Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't Look Back in Anger: A Tribute to Oasis (Pretty clever title, no?)

Yes, almost legendary britpop band Oasis broke up a few days ago. Led by the notoriously erratic Gallagher brothers, they rocketed to the top of the music world with their first two CDs, Definitely Maybe and (What's the Story) Morning Glory? in the mid 90s. When the Gallagher brothers weren't proclaiming they were the best thing since the Beatles or hoping that rival band Blur would "catch AIDS and die" they were usually fighting with each other and/or doing copious amounts of narcotics (listen to Be Here Now if you don't believe me). Their rampant fighting and self-indulgence caused them to release a steady stream of mediocre music the rest of their careers and finally led to their inevitable demise.

Oasis is a weird band for me. I've liked their music for a long time and think their first two albums are pretty spectacular, but they don't fit in as much with my current tastes since I became an indie rock hipster that is obsessed with female vocalists. Oasis wasn't original - in fact, a lot of their music could almost be considered plagiarism, such as the opening chords to "Don't Look back in Anger" which are ripped straight from "Imagine". Their lyrics often made no sense on any level. Both of the brothers were unmistakably enormous jerks who craved fame beyond anything.

I think what made Oasis great is that the band never tried to hide any of these facts. They didn't act like the lyrics to their songs were amazing or anything, and they were pretty up front about how much of their music was "borrowed" from The Beatles and other groups from the 60s. The brothers and the band had an over the top charm that made them extremely likable, even when they were saying horrible things to the media or smashing glass bottles over each others heads. They seemed like ordinary guys that just wanted to make fun music for people to listen to, and I think that is what got them so big in Britain and a little bit in the US.

There's also no denying how great some of their songs were. "Wonderwall" was a classic before every emo kid who picked up a guitar began playing it for his girlfriend. "Live Forever" will, well, live forever. "Don't Look Back in Anger" has one of the best sing-along choruses and an awesome guitar solo. "Champagne Supernova" is one of the anthems of the 90s, even with the incoherent lyrics. Oasis will certainly be remembered for these songs more than their squabbles and the crappy albums that followed them.

So even though their Wikipedia article reads like an entertaining episode of "Behind the Music", I think Oasis will be remembered for the right reasons. Of course, this probably isn't the end of the band forever, but they'll never come close to what they did on their first two albums. Then again, who will?

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