Monday, July 11, 2011

376 What's the Story Morning Glory - A 500 horizons bonus which somehow got left off back when it should have been posted.

Album: What's the Story Morning Glory
Artist: Oasis
Year: 1995
Genre: Rock


1. Hello
2. Roll with It
3. Wonderwall
4. Don't Look Back in Anger
5. Hey Now!
6. Untitled (aka "The Swamp Song - Excerpt 1)
7. Some Might Say
8. Cast No Shadow
9. She's Electric
10. Morning Glory
11. Untitled (aka "The Swamp Song - Excerpt 2)
12. Champagne Supernova

There was a period of time in my early adulthood when this album was everywhere. It felt like someone had passed a law requiring everyone under the age of fifty to own this album and play it constantly.  It appealed to fans of hip new music (even though they said it wasn't as good as their first album which they bought back when nobody had heard of them) and fans of more classic rock (even though they said it was clearly a Beatles rip-off and not as good as the music it was copying). These were the days before ipods when the accessory of choice was a portable CD player (remember them?) and a case full of the 24 CD's you couldn't travel without. If you skipped through a friend's traveling CD's you would inevitably find a copy of Whats the Story on about page 3, sometimes it was even a legal copy and not a burnt one.

I came fairly late to the Oasis party (my copy was bought second-hand) but my interest in them followed the same trajectory that the rest of the world seemed to: At first I thought they were fantastic, then I realized they were massive prats before discovering they couldn't replicate the success of Whats the story and finally letting my copy of their best album collect dust while joining others in collectively slanging them off. The problem was that Oasis were, and still are, fairly reprehensible human beings. The success of What's the Story seemed to persuade them that they were godlike creatures entitled to share their opinions with lesser mortals and physically assault anyone who disagreed with them. Every week they seemed to make the headlines by getting into physical fights or verbal slanging matches with their contemporaries. Their motto seemed to be "If you can reach it, hit it and if you can't, find a reporter and call it crap." John Lennon said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus but he never believed he was personally the son of God. You got the impression the Gallagher brothers felt they were descended from the almighty and that Dad wasn't nearly as important as they were.

When I listened to What's the Story Morning Glory recently it was the first time I'd revisited the album in years, possibly even a decade. I haven't given Oasis a thought in ages and it means I can review their finest moment and take it as an album of tracks rather than the output of Rock's most arrogant prats. So does it hold up after all these years or has it dated badly? The answer, I'm pleased to say, is definitely positive. It's a great album and listening to it was like re-encountering an old friend. Morning Glory is just a lot of fun. It's infectious and enjoyable and its everything good pop/rock should be. Yes it's derivative but it's making no effort to hide the fact. Oasis may have loved the Beatles but they bring a lot that's new to the table. They're not The Rutles and listening to them doesn't make you want to turn it off and put on Revolver instead.

For a time in the nineties it felt like Wondwall was everywhere, today it's still equally ubiquitous only now in cover form. It seems like everyone loves to do novelty covers of Wonderwall which means you hear the track everywhere but rarely by the original artists. Revisiting Whats The Story made me remember how good a song it is. Damn it's catchy- the chorus is catchy, the verse is catchy, the bridge is catchy and even the piano riff during the coda sticks in your head. It's a great piece of songwriting and much as it annoys me to give them any credit I have to take my hat off to the brother's Gallagher. While people raved about the other singles my second favourite track is She's Electric, a throwaway piece of disposable pop that any other band at the time would have considered a single but Oasis confined to an album track.

So if you're someone who curls their upper lip when someone mentions the word Oasis maybe it's time to dig out your copy of What's the Story Morning Glory from where it's been gathering dust on your shelf and give it a listen. It won't stop the Gallaghers from being dicks but it didn't stop being a great album just because they launched a career as full time dickheads.

Influenced by: The Beatles
Influenced: Gallagher ego trips

Highlight: Wonderwall
Lowlight: The two swamp songs

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "What a load of unimaginative pap. Nothing new here boring rythmns and predictable choruses and bad harmonies - file this one under easy listening 'cos these Manchester boys are straight out of 'unimagination corner'. If it's an oasis you're after you have two options...either buy an 'oasis' bottled refreshing still fruit drink or visit your nearest sahara."

-I think this might have been written by a marketing executive for oasis fruit drink. The cunning buggers have started to product place in Amazon reviews!

So is What's the Story Morning Glory an oasis in the desert of modern music or a mirage that dries up when you get close and turns out to just be a sandy hazy spot with only some small rocks and a few scrubby cactus things and maybe a forlorn looking scorpion with no musical talent at all? And have I stretched this analogy too far? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. First new album of the 90s that I got into, thanks all to Andrew. I loved it then as I love it now. My fave : Dont look back in anger. Pity the guys are such raving loonies, and complete tossers.