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Mar 14

OASIS – “D’You Know What I Mean?”

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#771, 19th July 1997

dkwim “Call me naive but I felt something – I’m not quite sure what it was, but I felt it all the same.” – Noel Gallagher on New Labour.

When Tony Blair and Noel Gallagher shook hands in Downing Street that Autumn, they were men facing similar problems: what do you do after you’ve won? Accounts of the first Blair term stress that New Labour never realised, deep down, they were as powerful as they were – Blair stuck to plans which assumed his party would be working with only a modest majority.

Gallagher, on the other hand, believed absolutely that Oasis would be the biggest band in the country. He’d said it would happen by right, and it had. But that didn’t make him any more prepared. If Blair didn’t believe he could tear up his plan, Noel hadn’t seen much need to make one. What do you do after Morning Glory? You do it again – bigger, better, louder, longer, even if the band hate each other and the songs aren’t there. Be Here Now is known as a cocaine album, but just as pertinently it’s a success album. It’s an avalanche of half-worked, muddy, adequate ideas that exist because nobody said they couldn’t and momentum said they had to. Landslide indie: as 1997 as it gets.

The question is whether “D’You Know What I Mean?” is the victory, the hangover, or both at once. As a comeback single, it’s doing two things – reintroducing Oasis’ attitude, lensed as ever through Liam’s vocals, and trying to haul in that massive, nation-spanning Knebworth audience with a big-tent chorus. “All my people, right here right now, d’you know what I mean?” translates simply as “Vote Oasis”. They’re pitching for re-election as the People’s Band.

The Morning Glory follow-up was always going to be a news event, and “D’You Know What I Mean” leans right into that: it’s nothing but event, and away from its context it feels bloated and beached. It’s the 1990s equivalent of Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” – a guaranteed, massive, empty smash built out of a band doing everything they did before but louder and stupider. Oasis (unhappily for them) do not have Nile Rodgers on hand to pull things into glossy shape. But they have the same total, barefaced confidence – tell them it’s nonsense, and aren’t you the idiot for caring? This is an alpha record, built to emasculate criticism – with this big a dick, the Emperor hardly needs clothes.

And critics, notoriously, fell into line. Q’s 5-star review of Be Here Now has been scrubbed from the Internet, but Select’s effort did the rounds a few months ago. “All of rock history has been leading up to this point”, it proclaimed, in one of several moments where ignoring the mark (also five starts) makes the praise slightly less straightforward. Even so, this sort of review has gone down in critical history as a hideous misstep – as fans and even the band backed off from Be Here Now, the adulation tanked reviewers’ credibility. This may be what artist Jeremy Deller meant in his savage summary of Oasis: “they ruined British music, and they ruined British music journalism”.

(Is that fair? Paul Gorman’s In Their Own Write, an oral history of the music press, is silent on the Be Here Now incident, which is odd because it gives a detailed account of its prelude, the set of mostly average write-ups for (What’s The Story) Morning Glory. The press’ change of mind wasn’t just a result of nervous triangulation to placate readers, it was partly down to strongarm tactics from Oasis’ marketing team, backed by the band themselves, who suggested they might refuse access on the basis of the Morning Glory pans. Oasis’ presence meant tens of thousands in sales: the threat worked.)

So had all of rock history been leading here? Not history, maybe, but “D’You Know What I Mean?” is at least a prowl through rock’s wax museum. It subs out meaning for rapid cuts through a haul of reference points – “Blood on the tracks and they must be mine / Fool on the Hill and I Feel Fine” and plenty more. The record benefits enormously from having an engaged-sounding Liam – which means a Liam radiating contempt for his brother’s idolatory: all those old fragments of rock are just bits of gum for him to chew and spit out.

If all there was to it was that confidence, its behemoth production, a snarling verse or two, and a couple of rounds of the chorus, “D’You Know What I Mean” would do its comeback job. It swaps their energy for bludgeoning aggro, and it doesn’t have the bite or tenderness or angry hope of better Oasis songs, but it might have reminded you that the band could do those things. Instead, the song makes that point then simply refuses to stop. From one listen to Be Here Now it was obvious that Noel Gallagher had made an album of long songs with no good idea how to make a song long beyond hammering the bits he liked best into inertia. “D’You Know What I Mean” has no reason to get anywhere near seven minutes.

Any coherence this has as a song comes down to two things: Liam’s sullen vocal, and the drums, where a slowed-down NWA sample creates a mid-paced stomper of a rhythm, simple and arrogant, and evokes Liam’s slouched swagger anyway. Everything else is a confused, colossal swirl – helicopters, morse code, and every guitar effect Noel Gallagher could overdub on. It sounds nothing like The Beatles. It reaches back deeper, not into the collective past, but into Oasis’ own background. This is a song where those years Noel spent as an Inspiral Carpets roadie suddenly come into focus, the years when British guitar music was all mess and throb. In the soup between the drums and the singer, there are snatches of noise that call to mind Madchester, shoegaze, grunge, warmed-over punk and psychedelia; each effects-pedal soar or swell is another ghost of early 90s indie, crowded around Oasis’ shoulders for their victory lap.

And maybe that’s the best way to enjoy this confused, bullying, almost-exciting sprawl – as a party loyalist, someone just happy to see British rock on top of the charts. But Oasis had mined that particular goodwill for a long time, and Knebworth – two and a half million chasing 250,000 tickets – had been the peak of it. Factions as big as theirs take a while to fade away, but the disappointment of Be Here Now was the end of their country-wide enormity. At their meeting, Gallagher and Blair had success in common, but nothing else: the politician was already planning for re-election; the pop star had just blown it.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Erithian on 14 Mar 2014 #

    We know where Noel was on election night – in his garden at 4am “playing “Revolution” dead loud with the neighbours banging on the walls”. Poignant that the entry marking Blair’s apotheosis was posted almost simultaneously with news of the death of Tony Benn. RIP.

  2. 2
    Izzy on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I did really like this – the power, the backwards touches, the swagger – but there was nevertheless something there that betrayed, loud and clear, that the jig was up. I can’t bear to go back and listen to find out, for now, so this will remain unmarked.

    Suffice to say I own everything Oasis did to this point, and nothing thereafter. I haven’t even heard most of it.

  3. 3
    tm on 14 Mar 2014 #

    The first single I remember as an active disappointment. I was working at my first job in the restaurant kitchen and the radio DJ (Piccadilly Key 103?) announced they were going to have the first playback of the new Oasis single. He kept plugging it all night and when I eventually heard it, I remember thinking ‘this can’t be it’ but it was and it turns out it was the second best song on the album.

    My thoughts on ‘What do you do after you’ve won?’ and other Oasis-related matters:http://louderthanwar.com/they-ripped-off-the-beatles-oasis-and-the-strange-currency-of-originality-in-pop/

  4. 4
    tm on 14 Mar 2014 #

    The most entertaining thing about Be Here Now: in the Live Forever documentary a rapid cut between Noel: ‘you’ve got to be on cocaine to enjoy that album’ and Liam: ‘I still think it rocks!’

  5. 5
    flahr on 14 Mar 2014 #

    “a guaranteed, massive, empty smash built out of a band doing everything they did before but louder and stupider”

    “Everything else is a confused, colossal swirl – helicopters, morse code, and every guitar effect Noel Gallagher could overdub on.”

    I can’t BELIEVE you say these like they’re bad things.

    The ‘failure’ of Be Here Now (the kind of failure that nets you three top-two singles, one a year after the album came out – so much for ‘as soon as people actually heard it they stopped buying it’ – but I digress) only proves that the British public are INSUFFICIENTLY METAL.

    Since I am SUFFICIENTLY METAL* I rate this a seven.

    *observe: \m/

  6. 6
    tm on 14 Mar 2014 #

    It’s pretty slow and sludgy metal: a Mob Rules album track rather than a Heaven and Hell single! I realise I am proving insufficiently metal in reaching for Sabbath as my reference point but it is at least Dio era Sabbath!

  7. 7
    flahr on 14 Mar 2014 #

    “an album of long songs with no good idea how to make a song long beyond hammering the bits he liked best into inertia” <– this is the proof that it is METAL

  8. 8
    Tom on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I like the idea of it as a kind of baggy-metal, actually.

    (I gave the Reflex a 7, so big empty stupid coke-addled nonsense is fine by me if it’s disco. I am indeed insufficiently metal.)

  9. 9
    lonepilgrim on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Select magazine’s claim that “All of rock history has been leading up to this point” is undermined by (amongst other things ) the song sounding like a folky campfire strum along fed through assorted effects pedals. Perhaps that’s the point when one version of rock history has been the virtual erasure of its roots in Black music. There’s precious little sense of syncopation or dynamics to the song. My heart sank when I saw the 7 minute 25 second tag on the video – no single needs to be that long, least of all this one. If you asked Spitting Image to produce an Oasis parody video you couldn’t imagine they’d want to bother after seeing this.

  10. 10

    If it’s METAL (and it possibly is) it’s a near-totally debluesified metal.

  11. 11
    alexcornetto on 14 Mar 2014 #

    (Long time reader, first time poster. Felt like this was the place to start…)

    Oasis were a band I clutched dearly to my heart when I was a kid. I was 8 when this came out and, while I didn’t know enough about rock history to think this was it’s culmination, it struck me as a Very Important Record. Now I realise that’s because it was trying so hard to be one. I can’t think of any other album ever released where you got a certificate from a record shop for buying it on the day it came out (a Thursday – what hubris!). If memory serves, the certificate said “I was there then.” My local HMV were also selling life-size Noel and Liam cardboard cut-outs for about £30. I seem to recall really wanting one at the time, but I have no idea why.

    One thing I always found amusing about this song, especially once Noel G came clean about it, was how it’s based around exactly the same four chords as Wonderwall, strummed in pretty much the rhythm too. I dread to think if he thought it was some kind of improvement at the time. The b-side ‘Stay Young’ (at least, it was the b-side on my cassingle – was this the one where they covered “Heroes”‘ on the CD?) was miles better for having a sense of humour and being a good two minutes shorter. They probably thought it was too fluffy to put on the album.

    I also want to make an obligatory shout out for the second single off BHN, ‘Stand by Me’, which is probably one of the best songs they ever did (regardless of the self-cannibalisation in the verse – try singing ‘Married With Children’ over the top of it…), but only got to #4. The end was (sort of) nigh.

  12. 12
    tm on 14 Mar 2014 #

    In my Louder Than War piece I draw parallels between Oasis’ wall of noise and The Ramones’: “Pure white rock’n’roll with no blues influence”. I’d say Oasis probably went even further in erasing anything non-English, not just non-white from their lineage. Someone said rock music for people who don’t like rock which is probably why I got into it aged 13 and why I started to go off them, aged 16 and getting into punk.

  13. 13
    PJ Miller on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I think this record is QUITE GOOD.

  14. 14
    flahr on 14 Mar 2014 #

    “Stand By Me” was a #2 hit (you had me worried I’d got my stat wrong earlier) – I like it rather a lot, especially the rather unusual clashing sequence at the end of every line of the chorus.

  15. 15
    Lazarus on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Like the other sheep (I was a Q subscriber at this time) I went out and bought the album in the week of release, and haven’t played it in a decade or more. From memory, though, it has its moments – ‘Don’t Go Away’, released as a 45 in other parts, is a decent effort – but I have no wish to listen to this again right now. No, I don’t have any of their subsequent releases either.

    #1 – if Noel was out in the garden, I can’t see how banging on the walls would have had any effect.

  16. 16

    PJ’s mugshot at 13 is stern yet saddened.

  17. 17
    alexcornetto on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #14 – Unusual if you’ve never heard ‘All the Young Dudes’ ;-)

  18. 18
    Tom on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #15 he was in his shed!

  19. 19
    Tom on 14 Mar 2014 #

    And hello Alexcornetto! A certificate – blimey.

  20. 20
    Rory on 14 Mar 2014 #

    “Landslide indie” = genius.

  21. 21
    tm on 14 Mar 2014 #

    The copy I bought from Oxfam still has the certificate inside!

  22. 22
    tm on 14 Mar 2014 #

    A shame we don’t get Stand By Me instead of this: Oasis’ own November Rain, a gloriously overblown ballad from an album of dull, overblown rockers.

  23. 23
    Will on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Not much to add about DYKWIM. It did its job of saying ‘we’re back’ but I suspect Noel wanted the single to be a One Love-style definitive statement from the summit and in that it fails completely.

    As mentioned at 11, Stay Young is quite brilliant and Radio One famously ‘flipped’ it after it dropped from Number One. At the time lines like ‘come what may we’re unstoppable’ seemed just a simple statement of fact. For a few weeks more, at least

  24. 24
    Cumbrian on 14 Mar 2014 #

    The interesting part of DYKWIM is that there is a much shorter song right there in the middle of it all. It’s 7:42 long (!) but the final chord is hit at 6:38 – all the rest is attempts at late 90s psychedelia – and the opening could be handily reduced by 40 seconds (starting when the drums come in and getting rid of all the late 90s psychedelia that NG is trying to start the song with) or, at a pinch, the song could start at 1:03 with the descending guitar line – at which point I have just made this song a touch over 5:30 long. Then, you could just fade the thing down over the final chorus (starting at 5:40 – and you’d have good reason to; declaiming “all my people, right here, right now, d’you know what I mean?” into nothingness has a certain poetry, I think) and you’ve potentially loped another half minute off, giving us something that manages to get under 5 minutes.

    The reason I find this interesting relates to both the review by Tom and Tommy Mack’s write up he linked earlier – i.e. DYKWIM and BHN are records illustrating choices. What do you do when you’ve won indeed? BHN has some ropey old tosh on it but it’s also got some winning stuff on it – some of it better than large swathes of (WTS)MG I reckon – but the choice to embrace the lifestyle and keep the wheels spinning led to some bad choices in the studio itself (not least keeping Owen Morris on to produce – I suspect someone less invested in further emboldening the Oasis sound might have helped them to make choices to salvage the best of the material).

    What would I have done instead? Well, assuming that I’d been presented the finished tapes and had no say in changing the recordings themselves (otherwise, you could probably write a short book on how to salvage BHN), I’d have:

    – Made BHN a 5 track EP, with the cover of it being a snow capped Andean peak;
    – Chosen DYKWIM to lead, Stand By Me 2nd, Fade In-Out 3rd (if we’re going for a statement record about success and what drugs can do to your band, pick the one with Johnny Depp playing on it), Going Nowhere 4th (from the B-Side of SBM) and then finished with the apotheosis of BHN, My Big Mouth, a track so metallic and screechy, so compressed, so big headed about what has been achieved, yet also self flagellating, that it can’t help but draw a line under everything.
    – Saved the better of the remaining songs for the next album, when hopefully they’ll be in a position to make better decisions about what to do with them.
    – Trashed the majority of the rest of the stuff or saved it for the 20 year anniversary re-releases to prove that Oasis had at least some decent thoughts in this period.

    Yes – I have listened to BHN more over the last month than likely anybody has since the century ticked over. I’m due a break I think. I’ve thought about this record entirely too much.

    Back on DYKWIM, it’s better in my imagination than in reality, as I’ve mentally reduced it to 5 minutes long, but I still quite like it. Then again, that’s because I have imposed some thoughts on it, the like of which I think Noel would firmly reject. Namely that the bridge lyrics are not addressed to God but to Noel’s dad, as a slap down to the press attempt to manufacture a reconciliation between them after Morning Glory hit big. Also that it’s interesting how the chorus lyrics vary – first, asking the people whether they know what they mean, then claiming that indeed they do know what they mean second time around, only to return to questioning in the last chorus. He’s still not sure that this mass of people get it. I think under the jokes and the bravado Noel is pretty insecure and that these two points are further clues to this. To an extent, it’s why I can take his bouts of jokey egotism – he’s hiding something, I think, and I suspect it’s a lot of pain. I also think getting your brother to spit your words out with venom is another hiding tactic.

    Musically, the opening is a lot more open and restrained than the popular image of BHN would have you believe. Until the first bridge at 2:04, there is no sheeting guitar noise over this track. It’s slow and cocksure but also atmospheric and slightly threatening, like a walk through a dilapidated town centre just after the pubs chuck out. Problems start with that bridge and the horrendous guitar sound that would come to be the signature of the album – at 3:39 there is an awful set of what sound like hammer ons/pull offs that, due to the compression and the guitar effect chosen, are physically painful. The track needs to build from its atmospheric opening but the chosen avenue is not as effective as it might have been.

    Nevertheless, I like this more than Don’t Look Back In Anger. I also probably like it more than Some Might Say. I may have some sort of Stockholm Syndrome variant. I have wittered on for quite some time on what, in the grand scheme of music, is quite a minor record.

    I genuinely laughed out loud reading Flahr’s comment. It could stand to be more metal to be honest – but it definitely needs to be less metallic. D’you know what I mean?

  25. 25
    alexcornetto on 14 Mar 2014 #

    http://991.com/NewGallery/Oasis-I-Was-There-Then-271975.jpg

    Wow. That’s a lot less impressive than I remember it being.

    Fitting, I suppose.

  26. 26
    Cumbrian on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Re: the Thursday release of BHN. That was a stroke of genius I think. A – given the level Oasis were at, they could have released it on a Saturday and it still would have got to number 1, so why not make an event of it, free from any other record release? Less likely to run into a Country House/Roll With It situation too. And B – it was GCSE results day. I know, because I got them then. Essentially everyone got their results, went to Virgin or HMV, bought the record and then sat in their gardens or mates’ gardens, drinking alchopops or cider and drank it in. This may have contributed to why it took a few weeks for the reality of BHN to sink in amongst my peer group.

  27. 27
    alexcornetto on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Didn’t know it was GCSE results day – that is an incredible ploy! The kind of savvy marketing that late-era Creation Records had started to get pretty good at.

    Obligatory link to video of Pete Doherty being interviewed in the queue to buy BHN – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Quba72Xli8o

    “I subscribe to the Umberto Eco view that Noel is a poet and Liam is a town crier.”

  28. 28
    23 Daves on 14 Mar 2014 #

    “Stand By Me” is high on my list of favourite Oasis singles, actually, and would have been a more promising track to return on – although crucially, it probably seemed too damn subtle for all concerned. “D’you Know What I Mean”, on the other hand, is a huge, overlong statement of intent, and like most big rock statements, it’s horrendously dull. When I first heard it, I immediately found myself comparing it to The Stone Roses “Breaking Into Heaven” – another overlong, anthemic comeback statement which heralded nothing more than a band who had largely run out of inspiration.

    On the subject of “Be Here Now” and its over-enthusiastic reviews, at this point a friend of mine was the music editor on a regional arts magazine with ideas far above its station (I freelanced for them on occasion, and the editor always told me “We’re the closest thing Britain has to Village Voice in America” – an interesting statement for a publication nobody had heard of when I referenced it on my CV). The CEO of the publishing house responsible was very anxious that Creation hadn’t sent a promotional copy of “Be Here Now” to them in time for the next issue, at a point when nobody had seen or heard it due to the label’s ridiculous and paranoid embargo. He made numerous furious demands that my friend should obtain a copy of the CD “by any means possible – I DO NOT want you to put me in a position where we go out to press without there being a review of this record”. My friend begged and pleaded with Creation, tried various illicit avenues, and inevitably got nowhere.

    In the end, his life was made so difficult that he just pretended he’d heard the album and made the whole review up from thin air, cobbling together pieces of information from live reviews and guesswork. I think the magazine therefore became the first in Britain to give “Be Here Now” a resounding thumbs-up. Whenever I phoned up Creation Records from that point on and told them who I was freelancing for, the person on the other end would always crease up with laughter, as if this was a joke that never got old. Although for all I know, there may have been other instances of this stunt…

  29. 29
    punctum on 14 Mar 2014 #

    We know where Noel was on election night – in his garden at 4am “playing “Revolution” dead loud with the neighbours banging on the walls”.

    Interesting that he should have been playing what is essentially a rich man’s right-wing rant against socialism.

  30. 30
    Cumbrian on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I’m just listening to the rest of this single again. Stay Young was perhaps salvageable in my mythical land where they kept stuff back for the next record so as to record them differently but, aside from its proclamations of greatness in the chorus, is pretty pedestrian fare. There was a lot of “shoulda been the A Side” about it at the time; I don’t agree. Angel Eyes is boring. The cover of Heroes is awful. At this point, it’s the worst thing that they’d every committed to releasing – and further evidence (after the horrible cover of Cum On Feel The Noize on DLBIA) that Noel was running out of songs. He’ll regret having thrown away Acquiesce and the like away on B-Sides in pretty short order.

  31. 31
    Brendan F on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I never bought into the Oasis hype despite (or perhaps because of) being a regular Q reader at the time. Outside of the likes of Acquiesce, Live Forever and a bunny still 5 years away their music seemed so plodding and perfunctory to my ears at a time when there were so many others in various genres for whom you never knew what you’d get next (everyone from Radiohead to The Spice Girls). With that said this one wasn’t so much a disappointment to me, merely confirming my prejudices, it being a virtual rip-off of most all of their own mid-tempo songs of the past.

  32. 32
    flahr on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I won’t link my review of Be Here Now here because, er, it’s not very well-written (though I like the line about how ‘sure the album may sound like cocaine but presumably people take cocaine for a reason’) – broadly speaking I like it most at its loudest and most blistering, at “I Hope, I Think, I Know” and “The Girl Who Wears The Dirty Shirt” and “My Big Mouth” and the title track, and least at its most subtle (ugh), “Magic Pie” (Jesus Christ it’s shit) and “Don’t Go Away” and “Fade In-Out”. I may be being unduly influenced by the fact Be Here Now is a pretty great album title – not particular original I admit but for a sort of 80s-style directness it’s hard to beat.

  33. 33
    Tom on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Re. Owen Morris – he’s claimed (tho your eyebrows may raise at this) that he tried to rein them in and go for a Definitely Maybe style sound, was told to fuck off, and after that just shrugged and joined in the party.

    The GCSE-results day thing is brilliant.

  34. 34
    Matt DC on 14 Mar 2014 #

    This is an awful dead-eyed slog of a record and pretty much the blueprint for all Oasis from here on in – whatever spark was there (and I was never really a fan) was completely extinguished from here on.

    Good grief, though, is any summer reflected in its Number Ones as transparently as 1997? I can’t think of one. A few weeks from now Noel would be on the front page of the tabloids mooning the paparazzi, and it would be the last time for a while that anyone on the red tops would care about such fripperies.

  35. 35
    Matthew H on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Enjoyed that analysis.

    I also enjoyed the review – can’t remember where – that commented on the lack of question mark in the song’s title, putting it down to “the kids” by this point implicitly knowing what Noel means so there’s no need for question or answer.

  36. 36
    Tom on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I was working in the Music And Video Exchange at this point, in the Books And Comics store on Pembridge road. Promos of DYWIM (and then BHN) were in genuinely very short supply, but the day before the single’s release the record shop finally got in a one-track CD promo of “D’You Know What I Mean”. We had a sweepstake – it was going to go out at fifty quid, how long would it take to sell? I think I went for 15 minutes, which seemed a fair reflection of the ridiculous price vs Oasis’ popularity. The single was out the door in thirty-five seconds.

  37. 37
    swanstep on 14 Mar 2014 #

    In case anyone hasn’t seen/heard them, the highlights from Noel’s commentary on the Oasis videos DVD are excellent. DYKWIM receives brief attention at about the 5 min mark but you need to hear at least Noel’s prior rant about all video directors thinking they’re shooting Apocalypse Now to appreciate….so watch the whole thing!

    Anyhow, DYKWIM, which I’d not listened to since 1997, isn’t as bad as I remember it as being. Far too long of course, but a pretty effective ‘gathering of the tribes’ rock out wallow for the first 4-5 mins. I detect a bit of ‘How Soon Is Now’ in the overall guitar mix here, but there’s not nearly enough thought given either to Liam’s vocals or Noel’s nearly buried backing-vox for that comparison to do DYKWIM any favors:
    5

  38. 38
    iconoclast on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Those of you who misspent your youths in the company of Tiamat, Juiblex, the Purple Worm, and Gryfnir the Mighty will no doubt remember the Gelatinous Cube, a fearsome beastie which slurped along underground corridors devouring everything in its path. That’s not unlike the feeling of listening to this song, altough “steamrollered” would be more appropriate than “slurped”.

    A taster for its much-derided parent album, on which it’s one of the less egregious songs, it’s characteristically veeerrryyyy lllooonnnggg; nearly eight minutes (with only two verses!), of which the first is spent setting up a suitably epic mood and the last sputters while the elder Gallagher tries to figure out how to finish it. In between is a slower and more sententious version of the sound on their first album, with the adrenalised belligerence replaced by a clearly cocaine-addled complacence and vaguely meaningful lyrics delivered with an unshakeable confidence over a noisy backing, and superfluous extras like the Morse code and gratuitouts Beatles quotes. It’s actually more convincing, and thus better, than this sounds, and a long way from the worst of Oasis’s later excesses, but it really needs to be shorter, faster, and less self-satisfied to work properly – like the best bits of “Definitely Maybe”, in other words. SEVEN.

  39. 39
    AMZ1981 on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #26 I also bought Be Here Now on the day of release and it was GCSE results day for me too (and the first time I’d ever bought an album on its first day and one of only two times – Blur’s 13 being the other – that I can remember doing this before I was earning. I wish I’d spent the rest of the day drinking alcopops and listening to it with my mates but I was a very beige, solitary sixteen year old.

    I’m going to have to dig out BHN later – like everybody else I can’t remember the last time I heard it. From memory it’s not quite the dog some people say it is – DYKWIM, Stand By Me, My Big Mouth and the title track were quite good, some of it passed muster and only Magic Pie and a Bunny (from memory) were awful. If it wasn’t the first in a long line of underwhelming Oasis albums (their one partial return to form was too little too late) it would probably be better remembered.

    Final note – Oasis owed a lot of their acclaim to the fact they also produced terrific B sides and at the time Stay Young seemed to carry on that tradition. It’s one of the highlights of The Masterplan and possibly a better song than DYKWIM.

  40. 40
    James BC on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I agree with the consensus that this isn’t a great single, but it’s a majestic album-opener, the long, noisy intro gradually bringing the scene into focus. Quite a contrast to the abrupt, immediate “Hello!” on Morning Glory, which works equally well in a different way.

    So I’m surprised this song was picked as a single. It reminds me of Right Here Right Now by Fatboy Slim, which again is great as a curtain-raiser but lost a lot of its impact in isolation.

  41. 41
    Alex on 14 Mar 2014 #

    As I recall it was OK at first bite but faded badly. DM and the B-sides album still have freshness when I haul them out every other year; BHN, no.

  42. 42
    Tommy Mack on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #32 – I agree that the album’s most coked-out overblown moments are indeed it’s best. There are a lot of sludgy undistinguished plodders in between.

  43. 43
    Mark G on 14 Mar 2014 #

    HMV issued a certificate to confirm a ‘first-day-of-issue’ purchase.

  44. 44
    Tommy Mack on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #37 – that is hilarious. There’s something quite poignant about Noel Gallagher’s withering scorn gradually drifting from the videos to his own songwriting.

  45. 45
    thefatgit on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I’ll put my hand up to being an eager consumer of BHN. Like most others here, I don’t think I’ve played it in well over a decade. I bought SOTSOG as well but played it only the once (I think that sums up my opinion on SOTSOG).

    “Stand By Me” is the superior single from BHN and I’d have been delighted if we got a chance to look at that in more detail on Popular, because DYKWIM is a Peter Pan smorgasbord of hollowness, an imaginary feast. But then I suppose most of Oasis’ output after (WTS)MG was equally as hollow. And if we’re really being nitpicky, most of the stuff on their first two albums was pretty hollow too. I got sucked in to the vortex as much as anyone, but there’s very little to actually really love about Oasis. It’s all smoke and mirrors and Billy-Big-Trousers posturing. Evan Davis used a lovely word: agglomeration, to describe the clustering of business talent in the Capital in a recent documentary “Mind the Gap: London vs the Rest” (another hangover of New Labour?). Oasis agglomerated all that was vital and exciting in Brit-Rock and blended all of it into a loud grainy puce paste with DYKWIM. I wouldn’t grout my tiles with it now.

  46. 46
    Tom on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I have heard “Stand By Me” twice in my life – once when BHN came out and we played it in the bookshop (accompanied by much slow shaking of heads, sighs and sharp intakes of breath, like builders inspecting a particularly shoddy patio) and once the other day when it came up on my lengthy playthrough of the Now albums. I had remembered almost everything about it across the 16-year gap, which suggests it is indeed the catchiest thing on BHN, a solid bit of dadrock. I was still fairly bored by it, though – good hooks, but a chorus too long at least.

  47. 47
    alexcornetto on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Re: Stand By Me – and, of course, there’s the (hopefully) knowing bridge: “Sing me something new” indeed.

  48. 48
    mapman132 on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Oasis had been my favorite band for much of 1995-96, but by this time I was seriously tiring of their antics to the point where I had decided to ignore the initial Be Here Now hype and wait a bit to see if wanted to buy it. Of course, “hype” is relative, and Be Here Now actually only debuted at #2 in America – the closest they ever got to the top and maybe a sign that The Biggest Rock Band In The World wasn’t quite as big as advertised…

    So I saw the video for D’YKWIM, and heard it a few times on the radio. And a funny thing happened – I was pretty indifferent to it. It certainly felt like an Event (especially the video), but for me, it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was just sort of…there. Which was kind of strange for me since until now I had often been taken in by overblown “longer and bigger are better” type of stuff. Maybe I let my increasing personal dislike of Noel and Liam take over, but suffice to say I ever did buy BHN and have only listened to DM and WTSMG sporadically since. 5/10.

    Now, that was my view, and I certainly can’t speak for all American rock fans, but this seems to be the point where the regular appearance of British groups on US alt-rock radio and the album charts collapsed overnight. There are probably many reasons why this happened, but the long-term colossal failure of BHN certainly didn’t help matters any, especially as British rock = Oasis in the minds of many Americans at the time. It would be nearly ten years before British rock would even begin to recover in the US.

    So if British rock was dead, or at least dormant, in the US, what of British pop? Well, I’ll be addressing that in a few entries (no, not THAT one, the one after it).

  49. 49
    Steve Williams on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I hated this song so much at the time, in fact I really disliked Oasis full stop for their ubiquity and their to my eyes totally inexplicable success. Even the name of this song I hated, so uninispired and arrogant, totally phoned in. Of course, it was mostly my fault for getting annoyed by their omnipresence by reading Q and Select and listening to Radio 1 all the time.

    Incredible to think what an event this all was at the time, though. They were on the cover of the Radio Times that week, shared with Elvis – http://i.ebayimg.com/t/RADIO-TIMES-16-22-AUGUST-1997-ELVIS-TO-OASIS-FRONT-COVER-VERY-GOOD-CONDITION-/00/s/MTYwMFgxMTYz/z/IZAAAOxydB1Se-9R/$T2eC16ZHJHEFFl2ts+kIBSe-9RPE-w~~60_35.JPG – and had a BBC1 documentary which in those days was a big deal, outside Top of the Pops you never had pop on BBC1.

    My sister got her GCSE results on Be Here Now day and I was a week away from my A Level results, and on that day I was on my way to Edinburgh to attend a weekend workshop at the TV Festival. We were all put up in Heriot-Watt’s halls of residence and I was genuinely worried that I might have to share a room with someone who’d bought the album and would insist on playing it, and that everyone would be talking about Oasis throughout the entire weekend. That’s how big it felt (and how stupid I was, probably).

  50. 50
    punctum on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Of course “Stand By Me” is a great song. The great song in question is “All The Young Dudes.”

  51. 51
    Mark G on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Oddly enough, the 1st time I played the 2LP, I was wallpapering the front room.

  52. 52
    anto on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Adding to the comments in the review as to how D’YKWIM might have worked if it had been shorter, it also would have been amiable enough as one of Noels strumalong b-sides. The problem is that it was meant to be the comeback single and so it’s mismatched to such an over-sized backing – A rag doll of a song being dragged across an empty supermarket car park.
    I think 1997 could be divided into before and after ‘Be Here Now’ for Oasis. Early on in the year Noel Gallagher made that comment about taking drugs being not so different from making a cup of tea and despite objections from the predictable sources a lot of people commended him for being so frank about the subject. By the end of the year no one but no one seemed to have a good word to say about the band (apart from Q and even they were starting to make flirty eyes in Radiohead’s direction).

  53. 53
    Tom on 14 Mar 2014 #

    There’s an interesting conversation on my Facebook share of this – including the question of how exactly the NWA sample is used. I very briefly hunted for info on this, before my bias that Noel was unlikely to have straight-up sampled the drums kicked in and I credited them to Alan White. But apparently they are sampled?

    The Oasis fan forum has orthodox views on the development of hip-hop: http://live4ever.proboards.com/thread/7620

  54. 54
    Steve Mannion on 14 Mar 2014 #

    The drum sample (which Noel freely fessed up to at the time) is just the ‘Amen Brother’ break as sampled by NWA themselves no? Not that it would necessarily have made more sense to take it from its original source (a lot of its use in DnB probably came from sampling the samplers of it too or maybe the same Zero G CD-ROM – mind you some producers like Aphrodite/Urban Takeover were still making tunes almost entirely on Atari STs or Amigas even into the late 90s).

  55. 55
    ciaran on 14 Mar 2014 #

    I’d never seen such hysteria and expectation for a track as much as this one and the album that followed.One of the last of its time given that the culture of downloading and MP3 wasn’t all that far away.Well now that I can recall there’s a certain group forever associated with Myspace that were the closest after 1997.

    DKWIM was baffling to me when it came out. I had such high hopes for stage 3 of Oasis and even after a few listens I tried to convince myself that it was alright but just got bored of it after a a month or so. Far too overblown, way too long, all posturing and a fairly empty tuneless racket, which sounded like a third rate Psychocandy in places. A band flying too close to the sun.A 3 or a 4.

    I recently played On Your Own by Blur from around the same time as DKWIM and was impressed by it but that’s been forgotten now.Still much more fun than DYWIM.

    Funny you should compare it to the Reflex Tom because in terms of video especially this seems like Oasis’ “Rio”. A this-is-us-on-top-of-the-world-showing-off so-f”’-off statement. Except that Rio is still pretty good to listen to!

    The only time I’ve heard this in public in the last 17 years was in a bank queue 6 weeks ago but no DJ worth his chops ever went near this after July 1997 I’d say. You heard Stand By Me quite often but that was always a great disappointment to me and more than DYWIM signalled that the game was up.

    Oasis were damaged goods from the time of BHN but with each album I was back hoping for a return to form. With the minor exception of a mid-00s bunny things would never be the same again.

  56. 56
    Tom on 14 Mar 2014 #

    “Rio” = “Champagne Supernova” (not sure how stretchy this comparison is) (not least cos Oasis didn’t really break the US)

  57. 57
    Jonathan on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Really good write-up.

    I always use this as an argument for why nostalgia for the pre-iTunes era is misplaced — saving up over weeks for BHN as a 13 year old obliged me to pretend I liked it. I remember the existence of “Stand By Me” mostly because it’s better than anything else there. (And perhaps also shorter?) Thank god I eventually bought… uh… Live’s Secret Samadhi and could move on to something new.

    As for DYNWIM, #22’s comparison to “November Rain” is a good one. Neither song is really enjoyable or objectionable. The entire point is to be extavagrant and they succeed in that. And though you might wonder why you’re bothering with all this excess, that its achievement is nothing laudable, the spectacle is reliably diverting. The 4 is right, but I might be tempted to go for a surrendering 5.

    Thank god that, after this, they never did much to bother Australian charts again. They’d never record another good song, save for late career exception “Stop Crying Your Heart Out.” I’m kinda bemused that in their home country their seen as something other than a footnote. Ya know… the same way Alanis Morissette sold a ton of records once upon a time too.

  58. 58
    Chelovek na lune on 14 Mar 2014 #

    Shark-jumping in painfully slow motion. A case study of what happens when you believe your own propaganda.

  59. 59
    23 Daves on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #57 Most of my non-British friends have that attitude to Oasis – an American friend of mine emailed me around the time of “Standing on the Shoulder(s) of Giants” to say “Please could you tell the Gallaghers that their band aren’t the biggest in the world? We’re laughing over here – hardly anyone cares anymore”.

    The thing is, most of my British friends didn’t much care about them by that point either, but they managed to cling on to a huge and loyal fanbase who supported them through many more enormogigs and propelled a few more of their average-at-best singles to number one. I got the impression that following Oasis for some fans was like being a fan of a once-Premiership football club whose glory days had passed – you hung on in there out of tribal loyalty and in the hope that they’d start to deliver the goods once more, however harsh the odds. I think they also managed to successfully corner a large young working class demographic which a lot of their closest competitors (in the field of rock/ indie, at least) either ignored or alienated. The audiences at Oasis gigs were completely different to the ones I traditionally saw elsewhere.

  60. 60
    Another Pete on 14 Mar 2014 #

    In regards to the certificate surely every other album released at the time had something similar to those too, in the form of a till receipt.

    I was at the Reading Festival which began the day after Be Here Now’s release. There was a huge ‘Be Here Now’ banner running under the main stage. It wasn’t up for long. Given that this was also the biggest congregation of indie kids post Be Here Now’s release I don’t remember hearing the album being played aloud on the festival campsite.

  61. 61
    Alfred on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #24 – To answer your question, Cumbrian (” What do you do when you’ve won indeed?”), ask Nixon in November ’72.

  62. 62
    Mark G on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #59, also why Liam’s and Noel’s solo projects are never going to hit the heights of Oasis’ least successful albums: That brand loyalty is gone, now the name is not the same.

  63. 63
    tm on 14 Mar 2014 #

    #57 It was Stand By Me I was comparing to November Rain! I do enjoy both in their overcooked emotional hysteria. November Rain significantly more so.

    By ’97, Oasis weren’t fun any more: part of their appeal in their heyday was that like The Spice Girls, you knew a night out with them would be a top laugh. But look at Liam in his big stupid parka with his wannabe hardman scowl and you know that before the end of the night, someone’s getting smacked for spilling his pint, with his ugly mates in their shit coats backing him up. The combat theme of the dreadful video speaks volumes. Also, nit picking but Noel, who the fuck plays a flying V with a capo on it?

  64. 64
    Ed on 15 Mar 2014 #

    To be fair to Select, the more that time passes, the more we can see that “all of rock history has been leading up to this point” was an accurate assessment.

    BHN marked the end of the line for a lot of ideas about rock: that the release of a rock album could be a national event; more broadly, that rock music could be pop music; that two guitars, bass, drums and voice allowed for infinite varieties of expression.

    Pace Jeremy Deller, it didn’t necessarily kill them single-handed, but it certainly exposed them for the hollow notions they had become.

  65. 65
    ciaran on 15 Mar 2014 #

    The Q rating for the album is almost as famous as the album itself.

    They did a special 20 year anniversary edition back in 2006 and mentioned the things that they got wrong. Naturally the 5 star rating given to Be Here Now was included along I think with a 5 star review of St Anger by Metallica. They also wrote up about records that they were harsh on.One of them was a 2 star rating they gave to ‘The Man Who’ by Travis.

  66. 66
    23 Daves on 15 Mar 2014 #

    That irritates me slightly, though. If a record is given a bad review but is popular, nobody’s necessarily ‘getting anything wrong’ (and vice versa). It’s just their honest critical opinion (hopefully). It reminds me of when the NME used to apologise for ever putting Terris, Campag Velocet and Godspeed You Black Emperor on the front cover – it’s their job to take risks and expose their readership to interesting new music, not to promise that the bands behind it will be huge. Mind you, the whole “next big thing” hype did get worse in the music press during Britpop and in its aftermath, so Oasis are partly to blame for that too.

  67. 67
    cenda on 15 Mar 2014 #

    If at this stage critical consensus re: BHN is that it was a shocking folly then somebody more articulate than me shd be able to attempt reevaluation.
    I still love this song along with My Big Mouth as examples of cocaine arrogance jockeybacking pig ignorant levels of volume. MBV will never reach No. 1 so this is as close as. Inspired Robbie William’ s “Kids” too, if not his entire solo career

  68. 68
    swanstep on 16 Mar 2014 #

    @ed, 64. I don’t buy at all that ‘BHN marked the end of the line for a lot of ideas about rock’. Obviously, for Oasis the Morning Glory follow-up needed to at least be one of the best albums of its year (forget being as good as OK Computer or Homogenic, if BHN had just been Urban Hymns it would have been a triumph) , and ideally it should be a packed-to-the-gunnels, riot of invention like Rubber Soul or Revolver, measurably improving upon everything they’d done before. (No pressure then! But remember the pressure upon everyone else: I remember slight expressions of fear from other musicians at the time that maybe just maybe these mouthy Mancs were going to blow everyone away by producing a Rubber Soul-y masterwork, that maybe Noel really *had* re-discovered the Beatles-y key to pop hiding in plain sight that everyone else had missed! Or something.)

    But that Oasis weren’t able to produce anything close to what they really needed is their problem not our’s or rock’s (we still had Urban Hymns, OK Computer, Homogenic, Renegades, Soft Bulletin, Xtrmntr, Kid A, and all the rest). In Tom’s terms, BHN revealed Oasis as not having the ‘Command’ side of an Imperial Period nailed down (permission and self-definition had been no problem whatsoever for Oasis) let alone what we might call the ‘supreme Command’ that era-transcending figures like the Beatles and Bowie had. That was deflating or relieving or schadenfreude-provoking according to where one stood, not a crisis for rock, etc..

  69. 69
    Rory on 16 Mar 2014 #

    Now you’ve all only gone and made me listen to Be Here Now again, for the first time in at least five years and likely many more (I rebuilt my iTunes database five years ago so half my songs show the same Date Added from 2009). And there I was, all ready to slate it on the basis of memory, and… I quite like it. It’s at least twenty minutes and three and a half songs too long, but it has its moments. Some of them even feature on this opener, which, as Cumbrian suggests, is a decent five-minute song stretched to seven – just as the album is a decent 40-50 minutes stretched to seventy.

    My own Be Here Now thought-experiment has eight tracks which in their current form total 52 minutes, but which with the fat removed would clock in around 40 – now that could have been an album worth loving. It’s tempting to think that with a different producer and a tougher record label it could have happened, coke or no coke. If ever there was an album deserving of a radical remaster along the lines of Split Enz’s Frenzy (an obscure Antipodean reference for this crowd, I know, but what a revelation that 2006 remix/remaster was – from one of my least favourite Enz albums to one of my favourites in a single bound), it’s Be Here Now, but it’s unlikely ever to happen. What record company exec would green-light it?

    I too helped send Be Here Now to the top of the charts in its week of release, but not my usual charts. At the end of August 1997 I was a few weeks into a three-month visiting fellowship at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand: some of the happiest days of my life, which not even an underachieving Oasis album could dampen. Because I was (for a second time) without my music collection in those pre-mp3-player days, my main listening was to the handful of CDs I took with me or bought there. As a result I listened to Be Here Now far more than I otherwise might have, though not nearly as much as to OK Computer, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, and the glorious Take in the Sun by Bike. Man, they were choice.

    So it’s one CD I’d never sell, for nostalgic reasons alone. And it didn’t put me off buying their later albums, although I took my time picking up most of them. I accepted that most of what I liked about Oasis was contained on their first two albums, but was happy enough to take a punt on the later ones for a few quid a time on the off-chance there would be something more to like. Sometimes there was.

    Jonathan @57, are you sure about those Australian charts? Oasis’s subsequent albums reached numbers 6, 4, 5 and 5 in Oz. It’s true that their singles didn’t do much there in later years, but they hadn’t in earlier years either. They only ever had the one number one single in Australia (“Wonderwall”), and at number 16 this, yes this, was their second biggest hit there.

    Now I have to figure out what to give DYKWIM while I have Take in the Sun playing through my headphones… [pauses, relistens to first 3:19 of DYKWIM; that’ll do. Back on yer Bike].

    6.

  70. 70
    Rory on 16 Mar 2014 #

    So much for my “what record company exec would green-light it”: “To celebrate the twentieth year since the release of their debut album, Oasis are re-releasing their first three studio albums over the course of 2014.” I’ll bet their “meticulous remastering” will be far too scrupulous to rescue Be Here Now, though. It needs mischievous remastering.

  71. 71
    Ed on 16 Mar 2014 #

    @68 Hmmm… I’m not really convinced by any of your counter-examples. Homogenic isn’t a rock album by even the most liberal definitions of the word. OK Computer – released in the UK the month of Labour’s landslide, and already sketching out the case against Blairism – was the anti-BHN, and recognised as such at the time. But it, too, marked an ending: the death of Radiohead’s willingness to base their sound principally on guitars. For their next album, they would draw on a much wider range of sources. Kid A and XTRMNTR are both great albums, and proudly continue the fine rock tradition of bands attempting to revitalise themselves by drawing on other genres. (See also U2’s Pop.) But Kid A and XTRMNTR are both moves towards the margins. Neither of them come close to troubling Popular, for a start.

    A better counter-example might be the Bunnied Sheffield band, who we will be meeting here, but they appear to have been something of a one-off.

    So I still don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that the heyday of British rock, which began with ‘I Want to Hold You Hand’, came to an end in 1997.

  72. 72
    Andrew Farrell on 16 Mar 2014 #

    There weren’t any singles released off Kid A – the album itself went straight to #1.

  73. 73
    Tom on 16 Mar 2014 #

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that this is the end of the road for ‘rock’, but I think it might be the last gasp of a particular rationale for rock bands and ‘rock’ in general.

    i.e. if rock music is important or central to pop culture there need to be good answers to the question “why is it central?” (or better answers than “because it’s made and bought by white dudes and that’s who has the cultural power”). With “Discotheque” I was saying that the answer “because it absorbs everyone else’s best ideas”, which had seemed a good reason since the late 70s and possibly before, was starting to run out of steam. (It hadn’t run out of steam completely, viz Kid A, and it’s still critical catnip to this day.)

    Another answer is simply “because it is” – rock is the centre of music because it’s massive and confident and hungry for it. This is the answer Oasis give, and Be Here Now is where it stops being convincing. (I think it had stopped working a lot earlier elsewhere, eg in the US, though.)

    But because those answers aren’t very convincing doesn’t mean we’re quite at the ‘end of rock’ stage – there are several other answers that still worked and went on working for a long time. (We’ll be seeing one of them just after we deal with a pesky alien infestation…)

  74. 74
    Mark M on 16 Mar 2014 #

    Re66: ‘It’s just their honest critical opinion (hopefully)’.
    Well… sometimes. But not so in the case of Be Here Now, where there was tremendous pressure for the album to get a good review. This happens. In response, the reviews editor will make an effort to give the album (or movie/book/game/whatever) to someone who seems well disposed to it. (This happens). If the review that comes in, he/she may tweak it to make it sound more enthusiastic (that happens), bump up the star rating (that happens) or even spike the review and get someone else to write it.
    I’ve done all those things.

  75. 75
    swanstep on 16 Mar 2014 #

    @Rory, 69, 70. Oooh Bike were great (I really liked the band they grew out of, Straitjacket Fits, too, but Bike were just that little bit more consistently melodic…). Have you heard their cover of Abba’s ‘My Love, My Life’?

    @Ed, 71. Part of the difficulty here is semantic: I do class Homogenic as art-rock. Ditto The Fragile and for more recent examples, anything by M83 or Animal Collective. That few guitars and mostly samples and electronic sources are used is neither here nor there.

    @Tom, 73. But insofar as it makes sense to talk about bands such as Oasis as answering specific questions, to that extent I don’t see why their own output has to be decisive for that answer. BHN’s a dud, but Urban Hymns can pick up the baton for massive, confident, hungry-for-it, collective sing-a-long music (and god knows Coldplay and Muse will be along soon enough). And even if rock does go into a more introverted stage (come on down Elliott Smith, Badly Drawn Boy, etc.) while trance/dance and Britney-pop rides high in 1998 or whatever, that can just be the usual flux of fashion, together with the growth and diversification of the marketplace. No need to get all eschatological about things. :)

  76. 76
    weej on 16 Mar 2014 #

    Just introduced my (Chinese and therefore previously unexposed) wife to Oasis via this, Wonderwall and Acquiesce. Her responses were ‘hm…’ ‘does he have to sing like that?’ and ‘this is horrible’ respectively, I’m afraid.

    For me, though, I’m not so sure. This is boring, yes, but not annoying. That’s obviously not enough to make a good #1 single, but I’ll mark it higher than their previous one.

    Re #74 – I’ve always suspected that this sort of thing goes on, but I hope it isn’t as widespread as you make it sound. If I knew a magazine or website was doing this then I frankly wouldn’t want to bother with it at all any more. There’s the inverse thing too, of course – giving an album to a reviewer who’s bound to hate it, therefore generating some controversy and page hits – that’s pretty bad too, though for different reasons.

  77. 77

    (74/76: i suppose arguably i counted as a “reviewer who’s bound to hate it”, but NME of course declined to run my hostile response (4/10) to Rattle and Hum all the way back in 1988, handing the space over a glad-handing on-staff fan instead. And at the time they were still the media outlet with the most critical clout, tho MM was very much nipping at their heels by then, in terms of intellectual credibility if not sales…)

  78. 78
    Ed on 16 Mar 2014 #

    @77 So how does that work? Do you put yourself through the heartache of listening to Rattle and Hum, possibly more than once, write 800 words of your most beautifully considered prose anatomising its mediocrity with forensic precision, award it a perfectly-judged 4/10 and then find the reviews ed just chucks your piece in the bin and gives the job to someone else?

    That must have been quite frustrating.

  79. 79

    haha more or less exactly that yes, tho i can’t vouch for the “most beautifully considered prose” bit as no copy survives (the only one went in the bin)

  80. 80
    Rory on 16 Mar 2014 #

    Swanstep @75, great to see there’s a fellow fan here. Yes, I found that track in the early ’00s when I was looking to see if there’d been a follow-up album. Sadly not – Andrew Brough seems to have dropped totally out of sight after their one and only album, which is a crying shame. I like Blow but haven’t heard any more Straitjacket Fits. Really should do something about that…

  81. 81
    Mark M on 16 Mar 2014 #

    Re74 (onwards): OK, moving slightly away from the very particular circumstances in the case of Be Here Now, let’s look at this from the reviews editor’s perspective. Your primary duty is to the magazine, not to the writers. You’ve heard the album, and you think your first-choice reviewer, normally a very sensible young woman, has completely missed the point, and your readers might be put off an album they would really like/pushed towards one they will hate, just because this person is having a really random couple of weeks. So (let’s assume you are a good person as well as a reviews editor), you tell the first reviewer what’s happening, let them vent at you, and promise them a kill fee. Then you speak to your replacement reviewer, and make absolutely sure they already love/hate the album. Because the magazine is the entity the readers are putting their trust in, not the flawed individual chumps that write for it.
    (Obviously, that’s not the Lester Bangsian take, nor the one ostensibly pushed by either NME or the Melody Maker in the ’80s and into the early ’90s. It was, however, pretty openly the editorial policy at the Emap Metro stable – Q, Select, Mojo (maybe less so), Empire, Neon…)

  82. 82
    Ed on 16 Mar 2014 #

    @79, @81 That is all very enlightening. Interesting that the process that concealed the grisly truth about BHN was essentially the same as the one that kept us from finding out that subprime mortgages could destroy the economy, or that the NSA was spying on us through our technology.

  83. 83
    Andrew Farrell on 16 Mar 2014 #

    I think that, even if that comparison goes on it’s tiptoes to try to stretch, you are still looking for “deferred” rather than “concealed”.

  84. 84
    Elmtree on 16 Mar 2014 #

    I’m curious-does anybody know what the grunt at 00:57 is meant to be? It sounds suspiciously like the f-word, but if so I’m surprised nobody commented on it at the time.

    Regarding content of BHM, I think Noel’s game-plan was based on a feeling that WTSMG had gone too soft and acoustic, and a more menacing sound was what he needed. If someone had locked Noel in a room and told him to come up with some less preposterously bad lyrics this could have worked, but it’s a record without any space. Every pause in the vocals is matched by some needy, pleading guitar lick and while the sturm and drang of it is rather impressive, it’s a track that can’t get out of your face for a second.

    If I’d been asked to make some edits, I’d have considered making the implied ending around 1:00 an actual ending, making that a first minute separate track. And then built up the rest of the song as track 2, with a much gentler opening and a lot of the guitar noise cut out. I do love the idea of making this an EP with a snow-covered mountain-how many careers would have been more successful if a record exec had taken the best tracks from some inconclusive studio sessions, released it as an EP, and told the band to have another go?

  85. 85
    The Lurker on 16 Mar 2014 #

    A visit to my parents’ house yesterday allowed me to retrieve Q132 with the infamous BHN review. Paul Du Noyer was the guilty man. To me the review sometimes reads as if he’s trying to convince himself that it’s a great record, other times there are passages which could be read as criticism rather than praise and then there are passages which are just eyebrow raising.

    Appropriately the review is long and not all that interesting so I won’t type it all out but here are a couple of excerpts:

    “Like the opening track…DYKWIM, the overall tone of BHN is one of insolent enormity and unhurried arrogance… Huge as a planet, BHN rolls as slowly as a planet also, and just as unstoppably.”

    “What to expect, then, is a whole dollop of that same, majestic inevitability you hear in DYKWIM. If that track doesn’t stand out here, as early singles normally do, then it’s not through weakness, but because the songs that follow are nearly all as powerful. You have to go back, as Noel often does, to efforts like the Beatles’ Revolver, for a set whose every constituent could be spun off into the singles chart.”

    More when I can be bothered, or maybe I’ll save some for the bunny.

  86. 86
    The Lurker on 16 Mar 2014 #

    One other thought about Q: not long after BHN came out, Q surveyed their readers for a 100 Best Albums Ever feature, whose results were published in 1998. As I remember, BHN made the top 20. So with Q readers at least, the lustre didn’t immediately wear off. (Although when Q repeated the exercise in I think 2004, BHN was gone, along with most of the Britpop albums.)

  87. 87
    Elmtree on 16 Mar 2014 #

    “Unhurried arrogance”-quite. Oasis never learned how to bounce their songs along. It’s a reason they fail as a band to listen to in large doses: everything seems to be at the same sludgy tempo.

    I’ve always found it fascinating how charming Paul Weller made Noel’s One Way Road sound. Oasis recorded it as a failed attempt at crafting another epic power ballad, but Weller (or his arranger) wrapped a stumbling, jerking brass band, fake analogue crackle and a pub piano around it and made it seem sweet and knees-up jazzy. It’s the kind of thing that really makes you feel Oasis needed a George Martin. (According to John Harris, Weller apparently was the one person in the Gallagher camp with the sense to speak out and say BHN wasn’t what it needed to be. Oh well.)

  88. 88
    flahr on 16 Mar 2014 #

    I have what I understand from comments above is a somewhat skewed understanding of ‘rock’, by which I mean I was slightly startled by the idea anyone would consider Björk not-rock – I was similarly confused the first time someone suggested ABC weren’t rock, too. I can point the finger for this decisively at Windows Media Player and its shrugging insistence on categorising any album that was even vaguely unvanilla as “Alternative”.

  89. 89
    Ed on 17 Mar 2014 #

    @85 Thanks for those excerpts. Sounds as though Paul Du Noyer was performing a subtle act of rebellion for anyone prepared to see it. Praising with faint damns, you might say. “Insolent enormity” indeed… That’s a phrase that could have fitted into a one-star review just as easily.

    I for one would love to read more, although I can see it must be tedious to type out. I like the idea of a samizdat version saving it from the electronic memory hole. Do you think EMAP actually have staffers coming the internet to delete copies when they find them?

    @83 Haha yes that is true. Still, we found out about subprime mortgages and the NSA eventually, too.

    @75 As you say, it’s a semantic difference, and I don’t want to get into “what is indie anyway?” territory.

    When I was talking about rock, I was thinking of Joe Carducci’s definition: rock is amplified music performed “in real time” by small or small-ish groups playing together, usually but not exclusively using guitars, bass and drums. Also, it rocks, which is a tricky concept to articulate, but has something to do with the way the guitars and drums fit together. You know it when you hear it. It was invented by Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry. Ike Turner and a few others, popularised by the Beatles, Stones, etc, and then perfected – Carducci would say – by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

    I like that definition because it keeps rock in its place, as one genre among many, rather than allowing it to spread out and annex the whole of pop. If Homogenic is rock, are Portishead? Or is Kelis? Where would you draw the line?

    @70 That’s amazing that they are reissuing BHN! Great news for a whole new generation of Oasis fans to feel let down by it, and for oldsters to buy it and recapture the disappointment they felt when they were young.

    If I had a million quid from the Arts Council, I’d do one of these Iain Forsyth / Jane Pollard recreations. Mock up an HMV to sell it to people – complete with first-edition certificates – and then an MVE for them to trade it in. Provisional title: ‘Things Can Only Get Better’.

  90. 90
    tm on 17 Mar 2014 #

    This was more relevant some dozen or so posts ago but fuck it….it was definitely the beginning of the end of Britpop as what remained of it turned into stadium indie: Urban Hymns, OK Computer etc: music for sad students, not pop for the masses.

    Y’all metropole mo’fers don’t understand how important britpop was out in the burbs. When I went to school in ’92, it was nigger this, paki that, poof the other and I despised the alpha heterowhite pricks who banded that shit about and when i was brave enough, shouted it down even when it was my mates.

    By ’99, almost no one spouted that shit and that’s got to be in part because many of the rock, pop, sports and TV stars we looked up to said: you’re a prick if you think that: ‘we like booze and birds and bovver but you can be a lad without being an ignoramus and a bully’.

    But this (BHN) was the start of a schism that allowed lad culture the retreat away from the camp, smartarse pop contingent. It was the sad end of a queasy union that while never truly innovative in musical terms, had delivered progressive politics to the suburbs in a way that more nuanced music probably never could have. (There’s a big argument for the influence of ecstasy here but it’s before my time and where I came from, 92-3 was definitely the end of the 80s while 98-99 (terrible years for music, spoilers etc etc) felt like the start of the 21st century.)

  91. 91
    tm on 17 Mar 2014 #

    Urban Hymns clearly was delivered as pop for the masses, right down to the title. Needless to say, I was rather drunk when I made my last post and I’m sorry for the unnecessary use of the n-word but I think I just about stand by my point that if britpop had a positive influence, it was in the exporting of progressive values to the suburbs and while Oasis never cared about that agenda (if indeed it ever existed) they helped to bring some of the lads on board. This felt like the beginning of the end of that move forward. Of course, in an entry or two, there’ll be a more definite shutting down of hope.

  92. 92
    James BC on 17 Mar 2014 #

    This is the first Oasis number 1 not to be included on The Best Of Oasis (aka Stop The Clocks).

    I’d struggle to think of any other act that would leave even one number 1 single off their best of. Even Country House gets on to the Best of Blur. Even World In Motion gets on to the Best of New Order.

  93. 93
    swanstep on 17 Mar 2014 #

    @James BC, 92. Madonna has omitted ‘True Blue’ from her compilation albums, not even finding room for it on the 2-Disc Celebration (2008) collection.

  94. 94
    mapman132 on 17 Mar 2014 #

    #93 Transatlantic #1 “Who’s That Girl” wasn’t on the Immaculate Collection, although it was on Celebration. Consequence of having too many hits I guess.

  95. 95
    anto on 17 Mar 2014 #

    #85 Q seem to have made a habit of sucking up to the big boys. This possibly explains why it’s one of the few music mags that has survived beyond 2000/01 but it also means that the diminishing returns of Oasis, U2, R.E.M have been consistently excused and at least 4 stars were always guaranteed for these bands across a two-page review.
    The ‘Be Here Now’ review had a similar tone to someone describing a trip to Dubai – ‘The buildings are just so huge!!!’

  96. 96
    punctum on 17 Mar 2014 #

    Cliff left his 1960 Xmas #1 “I Love You” off the 1977 40 Golden Greats double compilation.

  97. 97
    Mark G on 17 Mar 2014 #

    But he did include “Honky Tonk Angels” on his “every single ever, even that one” collection.

  98. 98
    wichitalineman on 17 Mar 2014 #

    Re 97: But he forgot to include two of the best, Throw Down A Line and The Joy Of Living, presumably because their “Cliff and Hank” credit meant they didn’t come up on the database.

  99. 99
    taDOW on 17 Mar 2014 #

    ‘batdance’ hasn’t made any prince greatest hits (two of which are multidisc). ‘dirty diana’ was left off of history.

  100. 100
    wichitalineman on 17 Mar 2014 #

    I went to see Don McLean at the Albert Hall once and he played for 90 minutes without playing Vincent.

  101. 101
    Tom on 17 Mar 2014 #

    Belated sense from Don.

  102. 102
    Mark G on 17 Mar 2014 #

    But, come the ninety first minute…

  103. 103
    wichitalineman on 17 Mar 2014 #

    …he played Crying.

  104. 104
    Steve Mannion on 17 Mar 2014 #

    My sources tell me this song has actually been played on 6Music TODAY. Make of this what you will.

    Nice outro shame about the rest.

  105. 105
    punctum on 17 Mar 2014 #

    #98: “Throw Down A Line” is on 40 Golden Greats. Not sure whether “The Joy Of Living” is at all available on CD so it’s ancient 7-inch 45 ahoy.

    #103: It could have been worse. He could have encored with “Killing Me Softly With My Song.”

  106. 106
    James BC on 17 Mar 2014 #

    #100 Did he get through all of American Pie?

  107. 107
    wichitalineman on 17 Mar 2014 #

    Re 105: Yes you’re right, but it’s missing from the otherwise complete Singles Collection box set. The Joy Of Living was on the Best Of Vol 2, quite possibly deleted.

    Re 106: He did. I would say “of course he did”, but he didn’t play Vincent, so logic doesn’t really come into it. Now if he’d played Killing Me Softly, that would’ve been something.

  108. 108
    leveret on 17 Mar 2014 #

    @104, it was played on Radcliffe & Maconie’s show as part of a reader-suggested trio of tracks featuring Morse code, the others being ‘London Calling’ and ‘Radioactivity’. With the possible exception of Steve ‘Lammo’ Lamacq, I can’t recall Oasis getting much airtime on 6Music, although Beady Eye and NG’s High Flying Birds have been known to pop up, at least on daytime shows.

  109. 109
    mapman132 on 18 Mar 2014 #

    All right, since we’re talking about #1 hits left off of greatest hits compilations, let’s see who knows this piece of trivia: Despite the fact that the Beatles 1 compilation was supposed to include every one of their US/UK #1’s, one song actually got left off. It is so obscure that I was unaware of it until recently and a close friend who’s a much bigger Beatles fan than I had never heard of the song. It was, however, listed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and even supposedly got played in the number one position of the second ever American Top 40 radio show.

    Anyone know what I’m talking about (preferably without resorting to Wikipedia ;) )?

  110. 110
    Mark G on 18 Mar 2014 #

    I’m fairly sure I know what it’s called but I’m having difficulty searching for its reference…

  111. 111
    Tommy Mack on 18 Mar 2014 #

    I’m stumped despite a quick google. Besame Mucho? My Bonnie? Surely not?

  112. 112
    Ed on 18 Mar 2014 #

    I’m ineligible because I Wiki’ed it. I looked it up because that album always annoyed me by excluding ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘Strawberry Fields’, although neither of those are the one you mean, I think.

    Apparently there is a logic behind it, although the strategy of slicing and dicing the catalogue feels like the most compelling motivation.

  113. 113
    Andy M on 18 Mar 2014 #

    Wasn’t it a case of Billboard mistakenly listing it as a double A-side, when it was intended as a B-side? (if you do indeed mean this one: http://tinyurl.com/nnsptk8)

  114. 114
    Rory on 18 Mar 2014 #

    Yeah, I was reading the entry on 1 on Wikipedia yesterday to see if I could offer it as a counter-example for James BC @92, so I know which. But for me, as an Australian, the obvious missing Beatles number one is “Roll Over Beethoven”. (I know that wasn’t the remit of 1, or else “Strawberry Fields” would be there as well – number one in Canada!)

    [Also number one in Oz were “I Saw Her Standing There”, “All My Loving”, “I Should Have Known Better”, “If I Fell” and “Nowhere Man” – blimey.]

  115. 115
    Rory on 18 Mar 2014 #

    And speaking of compilations with missing number ones, this compilation of the Beatles’ Australian number ones, the first Beatles album I ever bought, was missing quite a few.

  116. 116
    mapman132 on 18 Mar 2014 #

    #113 We have a winner! It was in fact “For You Blue” which Billboard listed as a double-A side despite the fact it was not intended as such. Double A-sides had been charted separately until a policy change less than a year earlier. In fact the first number one under the new policy was “Come Together”/”Something” which had been listed as separate singles just one week prior. I think airplay generally was supposed to determine whether or not a B-side got listed. “You Know My Name” (B-side to “Let It Be”) apparently didn’t get enough, but “For You Blue” apparently did.

    The policy wrt B-sides and double-A sides changed multiple times over the next three decades until 1998 when the introduction of airplay-only songs without single release ended the appearance of double-sided singles on the Hot 100 for good. I suspect the introduction of MP3’s and Youtube hits cements this further. Coincidentally, the probable last ever officially double-sided Hot 100 #1 is about to be discussed on this forum.

  117. 117
    mapman132 on 18 Mar 2014 #

    #112 BTW, I was mostly joking about the Wiki thing. You’re certainly welcome to claim victory too if you want ;)

  118. 118
    Kit Mackay on 19 Mar 2014 #

    ‘Joy for Living’ was available on a Cliff Richard compilation called ‘The Hits In Between’ which does a great job of doing exactly what it says on the tin whilst still providing a pun on one of the song’s titles.

  119. 119
    Kit Mackay on 19 Mar 2014 #

    Sorry, I meant ‘Joy of Living’.

  120. 120
    Tom on 25 Mar 2014 #

    Mark’s Oasis piece, for the use of future Popular-readin’ generations: http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2014/03/the-shock-of-the-library-oasis-versus-all-of-art-and-culture/

  121. 121
    Conrad on 26 Mar 2014 #

    It has a good bridge this, and the drum sample gives some space to the rhythm section for once. and the tune is suitably anthemic. I don’t even like oasis but this one is quite good – a 7 if it faded around 4.30

  122. 122
    xyzzzz__ on 19 Apr 2014 #

    I remember the NME review of 7/10 I think, reading and just laughing at it. Stopped it round Morning Glory, gave it a couple of spins, only liked the title track (and still do). My tastes were severely shifting in ’97.

    Reading about the bullying of reviewers etc. makes me think of Freikorps of all things. This is Freikorp pop.

  123. 123
    ciaran on 19 Apr 2014 #
  124. 124
    Mostro on 15 Apr 2015 #

    Would it have made any difference if Noel *had* made a plan?

    Oasis’ problem wasn’t that they squandered any early promise or potential after the first two albums. It was that they’d already delivered it all.

    At the time of Be Here Now everyone was expecting Oasis to take the next step, for it to be (predictably) their “Sgt. Pepper”. With hindsight, it’s far more obvious that Oasis never really had that in them in the first place, something Noel- or was it Liam- as much as admitted.

    They didn’t even get as far as recording the slavish Pepper-alike pastiche one might have expected (which itself would hardly have been as impressive as coming up with the original).

    Be Here Now might have been a better album with less drug-induced bloat and arrogance, but Oasis were never going to be much more than they were with those first couple of albums.

    I’d also argue that they were also a case of “right place, right time” for a generation not quite old enough to have had their own back to basics rock band, for that to seem new. That novelty, combined with the early hunger, energy and attitude of their early stuff probably contributed to its success.

    If you can’t move on artistically, the best you can hope for is to recover the band’s early vitality but even so, it’s always going to be a bit more predictable. Short of getting outsiders to write their songs and provide creative input- and I really can’t see Oasis being puppets in that sense- the band’s slide into being the establishment “Quoasis” was inevitable.

  125. 125
    Cumbrian on 6 Oct 2016 #

    It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times:

    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/06/flattened-by-the-cocaine-panzers-the-toxic-legacy-of-oasiss-be-here-now

  126. 126
    Ed on 11 Oct 2016 #

    Good piece!

    It’s entertaining to see a journalistic style more often applied to the Iraq War or Brexit being used for the third Oasis album.

    I couldn’t really say it’s undeserved, though.

  127. 127
    Cumbrian on 11 Oct 2016 #

    Yes, I quite enjoyed it. My comment was more on Monty Burns’ 1000 monkeys at a 1000 typewriters* and imagining them coming up with reviews of Be Here Now but the propaganda war being fought around Britpop is obviously the main thrust of the piece.

    *Also allowed me to shoehorn in Blur for pun points.

  128. 128
    Cumbrian on 14 Oct 2016 #

    Addendum:

    These stories, such as the one above, obviously came around because Be Here Now’s repackaging has come out. Bits have dribbled out over Spotify over the last couple of months that I have given a listen to and I’ve had a quick scan of the tracklist from which I’d make a couple of observations.

    The B-Sides disc excises both the covers from the era – Heroes and Street Fighting Man – which is a piece of good sense in my view; both are terrible. It can’t be anything to do with not wanting to hand royalties out to people either, as there is a live cover of Help stashed away on the same disc.

    Of the tracks that have hit Spotify thus far, the “big one” is the stripped back version of this #1. I like it more than the original, I think – taking bits off the mix revealed things I’d not been able to hear in the 1997 version, like the string section that’s in there, and the guitars are generally less painful – though it’s no real length shorter than the original, which is what I advocated for back up thread. There’s a line of thinking – advocated by Noel – that the point of Be Here Now is the excess of all of it and that this is in some way a virtue of the record. I guess that might be true in some sense, but I’d have liked to have heard a pared down version of the LP, if this version of D’You Know What I Mean? is any indication of what might have resulted. I’d almost certainly prefer it.

    The Mustique demos that have come out (and seem to comprise the whole of the 3rd disc) make it apparent that Liam was absolutely critical to any success that some of these songs have (also Angel Child, put here instead of on the B-Sides disc, is I find still, after all these years, utterly tedious). If Noel had stayed away after blowing out of the US tour post Morning Glory and these demos would have been the model for his first solo album, his vocals would have hamstrung a good proportion of it; you really need some cocksure vocalist to sell the weaker songs and Noel is not it.

  129. 129
    Girl with Curious Hair on 19 Nov 2016 #

    I don’t think Oasis ever did sound much like The Beatles – the spirit was willing, but the union jack Epiphones were weak. They were the New Buzzcocks, man.

    That said, I think there’s a parallel with Be Here Now and the White Album, in form if not music – they’re both albums made by bands at an Olympian peak of success and as such there’s absolutely no filter there. And at that scale you can see the fundamental difference between the scousers and the mancs laid bare: given free reign The Beatles were a lot more playful and generous to the listener (mostly anyway). Oasis ultimately just didn’t have the same imagination. Everything is just bigger.

    (Though I suppose if there’s a purely musical Beatley antecedent for D’You What I Mean and the rest of BHN’s bigness for the sake of it, it’s the ridiculous 3-hour coda to I Want You (She’s So Heavy) from Abbey Road…)

    Anyway, I kinda like this kind of thing, the rare moment when an artist is at such a level she can happily go too far in every direction at once and expose her id. The Heaven’s Gate situation.

  130. 130
    Mostro on 20 Nov 2016 #

    #129 Girl with Curious Hair;
    Oasis’ approach to the Beatles- well, to too many things- could be summed up with two words- “cargo cult”.

    They did things because the Beatles- or some other heroes- had done it before. They didn’t seem to really *get* why something did or didn’t work in the first place. All uncreative and uncomprehending mimickry of the superficial aspects.

    That stupid cover for “Be Here Now”, for example. All the clutter that was supposed to be full of clever references (Sgt. Pepper style) was so obviously contrived and meaningless that no-one could care about it- and no-one did. Attempting to manufacture cultish intrigue without getting that being so open and explanatory about it was self-defeating.

    Think you were a bit harsh on the Buzzcocks in that comparison, BTW.

  131. 131
    Girl with Curious Hair on 21 Nov 2016 #

    Ah, if I came across as being snide towards the Buzzcocks I withdraw it as that definitely wasn’t my intention – but I do think there’s a pretty strong through-line there.

    Totally agree with you about the cult cargo thing btw – and if I’m feeling generously disposed towards Oasis, I’d say there’s something kinda endearing about how guileless it is. There’s no irony involved or anything that that. On the other hand, a lot of the time it’s pretty bloody lazy – one of their biggest hits literally begins with the same chords as Imagine for seemingly no reason at all…

  132. 132
    Izzy on 21 Nov 2016 #

    The example I hate most is on this very song. “Blood on the tracks and it must be mine …” – right okay, that’s quite menacing, let’s see where he goes from here – “… the fool on the hill and I feel fine” – oh ffs.

  133. 133
    Girl with Curious Hair on 21 Nov 2016 #

    It’s a lot like the Alan Partridge method of seduction: “It’s good this, isn’t it? Even though we’re basically just listing song names.”

  134. 134

    […] in addition to being the album that beheaded mainstream rock music, this album was also one of the greatest critical misfires in music journalism history: the press fell over themselves showering Be Here Now with rapturous […]

  135. 135
    Auntie Beryl on 20 Apr 2019 #

    Is Popular being surveilled by a Marillionbot?

  136. 136
    benson_79 on 3 Feb 2021 #

    The twin furores surrounding BHN’s release and Princess Diana’s death (which I’m sure has been discussed in an upcoming entry I’ve not yet reached) are eerily similar – super-sized national moods seemingly enforced by establishment edict.

    A revisionist approach would see me confidently claim to have seen through and rebelled against both from the off; if I’m honest though it took me a while. In the latter case, probably not until a documentary on Channel 4 which took the media’s hypocrisy to task and crystallized all my feelings of unease at the artificiality of the national grief (can’t for the life of me find out what it was called, but Private Eye hacks featured heavily).

    As for BHN, I was working a pretty horrible and ill-fated summer job in a pub kitchen and remember us all listening to it repeatedly, almost out of a sense of duty. Maybe, if we kept playing this record enough times, some magical truths might be unlocked. When I got to uni that autumn, I would still be defending Oasis against sneering hipsters who were into bands making actual decent music. Surely, I thought, this could be a mere misstep from which Noel and Liam could triumphantly rise again?

    Cognitive biases are crazy, man.

  137. 137
    Ben Wainless on 8 Feb 2021 #

    #136

    Always found the juxtaposition of BHN and Diana a fascinating subject. John Harris touches on it in ‘The Last Party’, but I felt it deserved an entire chapter.

    As for that “search for magical truths’ – I vividly remember being in the Leadmill, Sheffield on Sat 23rd August with a mate whose all-time #2 song was ‘Live Forever’. They played ‘The Girl In The Dirty Shirt’. After a minute or so’s unenthusiastic boogie, he reached over to me and said “This really is f***ing shit, isn’t it?”

  138. 138
    Alan Harrison on 9 Apr 2021 #

    Oasis yet again rocking a generation to sleep with this self-indulgent 7 minute borefest. Utter tosh. 1/10 would be generous.

  139. 139
    Gareth Parker on 6 May 2021 #

    My opinion of Oasis always seems to tally with Tom’s posts on them. I would go one point higher here though, 5/10.

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