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Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)

September 11, 2013

[Album 235/1001]220px-Oasis_-_(What's_The_Story)_Morning_Glory_album_cover

Long story short: Much like Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Morning Glory was a victim of its own success as both were inescapable in the mid-90s.  Impressively, the once-heavy radio rotation has done little long-term damage: both still sound fantastic, if not better, 18+ years later.

The not-so-short version:

Very few records boast such singalongability.  Almost every track on Morning Glory is seemingly arena-ready, all set for thousands to chant along with the chorus.  In an attempt to quantify, I’ve created the Oasis Anthem Index.  A visual aid:

Oasis Anthem Index

Without further ado/charts/graphs, here’s how the songs stack up almost two decades later, listed by (the dubiously calculated) AI score, from lowest to highest.

Untitled instrumentals (tracks 6 & 11), AI score [15]
Both brief tracks were appropriately left blank in the running order.  Neither adds nor subtracts from the proceedings.

Hey Now!, AI score [33]
The song’s verses have potential but it’s the one full length song that lacks a dynamite chorus.  It’s still perfectly acceptable material, just not quite ‘anthemic’ per se.

She’s Electric, AI score [45]
The AI score doesn’t necessarily indicate my preferences, more so how the songs have resonated with the masses over the years.  This one’s a hidden gem and, incidentally, my splendid wife’s favourite.  I think at the time I found She’s Electric’s ending somewhat derivative.  Now I see it as a nice homage to With a Little Help From My Friends.

Roll With It, AI score [50]
In hindsight, a surprising choice for the album’s second single (Wonderwall seems like it was almost an afterthought, released as single #4!).  This song’s claim to fame is being the Oasis entry in the “Battle of Britpop” against Blur’s Country HouseRoll With It peaked at #2 on the singles chart but history will remember it as a case of Roll With It losing the singles battle and Morning Glory winning the album war.

Some Might Say, AI score [56]
Released early in the year as a single and later included on the album.  Great melody & echoing vocal finish.  Bonus marks for its spectacular b-side, Acquiesce.

Hello, AI score [65]
No shortage of swagger to open the album.  “And it’s never gonna be the same” – stellar, if unfortunately prophetic, chorus.  Appropriate tone-setter and certainly not as creepy as Lionel Richie’s Hello video.

Cast No Shadow, AI score [75]
Just shy of timeless anthem territory, one of Liam’s best vocal performances.  Great harmonies & nice hints of some solid future acoustic numbers to come (Little By Little, Let There Be Love).

And then there are the undisputed anthems:

Morning Glory, AI score [80]
It’s saying something about the sheer magnitude of this album when its title track is only its fourth strongest anthem.  One of their heavier tunes and one of my favourites.

Don’t Look Back in Anger, AI score [90]
Many will point to the piano intro as being reminiscent of John Lennon’s Imagine.  The Imagine comparison is apt when it comes to song quality as well.  I’m a big fan of Noel’s vocals, his lone lead vocal track on Morning Glory.  On the underrated 2005 effort, Don’t Believe the Truth, his singing was featured more frequently and I was fully supportive.

Champagne Supernova, AI score [95]
A sprawling closer for the ages, a Paul Weller/Noel Gallagher duelling guitar feature to remember.  Though its success may have been a blessing and a curse.  However much I may enjoy this album’s follow-up, Be Here Now, it was undeniably bloated and I fear this tune may have been partially responsible for some of that neglected editing.

Wonderwall, AI score [99]
Not even close to my preferred Oasis tune but then again, how many Nirvana fans cite Smells Like Teen Spirit as their favourite?  Wonderwall’s durability is awe-inspiring, the cello is an inspired touch, and other groups have had big hits since with only slightly varied chord progressions & tempos.  A campfire classic if there ever was one, maybe even the biggest crowd-pleaser in recent memory.  “I said maybe.”

So if you thought Oasis was overplayed back in the day, you’re right.  It would be wrong however to disregard the brilliance of this era-defining record.

Very glad I revisited this one.

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From → 1990s

22 Comments
  1. You know what? I think your ranking of the songs has them in pretty much the right order. I might do some switching around myself (like putting Champagne Supernova with a 99 score) but that would be nitpicking. On the whole I think you nailed it.

    As a fan, the thing I really enjoyed about Oasis and this album was waiting for the next single, to get another batch of excellent B-sides. Many of them are better than the album tracks, an interesting way of doing things. But Noel always wanted to have excellent, memorable single B-sides like some of his favourite bands and I think with the first two albums, they actually put out 4 albums of solid classic music.

    • Thank you sir – and I would certainly not be offended if Champagne Supernova or any of the others were given a higher score!

      Absolutely re: the b-sides in the tradition of their heroes, I think The Smiths may have been a big role model there. I’m glad Noel had that same dedication to crafting great, essential double A sides, no throwaway tracks.

      I think Oasis was unfairly dismissed as a Beatles cover band – clearly they were fans but it’s not as if they tried to hide it either. It’s nice to see they’re showing Beatles-esque longevity though, the music’s aging well!

      • I always thought they were better than just some kind of cover band. They also had their snarky influences and lots of Stones too. But the main thing is that Noel could really write songs! The problem was they were so damn obnoxious in interviews that people didn’t care. They loved to hate.

      • For whatever reason, I gave Oasis a free pass – sometimes the personalities interfere with the music for me but with the Gallaghers it was always a case of, yeah they’re loudmouth jerks but…the songs, the songs!

  2. Emily permalink

    Great review of a classic album. Although I take umbrage with “Don’t Look Back in Anger” receiving a full 10 AI points more than “Morning Glory”. I’d like to have a look at your calculations.

    PS- Mellon Collie forever!!

    • I blame the Noel singing factor – it skewed the math somewhat (though it’s not a total loss if it results in using ‘umbrage’ in a sentence?)

      Post-script, agreed! Though I change my mind on a weekly basis as to whether I prefer siamese dream…

  3. My husband got me one of Oasis’ later albums as a stocking stuffer one year at xmas (“Don’t believe the truth” I think?). Yeah, I think I only liked one or two songs on it. Certainly not as strong as “What’s the Story…”

    • Agreed. With Oasis I stopped caring around that time. I go as far as 1997’s Be Here Now and then I lose interest. Be Here Now was a grower, took me around a year to like it.

      • There’s definitely a gap in my Oasis discography between be here now & don’t believe the truth. Though I was just listening to the 2nd Beady Eye album yesterday & was definitely enjoying it!

      • I’ve played it once and I was really underwhelmed. Unfortunately I have so much new music, that it hasn’t gained a second spin. Should I? I found it too mellow.

      • I only had the first half on – but it was while I was making dinner/cleaning up, so perhaps the mellowness worked well in that situation but maybe it wouldn’t have impressed if I had been giving it my undivided attention.

      • I owe it to the music (and the money I paid) to listen to it twice. I’ll give it another shot. When, I don’t know…I have several evening’s worth of listening ahead of me, considering today’s musical winnings!

      • Just saw the post – looks like a nice mix!

      • And that’s just what I got. That doesn’t Aaron’s discs! At least 20 for him…

  4. Yes! New fan here, but I think both the debut and this album are fantastic, glad to see you like the latter too. I usually take Oasis reviews with a grain of salt, as most are biased and full of preconceptions, be it either due to the hype or the Gallaghers’ public image. The “Beatles tribute band” tag is just ridiculous – I can only assume that people who believe that haven’t really listened to both bands. Oasis are certainly not an easy band to like nowadays (I wonder if opinions were that split among listeners in the mid 90’s as well).

    Anyway, I agree with mostly everything you wrote, except that I can’t stand Cast No Shadow at all. Also as a slight correction, Wonderwall was the album’s 3rd single (Morning Glory was never released as a single in UK). I agree on Noel’s voice, he sounds great on the timeless, bitter-sweet Don’t Look Back In Anger. But Liam’s voice is the one that truly peaks here…man, that attitude, that character, that confidence. Instantly recognizable. Truly unique. One of my all-time favourite lead singers. I’m assuming Definitely Maybe is also on your list, isn’t it? If so, looking forward to that.

    • Thanks Ovidiu – and Definitely maybe is most definitely on the list!
      That’s it for Oasis though – probably fair as the rest of the catalogue isn’t at the same level.

      Liam has no shortage of confidence, even his stage stance – I don’t know if he’s very good at making friends but he had a presence!

      I’ve always been partial to the way he sings ‘sun-sheee-ine’

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