Arts

Oasis' first three records
We aren't reviewing "Wonderwall," cause Charley hates it. Image: Hailey Otten/Fulcrum
Reading Time: 6 minutes

We’re mad fer it — well Charley is!

Here at the Fulcrum, we love us some Oasis — er, scratch that, Charley loves himself some Oasis — so yeah, some might say we’re mad for some Oasis. 

So when Charley saw on Instagram that the band had dropped a new documentary about their legendary 1996 performances at Knebworth — it was time. So without further ado, listen up as we review a bunch of Oasis classics (minus “Wonderwall,” cause Charley hates it).

Half the World Away / “Whatever” single (1994) — Zofka: 7.5/10, Charley: 9/10, Aly: 8.5/10   

Zofka: I totally didn’t think this song would be a cover of the R.E.M. song “Half a World Away.” Although disappointingly not the R.E.M song from their 1989 album Green, it’s still a decent tune. There’s some really good production on this, and a bit of studio banter is left in for a more intimate feel. 

Charley: As someone who moved to Ottawa at a relatively young age for his undergrad, this feeling of being alone half the world away from friends and family is all too familiar. This song, to me, is a reminder of late nights, spent staring at the ceiling in my single room in Friel back in second year — a lonely 19-year-old wondering, “why am I here?” 

“Here I go / I’m still scratching around in the same old hole / My body feels young but my mind is very old,” in other words. 

Aly: This one didn’t make me quite so existential, but I like the production on it and I think it’s relatable to anyone undergoing a transition time in their lives.

Cigarettes and Alcohol / Definitely Maybe (1994) —  Zofka: 9/10, Charley: 6.5/10, Aly: 7/10

Zofka: You’ve gotta make it happen! I’m a sucker for a good jangly arpeggiated chord, and this song definitely ticks that box. It sounds like the dB’s if they were a little bit hotter and more confident. Although this is Britpop, there’s definitely an 80s US college indie influence — a Paisley Underground tune with more sex appeal and a lot less paisley. Back to the guitars: great mixing on this track, the jangles mesh well with a pretty damn crunchy riff. The whiskey-soaked Gallagher vocals are catchy as well. I find myself talk-singing “you gotta make it happen” over and over to myself sometimes. Also: sun-shee-iiiiine.

Charley: Always loved the message of the song — if you want something you gotta make it happen. With that said, I have gotten a little tired of this song — when it comes up on Spotify, I usually press next. 

It’s not a bad tune, the intensity is there, thing is one can only hear the distorted T-Rex riff so many times before getting tired of it.

Aly: You can’t make me like grunge. I appreciate the attempt here, but drums (and anything else outside the purview of sadgirl ballads) scare me. That said, this is, like, fine. I’ll listen to this in the car if Charley drives me to Wendy’s but that’s about it. I also prefer “Definitely Maybe” by FM Static.

Morning Glory / (What’s the Story?) Morning Glory (1995) — Zofka: 9/10, Charley: 10/10, Aly: 7/10

Zofka: The distortion and drums at the beginning of the song sound like a pretty good attempt at a pumped-up shoegazey number. I mean, it’s a classic. What else can I say? What’s the story?

Charley: Reading Zofka’s review, I’m genuinely surprised she didn’t realize the riff is an inverted version of R.E.M’s “The One I Love.” With that said, this is a fucking banger: there’s nothing better than listening to this song while shaving in the morning to get pumped for the day. Who knows? Maybe even do a couple lines before leaving the house for the office! (Jk!) 

Aly: Yeah, this is pretty sick. I feel like I could go rip up the streets of Toronto with my bare hands.

Don’t Look Back in Anger — (What’s the Story?) Morning Glory (1995) — Zofka: 9/10, Charley: 10/10, Aly: 10/10

Zofka: Is this a breakup song? If so, it’s an ambiguously cheery one. All breakups are hard to an extent, but this didn’t seem like a particularly difficult one.“Start a revolution from my bed” sounds like a jab at John and Yoko’s famous bed-in. Those two never broke up, technically. I think the mournful piano bits in the intro are a bit at war with the relative levity of the song.

Charley: This will be the title of my last editorial … enough said. 

Aly: I feel like my boss will fire me if I don’t give this a 10/10. So. 

The Girl in the Dirty Shirt — Be Here Now (1997) — Zofka 6/10, Charley 9/10, Aly: 7.5/10 

Zofka: I’m a simple girl: I see a song with “girl” in the title and I listen to it. This song was one of my more positive listens from this category (songs about girls). It had some pretty gnarly guitar riffs between the verses, and soaring call and answer vocal harmonies on the choruses. The guitar was a bit showboaty at times, especially when there was so much other stuff going on like the liberal use of cymbals. It was a cohesive mid-tempo pop song until the bossa nova lounge piano in the outro. This clashed with the vibe a bit. The song went on for about a minute and thirty seconds too long. 

Charley: This reminds me of going out to sing karaoke (“Don’t Look Back in Anger” in particular) at 19, on a Thursday night at “Maison,” or if you want to call it its proper name “The Acadian House” with some girl I used to know. And then coming back to the office where I worked to have deep conversations — cut me some slack. I was young.  

Why does it remind me of that? Because we both didn’t have a care in the world and were both dressed in old pairs of sweatpants with dirty graphic tees — the girl in the dirty shirt. 

P.s: Not a Noel stan, but his version is better than the album version that Liam sings.

Aly: This song is about me… But Charley’s story isn’t. Thank god.

The Shock of the Lightning / The Shock of the Lightning (2008) — Zofka: 5/10, Charley: 5/10, Aly: 5/10

Zofka: A solid, energetic pop tune. Nothing exceptionally good, nothing exceptionally bad. 

Some trite rhymes (“love is a litany, a magical mystery”) are telltale signs of a lazy songwriting session. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a catchy tune, just without much substance. A pounding drumbeat and discordant synths prop it up before a good drum solo in the third act. Amplifier feedback bookends the song, leaving the whole thing hazy.

Charley: A solid album opener but not a classic. Liam’s voice was shot at this point. And this was a song that seemingly would have been better sung by Noel. I would have loved it if he kept this one for the first Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds record: I feel like that record’s vibe fit the song better. Alas, we’ll never know.

Aly: The lightning didn’t shock me enough.

Don’t Go Away / Be Here Now (1997) — Zofka: 7/10, Charley: 9/10, Aly: 8/10

Zofka: The guitar solo in the intro sounds like a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, or maybe a Santana imitation. I do appreciate pop songs that are in a cheerful major-key but have sad lyrics. I like the contrast. “Don’t Go Away,” lyric-wise, is a universally applicable breakup song. You need just a bit more time to make things right — but you probably won’t get it.

Charley: Another song where the Noel demo is arguably the song’s best version, this one reminds me of cold and frosty mornings walking home in the rain after hanging with someone you love. It’s a vibe.

Aly: This brings me back to my third year of university, when I pretended to have much cooler taste in music than I ever actually did. This song has strong February 2019 vibes for me: not in a bad way, but in a nostalgic, coming-of-age way.

Live Forever / Definitely Maybe (1994) — Zofka: 8/10, Charley: 10/10, Aly: 10/10

Zofka: More jangly guitar, an album motif, rounds out this plaintive hit single from Oasis’ debut. I really liked the emotional murkiness of the song. It’s probably going on one of my Spotify playlists!

Charley: This is my favourite song of all time. 

In an interview, Noel Gallagher once said he wrote this song to counter the grunge attitude of hating fame — hating one’s own existence.  

“At the time … it was written in the middle of grunge and all that, and I remember Nirvana had a tune called ‘I Hate Myself and Want to Die’, and I was like … ‘Well, I’m not fucking having that.’” 

“As much as I fucking like [Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain] and all that shit, I’m not having that. I can’t have people like that coming over here, on smack, fucking saying that they hate themselves and they wanna die. That’s fucking rubbish.”

“We had fuck-all, and I still thought that getting up in the morning was the greatest fuckin’ thing ever, ’cause you didn’t know where you’d end up at night. And we didn’t have a pot to piss in, but it was fucking great, man.”

This has stuck with me, no matter how shitty my life may be, getting up in the morning is the greatest thing ever because you don’t know what the new day holds — will I meet my soulmate? Make new friends? Write the greatest story ever? Have loads of fun with friends? Who knows?

We live in a very mundane society. We’ve all felt the pain in the morning rain. But, maybe I just wanna fly, I wanna live, I don’t wanna die, maybe I just wanna breathe, maybe I just don’t believe, maybe you’re the same as me, we see things they’ll never see, you and I are gonna live forever. That’s the song’s message — and that’s the best message I’ve heard in a song. And trust me, I’ve got over 3,000 downloaded on Spotify, so I’ve listened to a couple of tunes in my day. 

Aly: I like it. It’s bringing out the sadgirl in me as I contribute to and edit this piece.