Saturday, December 13, 2008

(What's the Story) Morning Glory?

It's Saturday...time again for another long nerd-essay about a great album from the past!!! Last week I took a dark (and twisted) journey into the mind of Alice Cooper...this weekend I'm in Chicago seeing Brit-Rockers Oasis with my sister Amber. In celebration of this historic, monumental, occasion I'm talking Oasis this weekend.

The most famous Oasis album, the most well know, the most overplayed, the most sing-a-long-able...(WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? was (and still is) a titanic achievement of brash bravado and good old-fashioned working-class elbow grease. So sit back and enjoy another installment of Classic Albums Revisited:

Something interesting happens when you play (WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? You pop it in and press play--a the faint opening of the single "Wonderwall" begins...before being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of guitar ushering in "Hello" (which is the albums true first track). I've heard the reason this happens is because the band wanted to trick listeners expecting the hit song into cranking the volume up: thus getting konked on the head by "Hello." This bit of trickery, on the band's second album, is evidence that even in the early days--Oasis had both balls and little regard for the record buying public.

(WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? is both loved and hated worldwide. Beatles rip-off? Not as good as Blur? Self indulgent? People can say a lot of negative things about this record (and every other Oasis album), but one charge that just won't stick is "boring." MORNING GLORY? is a varied, well-produced album by a hungry young band eager to prove their brash boasts. The fact that this album was a MONSTER hit back in 1995, and yet you can hardly spend a day listening to the radio without hearing at least ONE of the record's SEVEN hit singles (that's right, over half of this album was released as a fucking single. I challenge you to find another modern band who can top that level of success).

But just because something is well received does not always mean it's great. MORNING GLORY? could have been a huge commercial flop--and it still would have been a damn fine album. The lyrics are both interesting and very simplistic. Sometimes I groan hearing how basic the rhymes are at times--but they work. Usually because they are sung with what has now become the band's trademark "soaring sincerity." It's all bigger than life, which somehow makes it all the more believable. At the same time, Noel and Liam Gallagher (the real Oasis, in my opinion, as the two brothers have pushed away and alienated everyone from the original lineup at this point--but it's all good, as they are the principal singer/writing talents) know exactly what they are: they're a stupid rock 'n roll band. There's this great line in "Don't Look Back in Anger" where they even point out that not only should we not take them too seriously, but we also shouldn't put all our hopes and dreams in them:

"Please don't put your life in the hands
Of a Rock n Roll band
Who'll throw it all away"

This bit of honesty helps make the stupid bravado stuff go down smoother. These little bits, where their guards drop are what make the record.

I don't need to tell you that "Wonderwall" is a great song. It's one of those great songs that's been waaay to overplayed, but I don't care. It's still great, and I can't help but sing along with it every time I hear it on the radio. But for me, "Champagne Supernova" is the standout of this record. The soft bubbly sound at the beginning...the carefree guitar strumming...the Lennon-esque lyrics. It's all great.

"Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky "

And that title/lyric is such a great image. I don't know exactly what a Champagne Supernova is, but I totally love it. There's a great solo midway through the song, it's a fantastic, understated affair--that totally fits the laid-back vibe of the song. That's something else I love about this song, and in fact this record--Oasis in general...NO MATTER HOW INTENSE THE SONG Oasis always seems to play with a carefree effortlessness. It's a joy--a FUCKIN JOY to hear them. "Champagne Supernova" caps off a classic record, by an amazing (though underrated) rock band. Brit-Pop may be dead, it may have been a fad--but there was some amazing music created under it's tattered banner.

(WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? is right up there with SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND or PET SOUNDS. It's awesome. Even though you've heard these songs 1,000 times, go back and give them a listen. They still hold up. Oasis still rocks.

Interesting fact: the two dude's walking on the album cover aren't in the band (i.e. they're not Liam or Noel, like I thought when I was younger). Nope--they're actually a couple of famous British radio personalities (Owen Morris and Sean Rowley). And the street they're walking on? It's Berkick Street Soho, London. Wow, right? Now ya know!


Amber said...

Great Fucking album, makes me feel young when I listen to it. Although I remember when I bought it you made fun of me for buying it and now I have fully converted you. Amen.

Jason said...

I did make fun of them (and you) saying they were just ripping off The Beatles (which they are and do).

But I am a convert now...Amen. Thanks!