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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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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..

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 72
    Andrew Farrell on 16 Mar 2014 #

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

  13. 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…)

  14. 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.

  15. 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. :)

  16. 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.

  17. 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…)

  18. 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.

  19. 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)

  20. 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…

  21. 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…)

  22. 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.

  23. 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”.

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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.)

  27. 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.)

  28. 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”.

  29. 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’.

  30. 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.)

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