A brilliant study of Oasis' debut album, highlighting the band's massive cultural impact and the raw, positive power of those early songs.
Writing in Manchester in the years 1992-93, in a context in which the depression of social marginalisation was palliated by a culture of radical hedonism and belligerence, Noel Gallagher composed a series of songs that distilled the spirit of the age far better than the more usually celebrated Kurt Cobain. Gallagher's lyrics on Definitely Maybe offered a message of affirmation and hope that was couched in language of remarkable clarity and directness. As Gallagher would later put it, Cobain had everything, and was miserable about it. And we had fuck-all, and I still thought that getting up in the morning was the greatest fucking thing ever, because you didn't know where you'd end up at night.
In an era in which deconstructive cynicism was threatening the very existence of the counterculture and the mainstream Left, Oasis offered a radical, anomalous vision of positivity. And the fact this was indisputably a working-class vision founded in solidarity and fraternity was incredibly important. To a post-Thatcherite Britain that had just undergone the most debilitating period of social upheaval in a century, Gallagher ventriloquised slogans of burning communitarian optimism through the mouth of his brother Liam and the playing of the other Oasis everymen, Paul McGuigan, Paul Arthurs, and Tony McCarroll. The sheer elemental energy of Gallagher's idealism was breathtaking.
Alex Niven charts the astonishing rise of Oasis in 1993 and 1994 and celebrates the life-affirming, communal force of songs such as Live Forever, Supersonic, and Cigarettes & Alcohol, and in doing so, he seeks to reposition Oasis in relation to their Britpop peers.
About the Author
Alex Niven was a founding member of the Mercury Prize-nominated band Everything Everything. He is currently working on his PhD at Oxford University, and is the author of Folk Opposition (2011).
Series: 33 1/3
Number Of Pages: 144
Published: 3rd July 2014
Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
Dimensions (cm): 16.5 x 12.0 x 1.4
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 1