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Oasis – Be Here Now Review

Over an hour of gluttonous sounds is hard to overcome when Oasis wails away with a wall of sound. There are better places to be than Be Here Now, in their own discography and in the works of others around them. When the Cool Britannia party came to a close and everyone had to react to it and change tact, Oasis carried on as if there was no problem. Drinks and drugs and everything sweet were still knocking about, why change the flow? Be Here Now then lacks the growth of contemporaries and the discussions which could have been pulled from the post-high fallout are lost entirely. Instead, they turn their attention to noise pop, the infighting covered up by planes screeching overhead and blinkered machine noises. It is as close as Oasis got to interesting. 

Opener D’You Know What I Mean?, its same few acoustic chords and ballsy seven-minute overextension, is an overbearing horror show. It is loosely cobbled together, hoping to prise at whatever made the best Oasis songs click but adding layer after layer of noise. If it were not so unhinged, it would not be interesting. Be Here Now struggles with following up to two commercially defined albums but it is the fault of Gallagher and Gallagher hoping to stride through with a similar sound, instead of moving their style or image on. It appeals to the largest denomination because they did not want to move on either. In turn, the stagnant sounds are of the same interest as playing with leftover food. There it is, it might be alright, but it is hard to tell.  

Nothing particularly smart lyrically comes through as everyone blasts their noisy guitar riffs over some dire and empty lyrics. My Big Mouth in particular is a profoundly mindless song. Flying planes into open mouths and hoping to have those walking on by tying his shoes, Gallagher turns his obnoxious frontman persona, which charmed in its initial indifference, into something which tries too hard to sound as though he does not care. He clearly does, as he brags of the perceived hall of fame or attempts to bring himself back down to earth with The Girl in the Dirty Shirt. Neither works as it comes through as ingenuine as ever, highlight most of all by the ten-minute barbarism of All Around the World.  

When over excess hit the British music scene and saw Spice Girls spice up the lives of listeners, draping Union Jacks everywhere, it was up to those before it to mark a reaction. Oasis, comfortable in what they did before, try and push through with how they were perceived before the fallout. It does not work. At a time now, when artists are pressured more and more to reinvent or rediscover their sound and style, it is shocking to see Oasis given a free pass to do what Michael Jackson did with Earth Song. Liam and Noel, perceiving themselves as the rock Gods they briefly, and commercially were, prove they are no better than a radio single made for the passive listener. Flag it up next to Head Music, This is Hardcore and Tender, and Oasis begin to look like a very odd nostalgia pop, unable to accept their time in the spotlight was coming to a close. “Be here now,” they cry, because what lies ahead has no need for their style. It is why neither Gallagher brother performs much of their works after this live. Nobody clamours for Hung in a Bad Place, they wish for nostalgia. For the good times. Admirably or emptily, so too do Oasis.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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