Crash through the simple guitar chords and thick varnish of nostalgia, and what are listeners left with? Definitely Maybe, a cheeky lack of doubt coupled with an immediate insecurity. But the band behind it were far from insecure and their cocky presentation gives way to the double meaning of their debut album, one which could have struck through had it not been for better, interesting works elsewhere, of the time and beyond. At least boozy bucket hat nights on camping stools wearing Vans t-shirts are cheaper than Ticketmaster events. Cheaper still to sit down and listen to Definitely Maybe, borrow your younger brother’s vinyl now that he has moved on to listening to interesting music. Like André 3000 or Blur.
Music becomes who you associate it with, the time and place. Beyond the assimilation of culture and purpose comes Oasis and their allegedly stunning debut. A flabby entry with plenty of fat to trim off the edges of an otherwise decent cut. It is difficult to drum up much love for Digsy’s Dinner or album closer Married With Children, which feels closer to B-Sides at best. Sing through the nose, thoughts out the mouth, Oasis were never quite the lyrical masters but the mood created by Bonehead and Guigsy is the overshadowed glue which holds opener Rock ‘N’ Roll Star together. Bold approaches on this track make for crystal clear purpose, confidence in place of consistency. A fun track which exposes little of the Gallagher brother’s life and massages the image of them well. It is a shame they did not have more fun with the balance of image and person, especially compared to those who mastered it most. David Bowie blurred chart success and interesting artistic aesthetic.
Oasis follows what is of the time and at the time was Britishness. Blur did it, and some were pushed into it, but the broadness of Oasis is to their credit and the key to their shortcoming. Is it a fad? A need to have an image but no idea where to start? Plain toast music. Solidly mixed and loud but it never feels as though the duo could mount a lyrically inspired song, nothing which moves them closer to their intimate, honest contemporaries who dealt with heavy topics. When Oasis tried to do that, they were the equivalent of Michael Jackson’s Earth Song. Still, Shakermaker gets them close to their roots and as earnestly as can be. Not by much, but there they are in the council estate, used as a backdrop but not a source. Will Definitely Maybe live forever as the track would suggest? Yes. Like roaches following a nuclear blast, it will live on. Find a way to what you want to say, but avoid those Yellow Submarines on Supersonic. Artists can only hide behind their influences for so long.
But even the adamant deniers of their simple rock trickery would be hard-pressed to find someone better in the current era at dishing out the faux rockstar image than Oasis. It is not quite Royal Blood getting frustrated and antsy after the crowd in attendance of the BBC’s Big Weekend did not care for their small-time bank holiday styles. Oasis at least had heart and belief in what they did, how they achieved it and where they placed it. Appreciation and enjoyment are not the bedfellows they once were in their younger days, but that does not change the outpouring of slathering, volatile and blind love to a band whose best days shone far dimmer than their contemporaries. In some ways it is respectable, in others, it is blind adoration as poisonous as this which brings Kasabian to the top of the charts. Quality does not buy you a Rolls Royce and a jaded image which survives on through social media and Radio X appearances, but selling as many records as Oasis does.