Insanity Crash - Albums from the past – With Retrospective, comes perspective.

Oasis – Be Here Now plus others.

Confession time – Oasis are stamped straight into my history of music in two instances – the first is that they have the impressive feat of being the first ever album I got making it historic and another good Bebo Trivia question. The second is that they are one of the few bands that I listen to that I have no desire to hear them play live. The debut album I missed totally, being only 9 and 10 during their ascendancy that the Arctic Monkeys have mirrored so well, so my introduction to Oasis was big balladry. In this time of confessions is that Be Here Now, the titular album of this post, is universally slated in the same fashion as the Matrix sequels were – big, overbloated version of the original, retreading ideals that really should have been thrown aside. The only thing that might be slightly different with Be Here Now is there was probably much more cocaine involved.

In fact, I missed the release of Be Here Now when it first came out. My father, ever the music critic, read a review and told me that it was rubbish, and in fairness, the review did say it was shit. The problems were it was too long, indulgent, wankery and had little redeeming factors. A few years later, in 2000, I bumped into Be Here Now at the same time as its follow-up was also floating around. Standing on the Shoulder of Giants is now regarded, along with Heathen Chemistry, as Oasis’s lost years, before “regaining their mojo” with Don’t Believe the Truth. (As an aside how awful are the album titles!)

So, I concede that SOtSoG is harsh on the ears, except for a few tracks, but I dismissed it and Be Here Now on the grounds that everyone else said they were gash. 11 years and 8 years later…

…And they stand up well, at least, in my eyes. Be Here Now is sprawling, wide, long, and technically impressive, even if it is steeped in overblown guitar and production. Johnny Depp (yes, Johnny Depp) appears as a slide guitar solo on Fade In – Out which might be an indication of how mental it went for Oasis in those years. The words “fucking mental” are a good descriptor for it, which might have caused the following album too. The guitar is awesome and the production, if it was a concept album, would be excellent – but it wasn’t. It was a follow-up to an album of great pop ballads and 4 minute long songs so 8 and 9 minutes is a stretch for the normal listening public to contest with.

This did not end with Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. This might be the darkest and oddest of all the Oasis records, and as such, I love it. I think at first I hated the unusual songs and silly lyrics, but in my older more matured tastes tracks such as Sunday Morning Call and Gas Panic! Are not only the most interesting Oasis tracks, but some of the best Noel has written. Don’t believe me? Have a listen.

I fear the backlash on Oasis was far too harsh and far too sudden compared to the darlings of the rock and roll age that we had in the 60s and 70s – and the backlash is still happening today with much gayer abandon that ever before, and a good example is the current fascination with Amy Winehouse who has not really done anything other than be “rock and roll”. I can only imagine what Oasis’s career might have ended up like if they were vilified for the indulgence that they had in the 1990s but had to contend with today’s press.

Listen to their albums and see what you think. I might be wrong, but both albums are actually quite good…

In other news, I am really enjoying writing these posts, so expect some more this week I think.