selling UK albums hit a ceiling at 4-6 million. Peppers is the highest selling single-artist album but its sales will be boosted by endless reissues across its whole lifetime. In terms of getting people to buy a record in a single year (an imperial phase), WTSMG and 21 must be top, but what proportion of potential buyers did they mobilise? 30%? 50%? 70%?)

  118. 118
    thefatgit on 16 Sep 2013 #

    There’s that 1 unit sale = 1 listener fallacy to take into account. I’m guessing that pre-MP3 sales meant exposure to not just the buyer, but their friends and family also. “Could you tape that LP/burn that CD for me?” soft-piracy, that sort of thing.

  119. 119
    Tom on 16 Sep 2013 #

    Sure, but post MP3 sales will be a fraction of actual listenership too.

    Assessments of ubiquity are always subjective, even when we make our absolute best efforts otherwise. This is why I wish more population-level surveys would include “have you heard of -” / “do you like -” amongst the questions about soap powder and how often you buy milk.

  120. 120
    thefatgit on 16 Sep 2013 #

    Which is why the “whistling milkman” always used to be a good indicator of ubiquity. I’m not at all sure what the equivalent would be today.

  121. 121
    hardtogethits on 16 Sep 2013 #

    #117. True, Adele’s 21 sold more in a single calendar year than any other release. No 2 in the list? Why it’s James Blunt of course!


  122. 122
    Ed on 17 Sep 2013 #

    @110, 113, 115: Thanks! So ‘White Lines’ is not actually blatantly obvious at all…. At least, not obvious enough for me to get it. I guess, given Melle Mel’s reputation, I should have suspected there would be at least a sniff of ambiguity about his views on cocaine.

    Next you’re going to tell me that ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ was written in support of the Federation of Conservative Students….

  123. 123
    Ed on 17 Sep 2013 #

    @116: Yes, that’s certainly how I remember it, for what my own subjective sliver of memory is worth. Who was it had that line about “we will never agree on anything again the way we agreed on The Beatles”? Oasis came pretty close, in my experience.

    Even David Stubbs, veteran Arsequake hard-liner, is here very even-handed about the “occasionally sublime” ‘What’s The Story’:


  124. 124
    Mark G on 17 Sep 2013 #

    I dunno, we all agreed on Sigue Sigue Sputnik

  125. 125
    Mark G on 17 Sep 2013 #

    Yeah, I think the David Stubbs’ review pretty much matches my own view. “Don’t believe the truth” I think is their second best album, but that’s to be debated later, so…

  126. 126
    Auntie Beryl on 18 Sep 2013 #

    #116 to claim everyone liked Oasis in 1996 is a stretch.

    I was in both the BlurPulp and dance camps myself at the time, but in the record shop I worked in half my customers were slagging Oasis off for the bloated dullards they’d become.

    They weren’t *that* popular.

  127. 127
    Ed on 18 Sep 2013 #

    @124 We all loved them, you mean? I know I did. “Would you pay 4 million for this crap?” was the day the NME died for me.

  128. 128
    Mark M on 18 Sep 2013 #

    Re 123: Really? I can think of one or two people I know who loved Oasis, a lot who didn’t mind their presence on our radios, a few who probably barely knew who they were, and a number who had little or no time for them. It’s a strange day when a man who made his living working for the mainstream-alternative music press as long as David Stubbs is taken as the epitome of cultural snobbery.

  129. 129
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 18 Sep 2013 #

    If #116 means a *lot* more people liked them at first than carried on doing so, I think this is probably very true: I suspect a signif proportion of their present-day h8ahs are angry exes

  130. 130
    Steve Mannion on 18 Sep 2013 #

    Yeah I can’t think of another band I experienced a bigger ‘from love to hate’ drop with (not as swift a process as it could’ve been either – finally saw them live in 2000 and quite enjoyed it but no time for them after that really) and I think I’ve ended up hating them more than I ever loved them at that. Still OK with this song tho – 6 for me but Noel’s best appearance on a #1 yet to come.

  131. 131
    Tim Byron on 18 Sep 2013 #

    Tom at @117, not sure about the UK, but I was curious about the stats, and went looking…

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/FC492ED6D9225A39CA2577C00013BCB2?OpenDocument suggest that about 25% of Australians over the age of 15 attended a ‘popular music concert’ in a 12 month period between 2005-2006 (which included 40% of 18-24 year olds). And I suspect the amount of potential buyers of recorded music has to be at least 25% of the population, I suspect, considering that recordings are probably cheaper, more convenient, and usable than live concerts?

    There’s about 22 million people in Australia, and so 25% of Australians is about 5.5 million people; Adele’s sold its millionth copy in Australia earlier this year: http://www.remotecontrolrecords.com.au/2013/adele-21-1-million-copies-sold-in-australia/

    It depends on how much crossover there is between the people who buy CDs/downloads and the people who go to concerts, but I reckon Adele has probably sold a CD to somewhere between 1/5th and 1/10th of potential buyers.

  132. 132
    Patrick Mexico on 18 Sep 2013 #

    What was it again about something everyone in the country was queuing up to buy from HMV, but some criticised for being too boorish, too misogynistic and maybe even too long?

  133. 133
    Pink champale on 19 Sep 2013 #

    Speaking of which anyone who hasn’t seen the YouTube video of a very young pete docherty being vox popped while queuing for Be Here Now should search it immediately (if I wasn’t the type of cretin who doesn’t know how to do blue writing I’d link obviously but it’s easy to find). PD absolutely adorable – fast forward a few years and you could almost make a case that heroin and crack are a bad idea.

  134. 134
    Ed on 20 Sep 2013 #

    @129, 130 – Thought experiment: what if Oasis had split up the day they released this?

    The Stone Roses – who released a couple of albums of similar quality to Oasis’s first two – suggest it’s a lot easier to retain the public’s love if you don’t crop up at regular intervals reminding them that you still exist.

    @128 – A fair point. But I don’t think we ever found out what Roger Scruton or Ben Watson thought of Oasis….

  135. 135
    Tom on 20 Sep 2013 #

    Dunno if the Stone Roses example quite fits – whatever the merits of Second Coming, its reception was rocky and the time away did them few favours – their rep now is definitely stronger for not having released more, though. With Oasis I think the determination to prove they could make something like WTSMG again kept them going. But if and when they reform I think there will still be a fuss.

  136. 136
    Izzy on 20 Sep 2013 #

    ”something like WTSMG’ is the problem though. If The Stone Roses had plodded on trying to remake the debut – not out of the question if Squire had had his hands on the wheel – then most likely they’d’ve been on a diminishing returns course like Oasis. But Brown and Mani haven’t been rehashing old ground at all since the split, so it’s not impossible that they could’ve headed into strange new places and become an acclaimed cult act instead.

    The strange thing is that Second Coming was Squire’s baby and sounds like a conscious attempt to do something different. It seems to have completely worn him out though. We’ll never know how things might’ve worked if they had simply gone on jamming together à la Daybreak or some of their b-sides; it’s conceivable they could’ve gone on to build a catalogue somewhere between, say, Can and Funkadelic (though probably not likely that they’d’ve been troubling Popular much).

  137. 137
    Cumbrian on 20 Sep 2013 #

    I’m not even that convinced Oasis/Noel really did seek to make something like WTSMG for the remainder of their career – more that they couldn’t help but sound like that was what they were doing – and that what drove them afterwards was something more like lifestyle maintenance.

    Noel went on record saying that he’d already been a phenomenom once and didn’t want to do it again – so they weren’t shooting for the same level of success (or at least Noel wasn’t) – but they doubtless had bills to pay and families to avoid by going on tour for months on end. And I don’t think any of their subsequent albums sound much like WTSMG either (with the exception of Heathen Chemistry, which I think is the nadir of their catalogue). It’s just that Oasis sound like Oasis, even when they’re not doing stuff that is obviously Beatles or Glam influenced, like the more motorik or psychedelia influenced parts of Dig Out Your Soul*

    I’ve brought up counterfactuals on Oasis before elsewhere. I maintain that if they had only been as big as Gene or Shed Seven, then they would have been looked on as a bit of an outlier to the big art school bands that would have dominated otherwise (Blur, Pulp, Suede). If they’d been as big as they were and Noel really had called it a day when he walked off the US tour in 1996 and got a flight back to the UK, he’d probably have carried on solo – and likely not been as good, given what came after from Oasis – and people might well say that Oasis had a weird alchemy about them that they couldn’t capture alone (maybe not that different from those who claim that they had a weird alchemy before bunnies start sprouting up in 1997/1998). The best thing for their critical standing probably would have been a Lynyrd Skynyrd incident.

    I think Izzy is right about the Roses – it would have depended on who got creative control. This is not the case for Oasis though, as Noel was always “The Guvnor”.

    *I realise that I am marking myself out here as someone who has listened to latter day Oasis more than most. I don’t know how many people here have listened to those albums much, so I could be talking codswallop once someone who know more of what they’re talking about musically actually wraps their ears around them.

  138. 138
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 20 Sep 2013 #

    I’ve actually listened to Dig Out Your Soul 100% more than any earlier Oasis LP (ie I’ve never listened to an earlier LP fully through). But I’m an extreme outlier, I was pretty much hors de combat rockmusic-wise in the mid-90s: completely burnt out by my Wire-gig, and if I was listening to anything it was many decades old. I didn’t begin to regain my interest in chart-pop till [enter the longlegged spicebunny, running with scissors]. I actually think DOYS is an odd and interesting record. But I entirely lack routine 90s context (or not entirely, obviously I can read: but it doesn’t come from my own responses in the moment, because I had none).

  139. 139
    Mark G on 20 Sep 2013 #

    I have that “artist vanity format” of Dig Out, it’s a big box with double LP, double extra LP set, and 2 CDs and a DVD and a book and all that. It wasn’t massive expensive, and it’s just as well they were in Fopp for £20 not so long ago.

    Even then, it’s not as bloated as Be Here Now.

    Yeah, “Heathen Chem” was the ‘dull’ one. ‘Standing on the ‘ etc kicks off the best of all the albums, but past track three it dives and never recovers.

  140. 140
    Cumbrian on 20 Sep 2013 #

    Re: Latter day Oasis. I think there are 4 or 5 good tracks on Standing, let down by what surrounds them. Dig is decent but let down by the final 4 tracks, which I have less time for than the opening. Don’t Believe The Truth is genuinely good I reckon. Be Here Now – well, a couple of bunnies there, but bloat is not inaccurate.

    I guess, we can probably dig into each of these in more depth at the time should we choose – though no bunnies for Dig Out Your Soul. At least I won’t be talking to myself. That said, I am interested in Mark S’s opinion of Dig as he’s managed to listen to it isolated from the (totality of the)rest of Oasis’ output.

  141. 141
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 20 Sep 2013 #

    I have a half-written idea for a post about it, Cumbrian: which these discussions have reminded me of. I will try and complete it one of these days (<– tho this promise is a sukrat challops if anything is, abt half tyhe comments threads on the site contain a version of it, never redeemed…)

  142. 142
    Rory on 20 Sep 2013 #

    I can see I’m going to have to listen to Dig Out Your Soul again, as it got kind of lost for me – one of those albums I bought because I figured I was collecting the whole set, but then never sat down and properly listened to. (I really must break this collecting-the-whole-set habit. At least I’ve broken the buy-on-day-of-release habit.)

    Collecting the whole set hasn’t extended to Beady Eye, mind.

  143. 143
    James BC on 20 Sep 2013 #

    I’m another big supporter of Dig Out Your Soul. I suppose it does sag a bit in the second half but Soldier On, the last track, is a great album closer. A real old-fashioned end-of-album track. Reminds me of the 22-20s, if anyone else remembers them.

  144. 144
    Mark G on 20 Sep 2013 #

    #143 I have to note that that is probably the one major factor in why Beady Eye haven’t managed a number one album whereas Oasis always did: Brand Loyalty. I daresay many people own a pristine DigOut / Believe / Heathen, maybe played once each.

    Me? Different Gear/Still speeding was generally alright (a couple of clunkers), whereas the new one, um, the other way around.

  145. 145
    tm on 20 Sep 2013 #

    Every album since Be Here Now, Noel would give an interview slagging off everything they’d done since WTSMG and talking up the lead single from the new album and every time, I’d hear it and thing Is that it?

    I’ll post more in context but throughout the Noughties it felt like Oasis were blurring into the dreary mope rock they’d unwittingly helped bring to prominence.

  146. 146
    Ed on 19 Oct 2013 #

    I am late to it, I know, but this – with ‘What’s the Story’ in first place – is pure gold:

    Best Telegraph article ever.

  147. 147
    flahr on 19 Oct 2013 #

    For a list with Oasis in first place that was actually a lot better written than I thought it was going to be.

  148. 148
    Mark G on 19 Oct 2013 #

    Mr Low Expectations…

  149. 149
    Ed on 20 Oct 2013 #

    Also better than you might have thought it would be, this response from the Mirror is nicely done: http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/going-out/music/move-over-dave-berry-tell-2458656

  150. 150
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 20 Oct 2013 #

    Far better than either list — since it hasn’t been linked here yet — is Hazel‘s, of course

  151. 151
    pink champale on 20 Oct 2013 #

    “I can put this album on and within seconds I’m thinking about cool adverts that have been soundtracked by some of these songs.”
    Very good.

  152. 152
    iconoclast on 20 Oct 2013 #

    Of course, what nobody has dared to say yet is that in musical terms you’re not a proper “man” unless you own everything Zep ever recorded and can quote from any of it without having to think. What is the distaff equivalent?

    @150: yes, this is the stuff.

  153. 153

    Pete Bagge’s mini-comic Testosterone City lists the four relevant manly LPs thus:

    i: Led Zep I
    ii: Led Zep II
    iii: Led Zep III
    iv: Led Zep IV

    My copy is lost somewhere in my house: if I remember where I’ll scan the page in question. Here’s the cover:

  154. 154
    @Patrick_Mexico on 3 Nov 2013 #

    I wrote some pretty awkward things about Oasis and lad culture, but take it as the natural human condition… http://t.co/C37rm1c4dm

  155. 155
    Patrick Mexico on 11 Nov 2013 #

    4/10 is an extremely harsh mark, and if this happens to something Oasis put their heart and soul into (by their, ahem, unique definitions), imagine Tom’s ire when we get to their “GO AWAY! YOU’RE STOPPING THE FUTURE FROM HAPPENING!” years.

    Oasis’ imperial phase (surely their first two albums, I wonder how many bands have had such, er, twin peaks at the beginning?); this can’t push beyond a 7 as it’s too “OH, RETURN OF THE SIXTIES!” The Imagine lift is irrelevance as it’s not exactly East 17’s Around the World; it’s a song of cod-surreal defiance rather than straightforward idealism, knows what it wants.

    However, the desire, execution and timing of Some Might Say, Supersonic, Live Forever, Cigarettes and Alcohol make them bona fide classics in my book, regardless of the personalities involved – it would be a gross understatement to say I’m tied in moral knots with them. Yet, I must say, these songs all grab the bull by the horns in the way a Sit Down or the more caustic Do Re Me So Far So Good couldn’t quite do two years previously, no matter how hard they tried, because of some kind of unwritten rule of any indie band formed in the 1980s post-This Charming Man on TOTP. (The song which made Noel Gallagher want to be Johnny Marr.)

    I have a horrible feeling Oasis and Loaded/the new lad culture with all its beer, sex, chips, gravy, and irresponsible flag-waving (unintentionally, just saying people didn’t question this as they were under medieval delusions that Tony Blair was going to somehow save us all) contributed to some terrible social problems in post-1997 Britain.

    The problem with a band who try to simplify everything into primal human desires are that you’ll eventually end up like primates.

    Their sheer reactionary Page 3-reading, bulldog-tattooed cab driver obviousness eventually put me off by the time they got to Standing on the Shoulder of Giants and though Noel Gallagher comes across these days as a thoroughly alright and decent fella I’d unquestionably go for a pint with, I’m not sure as a band their reputation ever fully recovered with me.

    Oasis were a rock band from an ordinary Manchester suburb of 1930s semi-detached housing. They wanted success and fame; so do millions of people, and to be the defining moment of their generation, so do a good few thousand with both beautiful and toxic minds. One of them was a bit mean, and sexist, to Justine Frischmann. I have no idea if this was ever resolved.

    Another one of them (who later apologised after a ticking off from his own mother!) wished the most terrible illness on a prominent rival, in which even those in love with him found indefensible.. Michael Stipe and Sinead O’ Connor would say to their detractors, in the absence of a way of life, why repeat it again and again? Both brothers apparently boasted that they didn’t read books.

    But then again, Bruce Springsteen sings about that three-minute record they learnt more from than they ever did at school, he’s still a hero to most. Most of the mid nineties’ totemic moments, whether Shaun Ryder’s potty-mouthed TFI Friday or the patriotic hoopla of Euro 96 (more on that soon), would toe the line between raucous everyman good clean fun and the zenith of alpha-male narcotic thuggery. Remind you of anyone?

    But Oasis are not to blame. They did not initiate a situation. They put in place a system to simplify life to its most base elements; “cigarettes and alcohol” and but surely the British public were smart enough not to take this too seriously. Eat, sleep, (medium-pace) rock, repeat. There must be more wonder to life, surely.

    Boasting of AIDS and not reading books (accidentally) probably did earn them a fair handful of bigoted scumbag fans; it’s not their fault, they might have been half-joking, just like Morrissey’s flag-waving at the 1992 Finsbury Park gig (where some might think ‘WHAT IS THIS PC GONE MAD NONSENSE’ or alternately ‘YES HE IS DEREK BEACON’S NUMBER 1 FAN NOW’, nobody ever mentions he admitted it was taking the piss out of Madness fans’ alleged racist skinhead element.) Apparently Springsteen has a significant “Guns, God, Government, and Kill ‘Em All” element, no matter how hard people try to convince them that his most famous single was about the mistreatment and mismanagement of Vietnam vets.

    I don’t know.

    They were just a few average lads from Manchester who wouldn’t hurt a fly, like..

    Just thinking of the terrible events and trends of the following decade?

    Was their desire for fame at all costs to blame for the explosion in celebrity magazines, and the psychotic obsession with reality TV that has cut some young British people off from any engagement with their home town’s heritage or character?

    Was their crude mudslinging at other genres displaying any mild glamour or androgyny a poisonous catalyst for people being senselessly abused in the street beaten up just for having long hair, or being a “goth” or “mosher” (in one tragic case in a small town not far north of Manchester, fatally?)

    Were the empty statements of pride to blame for a shift from depicting “working class” to “underclass” and such things as Jeremy Vile and ‘ChavTowns.co.uk’ (I can recall a time when people laughed at Jerry Springer, thinking “It’ll never happen here.” Unfortunately, Britain, like much of the US and Australia, has developed into a post-industrial ‘it’s your own fault’ laissez-faire I’m All Right Jack-ness, where people can deflect allegations of class snobbery or playing on privilege by dismissing sometimes individuals, sometimes entire towns as, well.. new rednecks.)

    Was the “not reading books” thing to blame for the recent alleged underachievement of white working class boys in British education?

    Were ambiguous statements like “It’s the last time we do any charity gigs for you Romanians” and “In a multi-cultural society, people don’t need much encouragement to be fucking racist” (Noel Gallagher, NME annual, 2006), picked up by the type of people who go to watch Burnley at Cardiff City and sing “I’d rather be a Paki than a Taff”; plus the northern race riots of 2001 and subsequent successes of the BNP and similar groups?

    Well.. not directly, it would be cruel beyond words to suggest a band who tried to blend the Beatles and Pistols and had more success with it than most lead to murder and racial hatred. Then again, calling someone “a closet faggot who wants his nose smacking in” is cruel beyond words.

    But I don’t know in 1998, 99, as late as 2000 even.. someone SHOULD HAVE OFFERED AN ALTERNATIVE to this “all we need are fags and booze and swagger” reductionist attitude that make (what I’d imagine) Modern Romance (to be) look like George Orwell. Instead, we got drowned in retro-disco “Cheese for Cheese’s sake”, the New Acoustic Movement (thanks, Oasis!) and three doe-eyed Irish sisters doing bloodless Fleetwood Mac covers (no, we’re not talking about Haim just now.)

    And that is the story of Oasis.

    Or is it? Two down, six (SIX) to go.

  156. 156
    Cumbrian on 11 Nov 2013 #

    Re: 154: Apparently Springsteen has a significant “Guns, God, Government, and Kill ‘Em All” element, no matter how hard people try to convince them that his most famous single was about the mistreatment and mismanagement of Vietnam vets.

    The dirty little secret about Bruce Springsteen is this: he has basically managed to convince these people he is a liberal and they have stopped buying his records and going to his shows. It is telling that his current tour which started last March (heading to South Africa for the first time and then down under in a few weeks time) has had zero stops at any US venue, that he used to be able to sell out Giants Stadium 10 nights in a row and now struggles to sell out 3, that there are tales of his last US tour where half a venue was curtained off as he couldn’t sell the tickets, that he very rarely performs below the Mason-Dixon line.

    All this started when he headlined the Vote For Change tour in 2004, in an effort to get young people to vote and kick GW Bush out of office. He’s always been a liberal, if you read his lyrics, and has always been someone who embraces racial diversity (the Greetings from Asbury Park/Wild, Innocent version of his band) included two African-Americans and one Hispanic member and his current touring band is more racially diverse than you might expect. It took standing up against Bush, singing What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding and Power to the People every night with REM for people to get the message. As a result, Springsteen is losing audience in the USA (though there’s also the fact that a lot of his original fans are getting old and starting to die off and a further fact that, whilst not as expensive as some of his peers, Springsteen tickets are not necessarily that cheap – so it is not a straightforward explanation).

    The guy’s, if anything, much more successful in the rest of the world now. Scandinavia, Italy and Spain in particular. The number of young people at these shows is remarkable – and they travel (I shared a cab to the Ricoh Arena with a couple in their 20s who were going to miss the local Bruce show and spent money to get tickets and planes to catch a gig in Coventry. Coventry!), so he sells these shows out. I’ve not spent any thought on why this might be though. Needless to say, the above quote may be true – insomuch as “however hard people try to convince” goes. Springsteen is doing it by himself though.

  157. 157
    Izzy on 11 Nov 2013 #

    I clean forgot Bruce was here in the summer and missed him. Nobody would go with me and I held off, and ultimately he slipped my mind; should’ve just went for it, one of these days I’ll learn that life lesson properly.

    Slightly sad if he’s become a prophet without honour. He can live with himself and will be proved right in the end though. One can only imagine how unhappy it must be to have (one of) your biggest moment(s) bellowed back having been turned through 180°; I’m sure cleaving off that part of the audience must feel good, if dispiriting.

  158. 158
    weej on 11 Nov 2013 #

    Does the USA have issues with mainstream musicians getting involved in politics? The scandal with The Dixie Chicks being anti-Bush and the astonishingly condemnatory tone of the media after Kanye West’s “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” seem to indicate that it does. On this side of the Atlantic I feel like we expect our musicians to be actively left-wing – or at least we did, I’ve been out of the country for over a decade and have a feeling that the wind has changed a little.

  159. 159
    fivelongdays on 11 Nov 2013 #

    #154 Oh, there were PLENTY of alternatives to Oasis. Most of them will only be mentioned, at best, in passing. If you just looked at the NME and the charts, you wouldn’t have found them – you had to do a bit of digging (or else, read Kerrang!. Or listen to a certain five-piece from Oxford)

    However, one of the alternatives – and to my mind, the most relevant, the band that helped me break with the ‘shine on down the line like yer feeling so fine’ ‘Eh up, I’m one of the lads’ ‘Reading is gay’ mentality that Oasis were the figureheads for – will be coming up in two-and-a-half years (Popular time). And…you know the rest.

  160. 160
    iconoclast on 11 Nov 2013 #

    @157: Only if they’re perceived as being somewhere to the left of the Republican party, usually.

  161. 161
    tm on 12 Nov 2013 #

    @ 154 – Let’s not forget Noel and Liam’s most oafish behaviour came at a time of savage cocaine addiction if contemporary reports were to be believed. No surprise both are more personable now they’ve kicked (or at least dialled back) the charlie.

  162. 162
    thefatgit on 20 Nov 2013 #

    If this be true, then I feel an immense sense of relief:


  163. 163
    Patrick Mexico on 21 Nov 2013 #

    Ha. In the Popularverse, though, they’ve only just begun.

    Hopefully if the straw of overexposure to Oasis does break a few camels’ backs, it’ll encourage discussion of the forgotten heroes of nineties British music an ocean away from Ben Sherman shirts and knock-off Lennon glasses. Mind you, rather that look than one I witnessed from horrendous university “lads” in a supermarket this week, which can only be described as Grease a la Mark Wright from TOWIE* and Picture Book-era Mick Hucknall.

    * Disclaimer: I don’t watch that show. I’m just exposed to that kind of thing in newsagents.

  164. 164
    Tommy Mack on 10 Mar 2014 #

    John Robb asked me to write something about Oasis for Louder Than War so I wrote this: http://louderthanwar.com/they-ripped-off-the-beatles-oasis-and-the-strange-currency-of-originality-in-pop/

  165. 165
    hectorthebat on 2 Mar 2016 #

    Critic watch:

    1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010) 1002
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Pause & Play (USA) – Songs Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Track at Each Week
    Pitchfork (USA) – Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s (2010) 201
    Complete Book of the British Charts (UK, 2001) – Neil Warwick’s Top 10 Singles 3
    NME (UK) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2014) 106
    XFM (UK) – The Top 1000 Songs of All Time (2010)
    Theater van het Sentiment, Radio 2 (NL) – Top 40 Songs by Year 1969-2000 (2013) 3
    Musikexpress (Germany) – The 700 Best Songs of All Time (2014) 162
    Rolling Stone (Germany) – Anniversary Special: 222 Songs (2013)
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009, update 2013)
    Les Inrockuptibles (France) – 1000 Indispensable Songs (2006)
    Peter Holmes, The Sun-Herald (Australia) – 100 Best Songs of All Time (2003) 72
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)
    Face (UK) – Singles of the Year 21
    Melody Maker (UK) – Singles of the Year 31
    NME (UK) – Singles of the Year 14
    Select (UK) – Singles of the Year 3
    Vox (UK) – Singles of the Year 7
    Rock de Lux (Spain) – Songs of the Year 17

  166. 166
    Sunetra Shaheen on 25 Apr 2021 #

    Just doesn’t work for me. Like most of their stuff just feels aimless and plodding. 3/10.

  167. 167
    Gareth Parker on 6 May 2021 #

    I think I would go along with Tom’s mark of 4/10 here.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)

If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page