Oasis: Beyond Wonderwall
Oh boy, Be Here Now, talk about a decisive album. I’ll cut to the chase and say that I am a lover of Be Here Now and considering it to be one of my favourite albums of all time. The album cover symbolises the bombastic nature of the record, and it even narcissistically has the date of its release is on the cover. The title, on the other hand, represents the arrogant nature of Oasis at the time whether or not that was intentional; it’s like Oasis are instructing that you are going to be here now! If the first two albums were about trying to achieve your dreams, then Be Here Now was about living those dreams. The sound of a band high on coke and on top of the world, a real powerhouse of an album with everything turned up to 11.
Be Here Now is not Morning Glory. I don’t want Be Here Now to sound like Morning Glory, we had Morning Glory and now this is something different. Unlike the first two albums, the songs on Be Here Now don’t have as many hooks and are not instantly catchy; Be Here Now is a dirtier, meaner record. When I first listened to the album I didn’t instantly latch onto it and took me a few listens to grow on me, unlike the first two albums which were love on first listen.
The opening track D’You What I Mean? Is 7 minutes and 42 seconds long. Before the vocals even begin we get a minute comprised of helicopter and Morse code sound effects with the final minute of the song just being guitar feedback; that’s the levels of bombastic indulgence we’re talking about here. This song is not radio friendly yet it was the album’s lead single and went to number 1 on the UK charts; only Oasis had the clout to get a song like this to be a single Yet they still even outdone D’You What I Mean? with All Around the World, an epic all-devouring song which lasts for a whopping 9 and a half minutes, and it too was a UK number 1; the longest song in length to ever do so. It’s such a monstrous, epic song; a real celebration of everything Oasis had achieved up until that point.
I disagree with the notion that the B-sides from the Be Here Now era should have been included on the album. They’re great songs but they’re more reminiscent of Morning Glory and don’t match the over the top nature of Be Here Now. But aside from the over the top arena rockers of celebration (God knows just how many guitar tracks are on My Big Mouth and It’s Gettin’ Better Man!!), we do get two more downbeat, emotional songs in the form of Stand By Me and Don’t Go Away; the latter of which being one of Oasis’ biggest tearjerkers.
No band could make Be Here Now today, no one would have the clout to do so. But not Oasis back then; I can imagine a record label executive asking the band does All Around the World have to be 9 and a half minutes long, and them replying “Yes if f**king does!”. When was the last time a band made an album that had the same “we’re on top of the world” spirit as that of Be Here Now? I’ve never been a fan of the post-millennium music scene, and for me personally, 1997 is the last year in which there was a number of high profile album releases which I loved. The final sound effect on the album of a door shutting on the All Around the World Reprise signals the end of the Brit-pop era and the end of Oasis’ golden age.
Critics praised Be Here Now on its initial release, only later to detract their praises. The complete opposite to what happened to Morning Glory, which received mixed reviews on initial release and later went on to receive acclaim. Are people just conformist drones who listened to Oasis because it was the “cool” thing to do and backlashed against the band when Be Here Now turned out not to be another Morning Glory; or perhaps I’m just in a minority opinion who think this album is amazing? Who knows? Regardless, for me Definitely Maybe, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and Be Here Now will always be the holy trinity of Oasis albums. Be Here Now, I salute you!
Be Here Now Era B-Sides and Rarities
As I stated before, the b-sides for the Be Here Now were more reminiscent of the Morning Glory era. There are not as many b-sides during the Be Here Now era, but all of them were good. Throughout their entire 90’s output, there are only two Oasis songs I don’t like (Hey Now! and Be Here Now); the band almost literally had no filler. I wonder if the backlash Be Here Now received prevented the album’s fourth single Don’t Go Away (which ended up only getting released in Japan) from having any new songs. (I Got) The Fever is one of my absolute favourite Oasis songs; what a choon! While it’s not the most lyrically significant Oasis song, but it’s one seriously uplifting jam. The band’s cover of David Bowie’s Heros is also superb; you can’t top the original but this is a dam fine cover. Now when will the deluxe edition of Be Here Now be here now?