Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Flynndie Reviews: #47 Oasis - Definitely Maybe (Re-mastered)

Written 20th May 2014

Oasis – Definitely Maybe (Re-mastered)

The Band: Liam Gallagher (lead vocals), Noel Gallagher (lead guitar/backing vocals), Paul 'Bonehead' Authurs (rhythm guitar), Paul McGuigan (bass), Tony McCarroll (drums)

“It’s about getting a bottle of cider with your mates, sticking on a Beatles album, talking shite, puking up, meeting strange girls and maybe having sex.  It’s about escaping.” – Noel Gallagher, 1994

This week saw the release of a re-mastered, deluxe edition of the seminal Oasis record ‘Definitely Maybe’ to mark the 20th anniversary of the Manchester band’s debut album.  The deluxe edition features a rather smart, hard-bound booklet with some great early images of the band in their prime younger days and features the 3-disc collection:

Disc 1 – Definitely Maybe (re-mastered)
Disc 2 – Definitely Maybe singles b-sides
Disc 3 – Live tracks and demos

Definitely Maybe

1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
2. Shakermaker
3. Live Forever
4. Up in the Sky
5. Columbia
6. Supersonic
7. Bring It On Down
8. Cigarettes & Alcohol
9. Digsy’s Dinner
10. Slide Away
11. Married with Children

As soon as the opening guitar solo of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ hits, you instantly realise that this album still remains a timeless classic and sounds as great now as it did back in ’94.  Liam in the past has suggested that this opening track is “the most arrogant song ever; to be playing that in-front of two people in The Boardwalk, those were the days” and he makes no bones about it as he sneers “Toniiiiight, I’m a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”.  ‘Shakermaker’ was a much more stripped-down, psychedelic number for early Oasis laced with trippy lines “Mr Sifter sells me songs when I was just sixteen/Now he stops at traffic lights but only when they're green”.

However it’s third track and third single ‘Live Forever’ which made people sit up and take notice that there was something special about this cocky, swaggering 5-piece from Manchester as despite being so early in his musical career Noel penned a modern masterpiece with one of Liam’s best early vocals and without question this track remains a timeless classic.  With an upbeat, buzzing riff ‘Up in the Sky’ sees Oasis at their effortless-cool here, calling the shots as they see it while sticking two-fingers up to the authority figures of the establishment “You need assistance with the things that you have never ever seen/It’s just a case of never breathing out before you breath it in” before ‘Columbia’ takes us on Noel’s over-indulgent, acid-trip through guitar-heavy psychedelia and sees Liam remaining on snarling, nasal over-drive with this no-nonsense raw track. 

It’s perhaps midway through the album when Oasis unearthed their jewel in the crown, with a firm live and fan-favourite ‘Supersonic’ still riding high on the crest of a wave of alcohol and drugs and the opening one line that immediately summed up what the band were all about “I need to be myself/I can’t be no-one else!”  Simple but never more directly to the point.  ‘Bring It On Down’ saw the band at their most raw expansive sound on the record with thunderous drumming and driven, duelling guitars from Noel and Bonehead like there was no tomorrow, before we had the cool, free-for-all that was ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ which smartly “borrowed” the main guitar-riff from T-Rex’s ‘Get It On’ and became another famous anthem for the band with many imitating Liam’s infamous “You could wait for a lifetime/To spend your days in the sunshiiiiiine” vocals.

‘Digsy’s Dinner’ was another jolly, upbeat number featuring some of Noel’s more funny and light-hearted lyrics “What a life it would be/If you could come to mine for tea/I’ll pick you up at half-past three/We’ll have lasaaaange”, before we had the brilliant and tender rare early Oasis ballad in the form of ‘Slide Away’ another triumphant moment on the record: “Slide Away/And give it all you’ve got/You’re mine today/Fell in from the top/I dream of you and all the things you say/But I wonder where you are now?”  Beautiful.  ‘Married with Children’ closed the album and was initially considered to be a throw-away tongue-in-cheek track but there is still no question that this is actually a good song and showed the stripped-down more charming-side of Oasis buried under their fierce rock ‘n’ roll armoury.

Disc 2 of this package featuring the b-sides of the Definitely Maybe singles is where this collection unearths some real Oasis gems.  Early demo’s such as ‘I Will Believe’ and ‘Alive’ show the band at their early effortless raw live sound, while acoustic numbers ‘Sad Song’, ‘D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman?’ and ‘Half the World Away’ showed subtle hints of what were bigger things to come from Noel while armed with an acoustic guitar.  Throw in tracks such as the baggy ‘Cloudburst’ to the more instant rock ‘n’ roll ‘Fade Away’ and ‘(It’s Good) To Be Free’, then the simply brilliant ‘Listen Up’ and it’s staggering to think Noel was simply pissing-out these tracks with such ease yet only deeming them good enough as b-sides at the time!  Finally throw in a third disc featuring some early rare, no-nonsense live performances when Oasis were truly hungry for it to fully round of this collection and this all adds to a great little nostalgic package of the sound of ‘94 and which in my opinion is still an essential collection for any discerning, die-hard Oasis fan of today.  

Feeling Supersonic

Track 1 ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ live from Southend Pavilion 17/04/1995

Track 6 ‘Supersonic’ – Oasis TV debut live for The Word 18/03/1994

Bonus Track ‘Sad Song’ live from Southend Pavilion 17/04/1995

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