What we’re listening to (#5): ‘Definitely Maybe’ by Oasis

Oasis were an English rock band formed in 1991 – the initial lineup included Liam Gallagher (vocals), Paul Arthurs (guitar), Paul McGuigan (bass), and Tony McCarroll (drums). Liam’s brother would later join the band as the back-up vocalist and lead guitarist. Oasis released eight number-one albums and eight number-one singles during their run spanning almost two decades, but perhaps no album was as well received as their debut Definitely Maybe.

Definitely Maybe was released in 1994 and received immediate critical and commercial success after the release of ‘Supersonic’, ‘Shakermaker’, and ‘Live Forever’ as singles. It would go straight to number-one on the UK Albums Chart and, at the time, became the fastest selling UK album of all time. The album would go onto be certified as 7x Platinum and would also bring Oasis fame in America, where over a million copies were sold.

Oasis have been noted as one of the forefront bands in the Britpop music, a movement that has often been cited as the second British invasion of America, though it was not quite penetrating as the invasion which occurred during the 1960s. Along with bands like Blur, Suede, and the Stone Roses, Oasis counteracted the grunge music which was popular at the time with a much more upbeat, pop rock style of music which took the Western world by storm.

The album opens with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, and this may be one of the best songs written about being on stage, and the aforementioned optimism is clear to hear. Liam Gallagher’s vocals are on point, and his brother said that he put “everything I ever wanted so say in Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”. The reverb-laden guitar rings in your ears as the track reaches is eclectic and powerful crescendo.

Like ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, many of Oasis’s songs on this album are just incredibly catchy earworms (and the lyrics are kind of just gravy on top, they’re definitely not Bob Dylan-esque if that’s what your into). The simplistic ‘Supersonic’ was adopted by the masses across the Western world as a song about individuality (just listen to the opening lines), the tone of Liam’s voice really makes the entire song. It’s almost as if the band don’t really care what’s being said, just along as it sounds good (but, hey, whatever works, right?)

Oasis also had more heavier songs littered throughout the album – ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ is a hedonistic explosion and a look into their lifestyles (though, it sounds very similar to a certain T-Rex song, but at least they didn’t copy it note for note). You’ve also got  ‘Bring it On Down’, a non-stop hard rock song, with massive punk influences on both the drums and guitar backing Liam’s voice. The band managed to balance this however, and introduced more softer songs, types of songs which have often been referred to as ‘bubblegum rock’  – the prime examples of these would be ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Slide Away’, both very idealistic and opportunist, often to a fault, with the over romanticisation becoming borderline boring in ‘Slide Away’ (although, the lengthy instrumental in between verses featuring Noel Gallagher riffing away is a helpful remedy).

Now that you’re mine, we’ll find a way of chasing the sun” – Slide Away, Oasis

Not many people expected to see Oasis gain the traction and success they did, but it ended up happening – in America, when Oasis were starting out, it was almost cool to like Oasis as they were basically an underground band, and from there they grew into the “best band in the world”. It was a shame that none of their other albums were never as good as their debut, but this doesn’t take away from them in the slightest. They are, and will be, British pop monuments.

This article was written by Mo Hafeez

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