Too depressed by rumors that Eden Hazard has decided to move to Madrid this summer, I'm taking a break from football today. This article is an extension (rip off) of a podcast released by the great people behind Celebration Rock. They attempted to create a 14-track album of what they believed to be the greatest tracks from Oasis’s mid-90s heyday. Today, I’ll be doing the same. Only this time, correctly.
In the two short years between 1994 and 1996, Oasis transformed from a group of 5 unemployed Manchester City fans into the greatest British band of the decade. In this article, I’ll reveal the true fantasy Oasis album that encapsulates the vast spectrum of their greatness. Expect drama, exaggeration, and more adjectives that can fit in a fourth grader's thesaurus.
Ultimately, I’ll answer the question: what would happen if Creation Records forced Noel and Liam Gallagher to combine Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story (Morning Glory) into a single, 14-track mega-album.
I’ve tried to link my Spotify playlist to the site, however, if it appears something went wrong, you can check it out here: https://open.spotify.com/user/1211658381/playlist/6zlTU5TAEB4Mf0SfxM8y97?si=RKqLpTvPTRS2M39h5kwunw.
Notable Exceptions: Wonderwall, Cigarettes and Alcohol, The Masterplan, Cast No Shadow, She’s Electric, Fade Away
Off the bat, you may be thinking, “What? Not ‘Rock n’ Roll Star‘?”
Of course not. See, in this hypothetical world in which no man has heard of Noel or Liam Gallagher, “Hello” is the proper introduction. First off, it teases the listener with the faint strumming of “Wonderwall,” only to shove that to the side, plug in the amplifier, and blast the headphones off with some feedback and the strum of Noel’s Epiphone Les Paul. See, Hello, is the true Oasis – the band that busted into the charts in a flaming ball of screeching solos and football chants. Speaking of football chants, it is a shame that Gary Glitter’s “good to be back” refrain still makes it onto the album through this song because… you know… but hey, you have to make sacrifices somewhere.
2. Rock n’ Roll Star
Now we are well and truly in the thick of it. Oasis said “Hello” and will now tell you what they are all about. The opener of Definitely Maybe is required to feature in the album. In a short 5 minutes, the band shows you who they are, what they are about, and why they simply do not give a @#!?.
It’s a bit cliché, it’s a bit over the top, but ultimately, it is a full throttle, Russian dashcam equipped bulldozer of a track that goes like hell.
3. Live Forever
The listener just picked themselves off the floor after being slammed by two jet-engine screamers. For our next act – we’re getting sensitive.
As otherworldly in its production as it is in its message, “Live Forever” grounds its melody in a verse more catchy than the song’s chorus. Quite possibly the rawest track from the first two albums, the song tears your heart out with piercing riffs that almost follow the song, lurking in the background but providing the necessary support. Combine that with Liam’s plea for immortality, and you’ve got the song that started it all – Live Forever.
The best drums off of any Oasis track? The first Oasis single ever released? A 4th straight track to knock the socks off of any Oasis beginner?
Yes, yes, and yes.
5. Talk Tonight
While I have the urge to sling a fifth consecutive barrage of electric bandwidth into the tracklist, now is the time to expose the listener to the acoustic side of Oasis – AKA Noel’s playground.
“Ah,” you may be thinking, “here’s where he’s going to use ‘Wonderwall’.”
Nope. Wrong. Dead wrong actually.
In this universe, I – like Jesus – am making a sacrifice for the rest of humanity.
In leaving “Wonderwall” off of the record, I am saving the world from the plethora of tragedies caused by this once decent song. Think of all the parties this would save. No longer would white men with ponytails “introduce other guests to their ‘sensitive side’” by playing a scratchy version of the song on their overpriced acoustic guitars.
“Wonderwall” - a vastly overplayed hit - must be cast aside in favor of something more personal to its writer – “Talk Tonight”.
Written after an emotional breakdown that nearly detached Noel from the band, “Talk Tonight” reveals the nougat of rational aspirations and mental fatigue that lies inside the shell of electric ferocity that Oasis initially presented to the world.
Possibly my favorite track from Oasis, “Columbia” had to feature on the album. Why do I love it so much, you ask?
The answer is simple: try driving home at midnight from your shift at a restaurant, plugging your phone into the car’s speakers, clicking shuffle, and hearing the immense minute and a half buildup of a song you’ve never heard suffocate your ears and plug your brain at full volume.
Pro tip: get some noise canceling headphones and play ”Columbia” on full blast. That should do the trick.
7. Listen Up
Track 7 has been the most difficult to pin down, however, “Listen Up” fills the gap brilliantly. Featured on the Cigarettes and Alcohol release, “Listen Up” was snubbed by the band when penciling in the tracklist for Definitely Maybe. Why they did this, I have no idea. The song is immense, personal, and eternal.
“Listen Up” also includes the most excellent guitar solo from any Oasis song ever. I’m not messing around here.
From about the 4-minute mark, the guitar begins to follow a high-pitched but methodic pattern, floating high above the drums, rhythm guitar, and bass. About forty-five seconds into this masterpiece of a solo, the guitar bends away from its path and smashes you over the head with an emotional and nostalgic fifteen seconds of bent strings and broken amps. And guess what - it’s all an intro for yet another chorus.
Bet you didn’t expect that five minutes and fifteen seconds into a seven-minute song.
I’ll admit, “Listen Up” is a bit scratchy, a bit too loud, and far too long, but somehow it all works. It’s just brilliant.
8. Slide Away
Another classic Oasis song which is in the running for both their most significant and most underrated song. If possible, I would add the 1998 live version that featured three things: a stool, a guitar, and Noel Gallagher. One of the most heartbreaking performances from the band's catalog, this version of “Slide Away” will make even the most anti-acoustic rock fans reconsider their beloved medium.
9. Some Might Say
A classic track that reestablishes Noel Gallagher’s melancholic fascination with the glories of the past and the looming future - “Some Might Say” fits correctly at ninth position.
Yes, “the sink is full of dishes,” but “some might say, we will find a brighter day.”
Well put, Noel. And by writing those lyrics, you made yourself a millionaire. I don’t know what “some” would say, but I’ll say that is a damn good start finding a “brighter day.”
10. Bonehead’s Bank Holiday
Before finishing the album with four straight classics, the listener deserves a comical break from the divine musical experience I am providing for them. Be grateful.
The discord between the Gallagher brothers that propelled them to greatness established their legacy and eventually sunk Oasis was built upon banter and bickering.
“Bonehead’s Bank Holiday” presents a joyous and lollygagging school bus singalong. The laid-back track, however, features the Liam and Bonehead mocking Noel (and each other) throughout the song. It’s funny. It’s lighthearted. It’s the perfect start to the end of this great record.
11. Morning Glory
“Morning Glory” represents the product of a nuclear reactor melting down in the parking lot of a WWE event. It’s insane, it’s loud, It doesn’t make sense – but it is somehow necessary for civilization.
A track of epic proportions, “Morning Glory” also begins with the great lyric, “all your dreams are made, when you’re chained to the mirror and the razor blade.” I have no clue what that means, but I know it means something. I’ll update this article if I ever find out.
The best Oasis song? Yes.
“Acquiesce” has it all: brain-thrilling drums, a catchy chorus, and the perfect balance between the two forces at the core of Oasis’ engine: Noel and Liam. Liam spurs the song on with gut-bursting verses that cut to the bone while Noel belts out a chorus inspiring enough to make John Daly quit smoking.
A beautiful song, “Acquiesce” is a necessary addition to any Oasis, the 90s, or rock compilation worth listening to.
13. Don’t Look Back in Anger
Noel Gallagher’s best performance in Oasis. The best use of piano in the 90s. The most magnificent chorus of the last 30 years. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” is everything this band was meant to be. As sentimental as it is ambitious, the song has rightly evolved into an anthem that perfectly encapsulates the emotions of weddings and funerals.
If you have any doubt regarding the power of this song or Oasis, check out this video of Mancunians spontaneously singing “Don’t Look Back in Anger” at the wake following the Manchester Arena bombing of 2017.
14. Champagne Supernova
The only way this record was ever going to end.
I’ve utilized the full extent of my melodramatic capabilities throughout this exercise, but I do not mean to exaggerate when I say that this song – “Champagne Supernova” – is the opus of Oasis, better than Bohemian Rhapsody, and a generation-defining tune.
Liam Gallagher proves himself as one of the most naturally gifted, bafflingly talented, and obscurely brilliant vocalists of rock. His performance on the track – his best of any Oasis song – becomes legendary in the context of its creation. Half-drunk in the middle of the afternoon, Liam casually delivered his greatest performance from an Oasis song on his third take.
Sorry Nevermind, nice try Ten, that’s cute OK Computer, I have just created, without question, the greatest album of the 90s.
Let me know what you think of the track list. What should I have included? What was I insane to leave out? What would your album look like?