This is the first Oasis album I owned. I came across the “Wonderwall” video one day back in 1995 and just loved the look of it, plus the song was super catchy. I had never heard of this band before, but suddenly they were the biggest band in the world. The British music magazines I read always had Liam and Noel on their covers, and I was totally hooked on their music. I didn’t know anything about them, but their Beatles obsession was obvious. And that was okay with me.
I’ve written before about how their music always seems hopeful, and that is really clear on this album. It’s really kick-ass and positive and fun, but not cheesy or ridiculous. “Roll With It” has a great message:
You gotta roll with it
You gotta take your time
You gotta say what you say
Don’t let anybody get in your way
‘Cause it’s all too much for me to take
Don’t ever stand aside
Don’t ever be denied
You wanna be who you’d be
If you’re coming with me
When I first heard these words I don’t think I looked at them as I do now, but I must have gotten something out of them. I was 22 and not yet filled to the limit with drama, but I was on my way. The booze helped. The gay best friend with whom I was in love helped, too. My boredom helped. Oasis meant a lot to me, and I wonder if the message I got from it then is anything like what it is now. I was not as good at interpreting and analyzing things as I am now, and I was just 22 so I had no life experience whatsoever to refer to. I just dug the shit out of Oasis because their music was awesome. And that should be enough.
But being the analytical type, it is not enough now. I really enjoy music, but I do look at the social, cultural, historical, and personal contexts out of which it grows. I love to figure out why I like what I like when I like it (hence, this blog). And Oasis is a great path to understanding my evolution as a music fan and as a person.
So I was working in a grocery store bakery when this album came out. There was plenty of drama in my life then, but it was not as bad as it would get a few years later. My gay BFF and I had ongoing relationship messiness, starting with the fact that he is gay. Yeah, that might be a problem if I want to be with him. But I looked at that as a minor obstacle, and he acted like he did as well. And then he started dating someone. Someone I had to approach on his behalf. While I had laryngitis. That would become a metaphor for the next few years of our relationship.
You need a little time to wake up, wake up
My BFF and I spent all of our free time together, until this guy came along. Then they were attached at the hip, and I was told that I had to hang out with both of them if I wanted to spend time with my friend. I did not get along with his boyfriend (his first ever boyfriend), but not just because I was jealous. My BFF never said anything nice about this guy, so how could I accept him? How could I like him at all if my friend seemed to barely like him? He was everything my friend said he did not want in a man: he was really flaming, he worked a bunch of stereotypical gay jobs (hairstylist, dance instructor, wig salesman), and he was really scrawny and phony. That’s what I knew about him, just that stuff, and the fact that he did not know how to buy the right gifts for my friend.
Not only that, but my BFF went on and on about how wonderful I was, how funny and smart and cool, how attractive and thoughtful, how I always knew exactly what kinds of things to buy him. So why aren’t you with me? I would ask him in my head. We definitely had an attraction to each other, but nothing ever happened aside from some innocent show and tell one night in his bedroom at his parents’ house. We did weird things like set dates for when we would kiss for the first time, but by the time that date rolled around he was already messing around with this dude.
And that’s when I started drinking.
‘Cos people believe that they’re
Gonna get away for the summer
But you and I, we live and die
The world’s still spinning round
We don’t know why?
Why? Why? Why? Why?
Even though there was some rough shit going on for me at the time, I felt happy with Oasis. Their songs could exaggerate my depression while uplifting me at the same time. That’s amazing. They have a few sort of playfully hateful love songs in their catalogue, and I love that. Anything that makes me feel when I am really down or really up is a blessing.
“She’s Electric” is one of my favourite songs on this album, mainly because of the way Liam sings the lyrics so precisely. I love his voice, so raspy and distinctive. Noel has a beautiful, smooth voice. They are both brilliant singers. This song starts out with a little “Good Day, Sunshine” tribute. The way he says electric, eccentrics, and expected—get the hell outta town! That shit rules!
When I was listening to Oasis in those years I was also starting to get schooled in the history of punk, which I think was inspired by the PBS rock history series that aired in 1995. I was always interested in different types of music, but that series really opened my eyes to punk in particular. That was a time in my life when I was hungry for rebellion and action and creativity, in whatever forms they may have taken. Oasis had a great big sound, their music was catchy, their lyrics funny and serious and inspiring. They were helpful to me as I went through the bullshit lots of people go through in their early twenties. When I discovered Foo Fighters I was heavily into Oasis; my first Foo concert happened about two months after my first Oasis concert. Until I started writing these Oasis essays I had forgotten how completely devoted I was to them in the pre-Foo years. It has been a great walk down memory lane to listen to so much Oasis again. It had been quite some time since I sat down with them. I am so glad I decided to write this stuff. I am really getting excited about their music again.
And I want you to know
I’ve got my mind made up now
But I need more time