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Oasis – What’s the Story, Morning Glory? Review

Well, if the story is not interesting, how can Oasis possibly give us their sweet takes on Morning Glory? Erection slang or pretty flowers, take your pick. It is one of two, as all Oasis tracks, at best, have a double meaning to them. Usually, though, they give it to you straight like pear cider made from the well-prophesied fruit. We can all make references to better artists or writers, as Oasis do here, constantly, with their adoration for The Beatles and The Kinks’ era of sound, not the sound itself, but the gusto of mega fandoms present throughout What’s the Story, Morning Glory?. Where Definitely Maybe may have charm riding along on its cobbled, classy streets where windows are put out and Liam Gallagher’s nasally voice sometimes clicks with charm, their follow-up has none of that. 

Distasteful and anthemic in equal measure as Oasis dumbs itself down even further to appeal to a broad laddish culture does not set them off on the wrong foot, it is maintaining this as unique which does. It is not, and the aptly titled Hello for What’s the Story, Morning Glory? opens with disengaged, expectant confidence. Bucket hats and flowing pints are all well and good, it means the music sounds smoother. Knock a can back to power through Roll With It and do just that. Roll with it. It is all that can be done for Oasis, whose solos at the end of Hello, decently observed and short to the point, lose their charm after a few listens. Longevity was never their strong suit, and neither were album tracks, such as Hey Now! and the gracefully short Swamp Song show. Nostalgia is a beast difficult to put out to pasture, and even then there are flickers of fun to be had on Don’t Look Back in Anger.  

Overplayed and overwrought, Wonderwall is still the same flickering influence on people impressed by two-chord acoustics. Is it impressive to pool major cash from such a simple and vacuous song? If you are the benefactor, absolutely. But beyond financial credibility, what is there to What’s the Story, Morning Glory?. An album which features Oasis’s worst lyrics, and there are plenty to select from. Still, Champagne Supernova has become a pub and club staple through scared osmosis rather than credible qualities, of which there are few. Hey Now! has all those simplistic and understandable lyrical hooks, the simple rhyming structure which makes words easy to learn and easier still to repeat back to the stage. Is it a pompous power trip or a genuine reveal? A bit of both, and by this stage the whining, limited appeal comes clear. Could they survive in another era? They do not need to, their out-of-proportion legacy covered up by basics of shiny fact.  

Cultural export here, commercial success there, longevity in the eyes of the broadest denomination is not a sign of artistic salvation nor a need to hold onto everything. Had it not been for boastful imagery and the chancers of the time, What’s the Story, Morning Glory? would fade as Kasabian and Catfish and the Bottlemen already have. Oasis is like Anne Parrish, the American novelist who chanced upon a childhood classic in a bookstore and found her name already scribbled in it. The Gallagher brothers appear continually shocked to see their records are still played, still yearned for by fans who have little chance of hearing a reformation, despite both knowing they can do it themselves anyway. It dominates their setlists enough, why bother now? What’s the story lads? 

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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