Oasis – Definitely Maybe

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Oasis had it in them to make one goodish album that was only goodish because it contained two immortal hits because of how silly the lyrics were which guaranteed fun at the karaoke joint and how economical (/lazy) their chord progressions were. I am, of course, referring to “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova,” what, with lyrics like “After all / You’re my wonderwall” and “Slowly walking down the hall / Faster than a cannonball,” respectively. All beginner guitarists who are scared of changing chords while keeping time should study the power of the G chord and Asus2 chord (that’s a lot easier to play than the A chord because one less string is involved) used in those two songs respectively, with only one or two strings changing per chord change. Sucks that neither of those songs appear here.

For the record, I love Britpop, but Oasis didn’t belong because they were hardly British, the defining factor of all of them. Don’t believe me? They’re the only Britpop band to really make it big across the Atlantic (the biggest hit of the other biggest Britpop band, Blur, “Song 2,” is the furthest thing from Britpop as it gets) (if I ever meet a girl over here that knows – not knows of but knows – Pulp or Suede, the other two big ‘uns, I’ll marry her on sight). In fact, the only real British thing that happens onDefinitely Maybe is the use of the word “shite” instead of “shit” on closer “Married With Children,” but that was only so Noel Gallagher could make a rhyme with the next line, “Up all night.” 

Moreover, Oasis only had two real members: Noel Gallagher, who wrote songs, always with Em and G chords and always with AABB rhymes, and Liam Gallagher, who sang those songs, always with long drawn-out vowel sounds because swagger is easier than singing. And when they realized that you can only do so much with Em and G chords, AABB rhymes and held vowels, they proceeded to mock every other artist around to maintain relevancy. On the other three members, Tony McCarroll bangs out his drums adorably loud as 90s rock demands of him (best/worst example: the first few measures of “Supersonic”); methinks if you asked Paul McGuigan (the bassist) to play Alex James’ part on Blur’s “Girls & Boys,” he would’ve had a stroke, and apparently, there’s a rhythm guitarist, but who knows what he’s doing that Noel couldn’t do himself.

Now that this is 20 years behind us, I thought that, like Be Here Now, the bloated mess of an album which was universally praised upon release and then universally rejected almost immediately after,Definitely Maybe would finally get its dues – nope. And though I’m well aware that every publication nowadays tend to play it safe to keep their readership alive, I’m still a little shocked. “Then, now, and forever, Liam is the Definitely and Noel is the Maybe.” What does that even mean?! 

Anyway, I do like the choruses of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” (though the guitars underneath Liam Gallagher’s voice are doing nothing!! Nothing at all!) (also, the guitar solo sucks) (also, the outro sucks, though it might be cool to see live), the choruses of “Shakermaker” (I’m a big sucker for that everything-dies-down-for-that-final-line trick that happens here) (no reason why this song couldn’t end at the 3 minute mark, or the 4 minute mark; the outro sucks), the message of “Live Forever” (that, and its endearing falsetto in the chorus), the melody of “Supersonic” (thank you for introducing me to gin and tonic) and “Cigarettes and Alcohol,” if mostly for reminding me of how great a tune “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” was. Also, on that note, if you play the first few seconds of “Bang a Gong” and then “Cigarettes and Alcohol,” it becomes quite clear why Oasis became as big as they did – they were just louder. And while I’m on T. Rex, a band called the Black Keys also borrowed (/stole) a riff from T. Rex for their 2010 album, who were also loud and mostly untalented and came across much more fame than they deserved. Put on your sunglasses and play these songs at night while you walk to the club. Sunglasses. At night. So people can see your assholery coming and cross the street lest they get hep A.

But my favorite song is the one no one seems to ever mention, closer “Married With Children,” wherein the band’s nonexistent rhythm section finally stops trying to exist and Noel Gallagher actually writes a surprisingly good guitar part over a neat-o chord progression. And if you pay close attention to the lyrics, “I hate the way that you are so sarcastic / And you’re not very bright / You think that everything you’ve done is so fantastic / Your music’s shite it keeps me up all night,” it’s practically the band’s autobiography, just written in second person.

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One response to “Oasis – Definitely Maybe

  1. I think, much like in the case of Nirvana, Oasis are not about what chords they play, but rather how they present them. I approached both this album and its follower with skepticism (given the band’s image nowadays), but ended up loving them both. Great, great hooks, killer vocals, infectious type of energy. However, Definitely Maybe’s main flaw is its lack of diversity – too many of the songs have the same sound (they would improve on that on Morning Glory). Also ‘Columbia’ I find very uninspiring. And Digsy’s Dinner is…well, Digsy’s Dinner. I fully agree with your descriptions of what makes each of the mentioned songs great from the 5th paragraph.

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