Which Oasis album should be considered the greatest of all time?
Over the years Oasis have been one of the most polarising bands to come out of Britain, from their rise to fame during the glory of britpop to the their eventual break up. Still to this day fans clamour for one last show, but with each Gallagher brother feeling completely different about the idea, it looks like that won’t happening any time soon. So with that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at their albums and rank them in order of greatness (they’re not all great). This list does include The Masterplan, it had to.
8. Don’t Believe the Truth (2005)
Don’t Believe The Truth for me is undoubtedly the worst Oasis record of all time, the only track that really carries any weight on there is ‘The Importance of Being Idle’ and maybe ‘Lyla’ and ‘Let there be Love’, apart from that there isn’t really anything else on here. This album was released after a 3 year waiting period, and it was the last but one they ever released.
By now I feel a lot of their best music was behind them, and this shows it as nothing really gripped me on this release. It received mixed reviews with Q and Mojo giving it 4/5 stars each, however NME and Pitchfork gave it 6 or below. I think 5/10 would be a fair score for the album, considering what the band had already released prior to this. Also all of their albums have a lot to stand up to, and this one is barely on it’s knees.
7. Heathen Chemistry (2002)
This is another album which was saved by a few songs, as very few hit the mark with some of them just barely hanging in there. The star features of the album is ‘Little by Little’ and ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ which I would consider two of Oasis’ greatest songs. This also saw one of the first tracks written by Liam to be used in ‘Songbird’, a catchy little track lasting just over 2 minutes. A dark horse for me at least ‘Hung in a Bad Place’, personally just like the way Liam delivers the chorus.
It’s not like the album was made up of bad songs, but they mostly just passed by with no real impact. Songs like ‘Force of Nature’ , ‘She is Love’ and ‘Born on a Different Cloud’ all carried potential with the riffs but never lasted in the memory.
6. Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (2000)
This came at a time where Oasis were starting to try to crack America, which didn’t go down all that well on the whole. The record starts off so well with ‘Fuckin in the Bushes’ leading into ‘Go Let it Out’, two staples of most dream Oasis setlist. However it’s from here where the album takes a dip. ‘Who Feels Love’ takes the energy out the room and slows the entire pace down, and it didn’t need to happen yet and also the song wasn’t good enough to do that. ‘Put Yer Money Where Your Mouth Is’ and ‘Little James’ don’t really help either as both songs don’t match up to the ridiculously strong opening of the album.
Noel redeems himself later in the album with three tracks back to back pulling the album out of a whole in ‘Gas Panic’, ‘Where did it all go wrong?’ and ‘Sunday Morning Call’. Those three tracks are definite growers, and they’re great to play acoustically which is probably where my appreciation for them comes from. Nevertheless the album has some bright spots taking it from the bottom spot where it probably finds itself of most Oasis album rankings.
5. Be Here Now (1997)
Be Here Now was always going to be a difficult album to release after the monumental success and critical acclaim which Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story Morning Glory received. Overall Be Here Now didn’t do too bad of a job, regardless to what Noel may have said about it being released too soon. This is Oasis’ longest album, clocking just over 70 minutes (some may claim it’s Heathen Chemistry, but that had a 35 minute track which was mostly silent), and you feel it while your listening to it with four tracks lasting over 7 minutes.
Regardless to the length, it still comes out okay. ‘Stand by Me’ was one of the stand out songs of the album, peaking at number 2 in the UK, personally it’s not the best on the album. Tracks like ‘D’you Know What I Mean’ and ‘Don’t Go Away’ always felt like the stars on the album.
The album was recorded when the band were probably going through one of their worst drug-using stages and there were a lot of creative differences during recording. Regardless to this the album received 5 stars from Q and 8/10 from both NME and pitchfork. Personally I think 7-7.5 would be fair for the album, as it finds itself 5th in this list.
4. Dig Out Your Soul (2008)
Dig Out Your Soul was the final album Oasis would ever release, and it was released after the uninspiring Don’t believe the truth. This was a strong swan song for the band, which saw them deliver new and different, and where we probably heard the beginning of Noel’s solo career. ‘Waiting for the Rapture’ and ‘Falling Down’ both stand out as tracks which Noel could used on his solo releases and you wouldn’t tell the difference. ‘Falling Down’ is such an underrated Oasis song, from it’s simple melody and ear catching lyrics it really does deserve some attention. Also it’s a peach to play on the acoustic.
This album also saw another track penned by Liam which was probably his best to date back then in ‘I’m Outta Time’, a simple track with excellent vocal work, also featuring a sample from one of John Lennon’s final interviews. ‘Shock of Lightening’ is probably the key track on the album, as it explodes from the speakers and captures a sense of the old Oasis as we didn’t catch a whiff of it on Don’t believe the Truth. This album catches some bad flack, but it felt as if Oasis may have turned a corner with this album, and if they were to persist after this release, this album would’ve been looked at as the turning point.
3. The Masterplan (1998)
Some might argue with this, as some consider it a compilation album because it contains B sides which never made it onto an album. For me, it has original songs on which aren’t featured on any other album so, it’s a separate record. This holds some of Noel Gallagher’s finest work with ‘Talk Tonight’, ‘The Masterplan’ and ‘Half the World Away’ all featuring on this record. Lyrically, those songs alone would put this album near the top, however it’s accompanied with some other stand out songs. ‘Acquiesce’ is another staple of most of Oasis’ setlist, which opens the album up and completely sets the tone for the brilliance which ensues over the next 13 tracks.
‘Stay Young’ is another underrated Oasis songs with it’s bright guitars and upbeat rhythm, inspiring the youth to stay young and never change who you are. Also ‘(It’s Good) to be free’ is another track which doesn’t get too much credit, but listen to being performed live and I’m sure it would get anyone on board. We’re also treated to them performing a rougher version of ‘I am the Walrus’ which is night and day different to the original from The Beatles, which makes it so great.
This album potentially could have the topped this list, but it clearly didn’t have the impact the next two would have upon their release.
2. What’s the Story, Morning Glory? (1995)
This is the album which made Noel Gallagher a very rich man, after the bright spark of Definitely Maybe, I guess there were some questions as to whether or not Oasis could follow it up. This album responded as a resounding yes.
This is where the band could finally breathe slightly after finally releasing Definitely Maybe and truly finding their feet as group. They replaced Tony McCarroll with Alan White on drums as Noel felt that McCarroll wasn’t up to it, especially with the selection of songs he was about to lay on him. This was quite a big decision, because if they were to keep McCarroll, this album may not have been what it could’ve, and Oasis’ journey may have been somewhat different.
This album is more than just the record which has ‘Wonderwall’ on, I’d argue even if it didn’t feature ‘Wonderwall’ it would still be one of the best records to come from the UK. The obvious big hitters on the record are ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, ‘Morning Glory’ and the mind bending ending with ‘Champagne Supernova’, all three having legendary status at an Oasis gig.
Even the big hitters on the album hold their own, and in their own right are great songs like ‘Cast No Shadow’ , ‘Some Might Say’ and ‘Hey Now’. From start to finish I still enjoy listening to the record whenever I come back to it, they’re so accessible and to extent easy listening, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
1. Definitely Maybe (1994)
Definitely Maybe, the debut album from Oasis, the only album that could personally take this top spot. It’s their debut and it’s this good. It’s been said that after a long spell without any real great UK bands to capture the nation, this was the album to bring that band to the table, putting Oasis on the map and to house some of their greatest songs. Even after 20 years, this album is still revisited, and regarded as one of the greatest debuts of all time. Upon its release it received a multitude of critical acclaim and captured the number 1 spot in the UK album charts.
This album was released only 2 years after I was born so I can’t speak to how it changed the landscape of music or how refreshing it was when it was first released. But I know when I first listened to it, I was hooked. Opening with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, it set the table for a very raw album, it wasn’t polished and it was brimming with attitude a lot of 17-19 year old’s have.
‘Live Forever’ will always be considered as one of Oasis’ best songs, and rightfully so, musically it stands up and has one of my favourite solos on any track, simple and stunning. You also are confronted with ‘Supersonic‘, which is packed with nonsensical lyrics, but has one of the most memorable riffs attached to any song. Which is what Oasis are great at, they may not be the most likeable band, but they knew what stuck and what would stand the test of time.
There’s a bit of everything on the album which is another likeable feature of the record. From the acoustic tones of ‘Married with Children’, to the rock and roll stature of ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ or the subtle psychedelics with ‘Shakermaker’ or ‘Columbia’. The band ventures down many paths, but keeps the Oasis sound throughout all of them.
Well that’s my list, and how it all shapes up for me! Understandably this list won’t sit well with every Oasis fan, which is why I encourage you to make your list and share them with us to see what sort of lists other people come up with.
Music is one of the greatest forms of art, and debating over it is one of the aspects which make it so interesting, so, get involved!
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