I recently rediscovered a batch of old files from my first PC, dating back to the mid-to-late nineties, crammed full of old music reviews, interviews and oddities. It’s an interesting time capsule of how I felt at the time about music many of us have been living with (sometimes unwillingly) for decades now.
FROM WIKIPEDIA: ‘Contemporaneous reviews of Oasis’ “Be Here Now” were, in John Harris’s words, unanimous with “truly amazing praise”. According to Harris: “To find an album that had attracted gushing notices in such profusion, one had to go back thirty years, to the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” … Most early reviews praised the record’s length, volume and ambition.’
OASIS: ‘Be Here Now’ (Creation)
‘Be Here Now’ may well be the album of the decade by the band of the century (or something like that) but it’s really just another example of the law of diminishing returns.
Oasis have two songs: the big sky-punching, hug-yer-mates singalong one, and the big sky-punching wave-yer-lighter-in-the-air singalong one. We heard both of them on ‘Definitely Maybe’, several times, but that was okay. Then we heard them again on ‘Morning Glory’, and they were a bit dull. Now here they are, only longer and far, far more bloated than you could ever have imagined.
Not that we expect a radical departure: plenty of fine bands do one thing and do it well throughout their careers (think Tindersticks, Teenage Fanclub, Smiths, etc etc). The trouble with Oasis is that behind all the big noise, world-swallowing arrogance and tabloid hysteria there is… nothing.
Oasis have about as much emotional resonance as a stale baguette, and stretching these flimsy bits of other people’s songs to six, seven, eight minutes won’t make a blind bit of difference.
But what of the songs? What can I say? They’re Oasis songs. There are 11 of them (and an orchestral reprise of ‘All Around the World’ to finish). You know already what they sound like, and you’ll either cringe or celebrate accordingly. ‘Be Here Now’ is the musical equivalent of summer cinema sequals like ‘Speed 2’ and ‘The Lost World’ – hollow retreads of past glories shuffled around a little, repackaged and put back into service to rake in a few extra dollars before the public get wise to the con.
In the end, though, you have no choice. Every open window, every passing car, every radio will be blaring out identikit bits of ‘Be Here Now’ for at least another year. At least one of these songs will be as inescapably ubiquitous as ‘Wonderwall’.
Resistance is futile.
(I stand by pretty much al of this, but I’ll admit I was wrong on one count – not a single song from ‘Be Here Now’ became ubiquitous. I can’t remember how any of them go.)