Underrated: Oasis

Jeff and I are going to see Oasis in concert this Saturday so this week is dedicated to them. I've never seen them live and it feels like I kind of missed the boat. I mean they're really past their prime. I'll jump on that nostalgia train, though. Oasis made some of my favorite albums in the '90s and I hope to relive a little of that Saturday. Oh, to be in college again.

Anyway, I'm kicking things off this week with a list of the band's most underrated songs. It's purely my own take on their work, so feel free to disagree. Ultimately, however, I am always right.

  • "Married With Children" (Definitely Maybe, 1994) - Oasis' breakthrough debut album ends with a surprising little acoustic song. It starts with a catchy tune that makes toes tap until we learn, "You music's shite, it keeps me up all night." That's when we should have known what we were getting into. Beatles song it tries to sound like: It's really an acoustic "I've Got a Feeling."
  • "Cigarettes and Alcohol" (Definitely Maybe, 1994) - Perhaps my favorite party song of all time. If I go to a bar with this on the jukebox, it's getting played. Beatles song it tries to sound like: Oh that's a trick question because this song is a blatant rip off of T. Rex's "Bang A Gong." It's not a problem, though, because if you don't like music that sounds ripped off, you're probably not an Oasis fan anyway.
  • "Cast No Shadow" ((What's The Story) Morning Glory?, 1995) - It's hard to find an underrated song on Oasis' second album. Thanks to "Wonderwall" practically every tune they released got constant airplay. Someone once told me that this song was about Richard Ashcroft, the former lead singer of The Verve and a Google search seems to support it. It's a quiet heartfelt tune so I could see that. Beatles song it tries to sound like: The background harmonies remind me a little of "Girl."
  • "Round Are Way" (Wonderwall B-side, 1996) - Oasis has always had great b-sides to their singles and "Round Are Way" is my favorite. With a horn section and harmonica it's just a fun, rollicking song. Beatles song it tries to sound like: with those horns there's no escaping the comparisons with "Got To Get You Into My Life."
  • "Stand By Me" (Be Here Now, 1997) - "Stand By Me" was actually released as a single but by 1997 Oasis was starting to fade a little and the song didn't nearly as much airplay as "All Around the World" (see today's AT&T commercials). The song has one of my favorite opening lines ever. It's right up there with "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon: "Made a meal and threw it up on Sunday, I've gotta lot of things to learn." Perfect! Beatles song it tries to sound like: It's a more uptempo "Don't Let Me Down."
  • "The Girl in the Dirty Shirt" (Be Here Now, 1997) - I like it when Oasis is a little funny, when they stop taking themselves so seriously and this song seems to exude that a little. It's that midtempo rocker that they're so good at, but there's a little bit of a hoedown in there, too. Beatles song it tries to sound like: I'm going with "I've Just Seen a Face" here because of the whole hoedown thing.
  • "I Hope, I Think, I Know" (Be Here Now, 1997) - Another underrated song from Oasis' most underrated album. This one is just a straight up rocker full of screaming guitars. It's also the one song I would most like to hear Oasis play live. Who knows? Maybe my wish will come true. Beatles song it tries to sound like: I think "Paperback Writer" since both have an insistent beat and dominating guitars. It could also be its b-side, "Rain."
  • "Rockin' Chair" (The Masterplan, 1998) - Oasis released this collection of b-sides and live cuts in 1998 and it is still one of my favorites. The album shows their entire range as a band and the songs are all great (although I'm not a huge fan of the live stuff). "Rockin' Chair" is a song about being tired of your life and where you live all done with a nice acoustic backing. Beatles song it tries to sound like: In both sound and mood it fits nicely with "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away."
  • "Fuckin' in the Bushes" (Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, 2000) - In their first studio album in three years Oasis announced that they had changed with the very first song. The whole thing is really just a guitar groove with a series of audio samples sprinkled about. Still, it's done well and is one of my favorite songs to drive to. Another tune that makes me want to break things. Paired with the second track, "Go Let It Out" the album sounds like it might be their greatest work ever. It's too bad the rest of the songs go downhill quickly and make for a mediocre outing. Beatles song it tries to sound like: "Tomorrow Never Knows" immediately springs to mind with all those samples over a main groove.
  • "Songbird" (Heathen Chemistry, 2002) - If Standing on the Shoulders of Giants wasn't disappointing enough, Heathen Chemistry does its best to remind us that Oasis is completely out of ideas. "Songbird" is one of those light little tunes that great musicians write when their low on inspiration but high on talent. It's the kind of thing Paul McCartney's been basing his career on for years now. Still, it's a nice, sunny song. Beatles song it tries to sound like: Any of those acoustic Paul tunes from the White Album but mostly "I Will."


J-Will said...

Some solid picks here Eileen, but I would drop "The Girl in the Dirty Shirt" and the song from "Heathen Chemistry." After studying the band's catalog in order to respond to your blog, I've decided that "Heathen" is the worst album they have produced. I could not get behind any of those songs.

However, I was pleasantly surprised when i listened to their latest album, "Don't Believe the Truth." I daresay it is their best effort since "Morning Glory." "The Meaning of Soul" and "Part of the Queue" are definitely underrated songs, and possibly some of the best songs the band has produced. And they have lyrics that make a modicum of sense!

Other underrated songs:

"Whatever," the song that started it all. Finally released as a CD single after they made it big, but never released on an album. Full of Beatleseque orchestrations and soaring melodies. I taped it from someone else's collection, but really need to get the CD single.

From "Definitely Maybe": "Digsy's Diner," a rollicking fun singalong; and "Slide Away," an example of the power rock they did at the beginning. Plus a great use of Liam's voice.

From "Morning Glory," I've always had a soft spot for "She's Electric." Completely ridiculous song, but lots of fun. I also like "Hello" -- gets you right into the album with its in-your-face attitude. Plus it has that snippet of "Wonderwall" at the beginning to give you a taste of things to come.

"Be Here Now": "Don't Go Away," which may not qualify as underrated because it had a video (based on Rene Magritte paintings), but still a highlight of the album. I also enjoyed hearing "It's Getting Better (Man!!)" again.

"Standing on the Shoulder of Giants": "Gas Panic!" a song about paranoia that I was surprised Noel was able to compose.

"The Masterplan": "Acquiesce" -- I love the way the brothers sing off one another in this song. They also nailed this song when they were on "Saturday Night Live" way back when.

I'm really looking forward to the show now that I've looked back at the boys' work. It will be interesting to see what the dynamic is with the new guitarist and bass player. And the latest material is solid, so it won't be excruciating to sit through new songs just to get to the old chestnuts.

Eileen said...

I totally agree with you about Don't Believe The Truth but I didn't know what I was missing since I just heard it yesterday. It truly does not suck and that's made me a little more excited to see their show.