Hello all, and welcome to part five of my guide to having a great record collection. Now, up until now, it’s been straightforward and fairly obvious. This time though, my choice may split the audience. I’m fine with that, because if we were all the same, life would be dull and tedious, much like most of the music in the charts right now.
Definitely Maybe by Oasis
Released at the end of August 1994, Oasis’ debut album marked the beginning of the so-called ‘Britpop’ era. Liam and Noel Gallagher burst on to the scene as two mouthy Mancs who had alot of self belief and weren’t afraid to tell people about it.
And to be fair, kicking off your debut album with a song like ‘Rock And Roll Star’ goes a long way to backing it up. It’s loud, it’s proud and it signals intent. Tonight and from now on, they really were Rock and Roll Stars, and they were going to live up to it!
The lesser songs on the album, ‘Up In The Sky’, ‘Columbia’, ‘Bring It On Down’ and ‘Digsy’s Dinner’ may not keep up the quality, but they were and remain solid yet unspectacular, which can be said of many other bands’ album tracks.
Of the songs that were released as singles, ‘Shakermaker’ is probably the weakest, with the melody unashamedly ‘borrowed’ from the New Searchers song ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’, so much so, that Oasis’ own tribute band, No Way Sis released the latter as a single. ‘Live Forever’ is at the other end of the scale, a top class track, conceived by Noel as an antidote to all the self-harm grunge nonsense that was entertaining the British teenager thanks to Nirvana and the like. (Personally, I never saw the appeal of all that – I still haven’t listened to every track on Nevermind. And I don’t really foresee myself ever actually doing so).
In the middle, there’s ‘Cigarettes And Alcohol’, another case of Noel lifting riffs or melodies from other songs, this time ‘Get It On’ by T Rex. The only thing is, it damn well works. The thundering guitar riff that ties the whole song together, along with Liam and his word pronunciation (or pronuncia-shiun as Liam would say). And of course, the song that launched them in the first place. The drumbeat, the sound of the plectrum running up the guitar string, and the opening lyric “I need to be myself, I can’t be no one else, I’m feeling Supersonic, give me Gin and Tonic.” (Just in case you’re still not quite sure, it’s called ‘Supersonic’ by the way.)
The last song of note on the album is ‘Slide Away’, the first attempt by Noel to write a love song. For me, it works well, sitting comfortably along the rest of the album, and standing above some of the later efforts, but that’s another conversation.
But actually, that’s technically not all, because if you had the vinyl release of ‘Definitely Maybe’, you would also know the extra track, ‘Sad Song’. Certainly a hidden gem, the best version of the song is probably on a Noel Gallagher live performance given at the Teenage Cancer Trust gig and included on a CD given away free with a newspaper.
So, that’s ‘Definitely Maybe’. One of the best debut albums? Maybe. An album that inspired millions of teenagers and kids to pick up a guitar and play music? Definitely.