This is one of those songs that makes me wonder how different my life would have been had I heard it when I was younger. It was the B-side to “Roll With It,” the second single from their brilliant (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? album (read my most-read blog about it here), but I didn’t notice Oasis until the “Wonderwall” single came out a few months later. Oasis only performed “It’s Better People” twice back in the day, and I was not lucky enough to be there at either show. How was this song not included on the album? It’s really powerful.
I have been listening to it over and over for the past few days since I got the Morning Glory deluxe edition. As soon as the sound of Noel’s acoustic guitar strumming echoed out of my car speakers—which, by the way, is the ideal place to hear a song like this; don’t you dare try to listen to this through fucking ear buds!—I was astounded. What the hell was this song? It’s almost 20 years old by this point, but it sounds so fresh, and not just because it’s new to me. At the same time, it reminds me of The Beatles as their lyrics became deeper and more personal in the Rubber Soul and Revolver era. There’s a lot of hippie idealism in this song, but it’s just as much a love story as social commentary.
It’s better people love one another
‘Cause livin’ your life can be tough
It’s better people speak to each other
Your shame is not enough
If everybody came alive and stayed alive
and lived their lives instead, yeah
So come outside and feel the light
It’s cold inside but it’s lonely in your bed
In your bed
These words are timeless and completely relatable. As I’m writing this there is a lot of bad shit going down in the United States between the powerful and the disenfranchised. Protests, riots, workers demanding fair wages, marginalized communities fighting for equality and a chance to make it. Social media makes it easier to communicate and keep in touch, but it makes our society just as polarized as it makes us connected. We can say anything we want online, without respect for anyone’s feelings or the truth. Everyone has a voice, even those who use their voice to promote bigotry, violence, and just plain ignorance. It doesn’t always feel like we’re speaking to each other. Sometimes it’s just about people wanting to get attention for themselves, whatever the cost.
The line that sticks in my mind most is “it’s cold inside but it’s lonely in your bed.” It slays me every time. I keep thinking about the man I was dating last winter, and how he liked to keep his house cool to keep the heating bill under control. But he would always turn up the heat when I was over because he knew I loved it really warm. No matter what the temperature was in the rest of the house, it was always warm in that bed. My bed has been very lonely since he broke up with me, and I keep hoping that he thinks of me once in a while when he’s alone in that bed of his.
You thought we might be
but what you heard before
was only sleeping in your brain
But if you came with me
the days would never end
would never be the same
I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way before, but “It’s Better People” makes me want to sing a duet with Noel! I am not a singer, but I think this is such a simple yet formidable song that it would be great as a duet. I want to sit down with Noel, just the two of us hanging out at home, chatting about music, and listen to him play this song for me. His voice is so beautiful, so stirring and mighty, that I just want to be next to it. Maybe if we sang together I’d learn something, maybe I’d gain some knowledge, spiritual or otherwise, that would help me. I know it would change me. He knows what a fucking superb songwriter he is. I just want him to know how much he has impacted my life.