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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Be Here . . . Later

If you've been near a TV or a radio in the last few months, you've probably seen/heard a commercial for the "new" AT&T. Talking about "your world delivered" via all sorts of stuff (e-mail, blogging, etc.), each commercial features "All Around the World" by Oasis. Every time I hear this song, I keep meaning to write up a little story about the fabled album that closes with this song: Be Here Now. This is also the same album that is seen as the final hurrah of '90s Britpop.

Oasis broke out big time in England in 1994 with the release of their debut album, Definitely Maybe. Simple in nature but incredibly tuneful and brash, Definitely Maybe and the half-dozen singles off of it were not really like anything out there at the time. The band paid homage to the great musical acts of the '60s and '70s and was unapologetic about nicking riffs, melodies and lyrics from them. Hailed as heaven-sent, the band inspired a younger generation to pick up guitars and play.

I may be in the minority view on this, but I think Definitely Maybe is not the band's best album. Yes, the album got people really excited about music just like grunge did only a couple years before. I argue their best collection of songs is Maybe's follow-up, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? With a better and looser drummer onboard and more sophisticated tunes, Oasis actually proved they were not some hype created by the British press. Spawning classics like "Wonderwall," "Some Might Say," "Champagne Supernova" and "Hello," this album is more or less a great singles collection (most of the songs on it were released as singles).

One of the biggest notable points about the band members themselves, especially Liam and Noel Gallagher, was their life in the papers. Perfect tabloid fodder with their arguments, drunken antics, bold claims and overall arrogance, people were curious about what would happen next. By the time of their third album, Be Here Now, people started caring much less.

I have never owned a copy of Be Here Now in any capacity. After hearing the majority of the album once in Tim's car, I've heard a number of the singles off of it, including "D'You Know What I Mean?", "Don't Go Away" and "All Around the World," numerous times over the years. The latter tracks are really memorable tunes with an epic feel. The deal is, the whole album is epic-sounding, but not that compelling. The songs just kind of exist without much bite. Though the album was a big seller in England, the big balloon that had blown up for them was quickly deflating.

Oasis has released three records since Be Here Now ('00's Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, '02's Heathen Chemistry and '05's Don't Believe the Truth). While I argue that Standing on the Shoulder of Giants is underrated, I could really give a crap about the other two records. Simply, their formula has stopped working in their favor. The band always had this shtick about being the biggest band in the world, but as time has proven, you're not the biggest forever.

So hearing Be Here Now's closing track "All Around the World," anytime I'm near a TV or radio, I think about the wild video for the song, the crazy debauchery found on the album's cover and the arrogance of Liam and Noel. The band is still huge in England, but here in the states, they're more likely to end up on a cynical reminiscing show with two-bit comedians and actors than anything else. As far as I know, the current usage of the song hasn't really done much more other than blog fodder.

1 comment:

Treblephone said...

Agree with you about WTSMG-----it delivered on DM's promise, and the title track, when played in the car, threatens to make me one of the morning highway statistics. :)

The last album I found to be somewhat of a return to form for them, though---it's certainly a cut above its predecessors.