Special thanks goes to Dan Kaplan, from Horns Up – A Weekly Metal Podcast, for stepping out of his wheel house to provide us an Oasis crash course. We hope you enjoy Dan’s piece and visit Horns Up.
Wonderwall. Champagne Supernova. Live Forever.
Ask most American music listeners if they know any Oasis, and they’ll most likely name some combination of these three songs. That, or they’ll ignore the topic of the band’s music and instead start a discussion of how its central figures, brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, famously and repeatedly clashed with each other over the years.
It’s the polar opposite of the band’s enduring popularity in their native United Kingdom. Where every single album of theirs has topped the charts. Where they had 23 Top 10-charting singles, including eight that hit No. 1. Where their popularity hit such dizzying levels that even a 14-minute recording of the Gallaghers arguing during an interview could register on the charts. (“Wibbling Rivalry,” which hit No. 52!)
All of this is to say: there’s a lot that people are missing out on when it comes to Oasis. But the following two playlists should help right that ship. The first covers album tracks, while the second focuses on b-sides and “others.” (Oh yeah, that’s another thing that’s often forgotten here across the pond: Oasis had some killer b-sides, many of which became live-show staples over the years.)
So let’s get into it, shall we?
A couple of ground rules with this list, before we begin:
• First, none of the three signature tracks above are included. There’s simply no point in featuring three songs everyone knows on a list that’s meant to open people’s eyes to something new.
• Secondly, the list contains at least one song from each of Oasis’ seven studio albums. (Yes, even Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.) How else could one demonstrate the sonic evolution the band underwent throughout its career?
Now that we’ve covered that, what exactly do we have here?
Lots of different things, frankly. We’ve got peak-era Britpop, but we’ve also got some psychedelia. We’ve got pure, unbridled joy, as well as gloomy introspection. There are rockers, but there are also love songs. There’s one song that took part in the infamous “Battle of Britpop” chart war with Oasis’ bitter rivals, Blur. There’s one of the few songs from the band’s overblown third album, Be Here Now, that they managed to keep less than six minutes long. There’s an absolute foot-stomper of a tune from the oft-forgotten Heathen Chemistry album that might just be the most underrated song in the band’s entire catalog. And then there’s a song that proved that, even after losing themselves in excess and late-period-Beatles imitation, Oasis could still write the hell out of a pop song.
These descriptions haven’t been ordered chronologically, but the songs in the playlist have. Give ’em a listen and see if you can match them up. (And also, you know…marvel at all of the songwriting glory on display. Priorities, folks.)
Oasis – Crash Course (Album Tracks)
B-SIDES / OTHERS
Oddly enough, the list of non-album tracks might actually paint a better picture of Oasis than the main list—at least in terms of describing the ins and outs of their history. “Step Out,” for example, ranks as one of the more notable cases of alleged plagiarism against Noel Gallagher, of which there were many. Initially slated for inclusion on (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the song ended up being removed at the last minute for its striking similarity to Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright).” We’ve also got some songs that draw from the Gallaghers’ volatile relationship with each other: “Talk Tonight” was Noel’s response to a bust-up that nearly led to him quitting the band, while “Acquiesce” captures a rare moment of vocal collaboration between the brothers. (One of just four in the band’s entire catalogue to feature both on lead.) There’s also “Noel’s Track,” from the aforementioned “Wibbling Rivalry” single—not even remotely a “song,” but rather an uproarious, obscenity-laced exchange that should be required listening for any budding Oasis scholar.
And in between? Six more of the kind of catchy, uplifting anthems most songwriters would have to make Faustian bargains to happen upon. Unlike the Album Tracks playlist, these aren’t ordered chronologically; in this list, it’s all about flow. So sit back, take them in, and welcome yourself aboard the Oasis bandwagon.
Oasis – Crash Course (B-Sides)