Record Of The Week # 10

March 6, 2017

Oasis – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?

Bear with me on this….

If you search through the racks at Charity/Thrift Shops as I do then you’ll always find an old Oasis CD. It seems that everyone had a few when they were in their pomp and now we’re all digital they are surplus. I bought the first couple when the band arrived in 1994 but didn’t stay the course as they kept churning them out (until eventually Noel couldn’t stand his brother any more and departed to pursue other things and no doubt count his money). However the well wasn’t completely dry after (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and if you find 2002’s Heathen Chemistry for £1 then I would urge you to pocket it.

It’s with this album and the recent release of the film Supersonic about the origins of Oasis and those tumultuous early years that I thought about this album again. It really is a classic by any standards.

Two lads from humble origins in Manchester and Irish ancestry went on to become huge as a rock act. Liam formed the band in 1991 and Noel eventually joined and wrote the songs. You can work out from that who became the leader. Their second release was (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? in 1995. These young men were creating literal chaos wherever they went but with the song writing and guitar of Noel and the voice and attitude of Liam the world became their oyster.

This album took straight guitar rock and Britpop to the masses. Forget the then prevailing Indie with delicate riffs, anodyne lyrics and usually vocalists who couldn’t hold a tune. These boys could offer tunes, guitars, often heartfelt vocals for an anthem and menace.

This album genuinely contains three of British rocks ‘greatest hits’ – “Wonderwall”, “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and “Champagne Supanova”. The record eventually shipped 22 million units and topped the charts in the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and even graced the US Billboard 200 at Number 4. It is one of British rock’s high water marks.

“Wonderwall” is a remarkable ballad that starts acoustically before strings appear. Liam’s vocal has the character to own the song and the lyrics and their slightly strange imagery fit the Gallagher brothers well. The lyrics describe ‘an imaginary friend who’s gonna come and save you from yourself’ according to Noel when asked at the time. “Don’t Look Back In Anger” sees Noel take the vocal and for me is the best Oasis track they ever released. There is an uneasy feeling that whilst original there is every influence that Noel had heard in its structure – you’ll think of Imagine with that piano introduction and then further theft from John Lennon with references to ‘revolution from my bed’. Don’t underestimate the rhythm with the drums that drive it and the piercing guitar solos that populate throughout. “Champagne Supanova” is a sumptuous rock ballad with gibberish words, and that’s not me, that’s Noel speaking. Roll With It is a driving rock song and if you want the spirit of Liam with that slightly hoarse but beautiful roar then this is the one.

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