Retrospective Review: Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory



So many bands will never make an album as good as Definitely Maybe. Plenty of those that do will never top their equivalent. Neither of these things are anything to be ashamed of; that album is fantastic, and the people of the UK responded in droves. Very few people could have predicted what would happen next.


Following the release of their debut album, Oasis became unexpectedly embroiled in a media-fueled battle with fellow Britpop band Blur for chart dominance. Blur had released the excellent Parklife in 1994, which could more than hold a candle to Definitely Maybe, To definitively come out on top, then, the Manchester band would have to come out with something special. Fortunately for them, it doesn't get much more special than (What's The Story) Morning Glory.


Let's gloss over the filler tracks. 'Hello', 'Hey Now!' and 'Cast No Shadow' are decent enough songs and certainly have their place. As far as fillers go - and practically every album has and needs them - they're pretty good. We'll practically ignore the interludes collectively known as 'The Swamp Song', and once those five tracks are removed, everything else you've got left is just amazing. Alright, 'Roll With It' and the fun, comedic 'She's Electric' straddle the border of whether they should be filler or not, but both are strong enough to come out of the other side on the better end of that debate.


Right, onto the killer tracks, and each needs a paragraph to truly do them justice.


First we have 'Some Might Say', undoubtedly one of the best tracks of its era. A fan favourite, it is also the last song that featured the original line-up of the band, with Tony McCarrol making his final appearance behind the drum kit before leaving the band and being replaced by Alan White, who drums on every other track. Its pre-chorus and chorus hooks are ready-made for live performances, and Liam Gallagher puts in a rousing performance.


The title track is perhaps one of the most underrated songs of Oasis' catalogue. A raw and messy song that sounds like it was produced on a grammophone, it's the closest the band ever come to sounding like the Sex Pistols. There are a thousand layers of guitar all competing with each other, drowning out the rest of the instrumentation and even making the vocals barely audible above them, and yet somehow, it remains a brilliant tune. That it can overcome its downright terrible production - which was no doubt terrible on purpose, though it's difficult to fathom why - is a testament to the strength of the tune. It's rocky, it's upbeat, it's the antithesis to the three songs we have left to discuss.


'Champagne Supernova' is the magnum opus of the album, a beautiful and lengthier track which is far more melancholic than most of the record that precedes it. A fine way to cap off the record, it features Paul Weller on guitar and notably, writer Noel Gallagher still doesn't particularly know what it's about, saying the lyrics "mean different things when I'm in different moods". Bizarre, but it certainly works.


Whilst that may be the magnum opus, 'Don't Look Back In Anger' takes the cake for being the best track. Catchy, anthemic and built for festivals, it's an instant classic and Noel's voice suits it far more than Liam's would have done. Possibly the closest thing to perfection the band ever did, the track can be played and played again and it just won't get old. Few choruses are as instantly recognisable as this one, with "so, Sally can wait" being one of the most iconic lyrics of the 1990s. A huge song.


Are we missing one? Of course. Who can forget the one and only 'Wonderwall', a song that will never die, having now been immortalised by Internet memes. It needs no introduction; we all know that four-chord guitar, all know those lyrics, and all know how it has come to define Oasis in the modern day. The question is - is it their best? Personally, I'd argue that it isn't, but no other Oasis song can match its fame and, you know, it is pretty damn good.


We don't often do track-by-track reviews; they're not as popular with readers. But some records just require them, and this one certainly fits that category. Nearly every song deserves a whole lot of credit, and it only seems fair that it's given, even if the article itself must suffer for it.


If the Battle of Britpop had been a real, physical battle, Blur would have had to concede following this record. They're a fantastic band, and because they didn't have the tensions in their band that Oasis did due to the Gallagher brothers, they have outlasted their brethren. But as good as Parklife was, it just wasn't quite Morning Glory. This is a special record, even amidst its poor production at times. The songs shine through that, and some even benefit from the lack of polish.


It's a shame Oasis didn't last, but they were very much a band of their time. In fact, this record made them THE band of their time, bar none. The Beatles of the 90s? It's hard to argue against it. And who knows, one day, if the planets align...who knows...


9/10



 


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