Being a latecomer to Oasis, I was 7 years old when this album was released and too young to remember their peak. Only catching my attention with their later works from 'Heathen Chemistry' and 'Don't Believe The Truth', I'd heard about this album. Critics and fans couldn't decide whether this was any good. Some thought it was absolutely brilliant, while others thought it was absolute codswollop. So, I bought it to make a decision myself.
It's not great, but it's not rubbish. It's very good infact. By comparing this album to other bands, it's still miles ahead of its rivals. Bands today such as Arctic Monkeys and God knows what other rubbish step forward Kaiser Chiefs) would dream of making an album like this. I mean that as well. Even the Red Hot Chilli Peppers would love to have this in their back catalogue.
But comparing it to Oasis' other work? That's another story. Doesn't come close to 'Definitely Maybe' or 'Morning Glory', and I still prefer 'Standing on the Shoulder of Giants' and 'Don't Believe the Truth'. I guess it's better than 'Heathen Chemistry' but not by much.
The thing is, it mixes some of their best work with some of their worst. The opener, 'D'You Know What I Mean' is terrific. With this as the opener, Oasis bash down the door with some force and prove a point to the world that they're back. The song is pure arrogance, and really emphasises the Gallagher's big ego's. It's a great rocker of a song. And then it after it, the album sort of slides away - no pun intended.
The over-production on the album is a big talking point. Sometimes, it just feels like noise. For example, on 'My Big Mouth', there's 30 layers of guitars on it, which is far too much I'm afraid. There's various other ones which are overproduced such as the pointless 'AATW Reprise' at the end, and the quite repetitive 'It's Getting Better (Man!!)', which is only saved by the fantastic guitar solo in the middle.
The length is another problem. Some songs justify their length, but others don't. 'Magic Pie' sounds great at the beginning. It's got great vocals from Noel and seems great at the beginning. But by the end of the 7 minutes or so, it's got to the point where I don't care about it. 'It's Getting Better (Man!!)' I mentioned before is repetitive because of the length. I don't know how many times the chorus is sang. It's not bad, but compared to their other work, it's not that good.
And when Oasis attempt psychedelia on this album, it comes up short. 'Fade In-Out's chorus sounds like a lethargic 'Go Let It Out' which is on the album after this one, 'Standing on the Shoulder of Giants'. That album however succeeds at psychedelia. This song merely sounds like a dress rehearsal for 'Standing'. It is just 'Go Let It Out' but without any energy and punch.
Surprisingly however, the best song on this album is the most over produced and the longest clocking in at almost 10 minutes. 'All Around The World' is one of Oasis' best song in my opinion. It's irresistable pop and once again takes The Beatles as a huge influence. The orchestras and harmonica give the song a lot of weight, and perhaps it could do with a little toning down on the production side, but don't underestimate the song. It's brilliant.
Songs such as 'Be Here Now','Girl In The Dirty Shirt', and 'I Hope I Think I Know' have quite catchy tunes, but the lyrics have a lot to be desired about - this Oasis album does with out a doubt have the worst lyrics on it.
However, 'Stand By Me' and 'Don't Go Away' are the sort of typical anthems we've come to expect from Oasis, and both songs are brilliant. 'Stand By Me' is the sort of song that would quite easily fit onto 'Morning Glory' and 'Don't Go Away' (Liam's vocals at the peak of its game) is the only 'weepy' on this album, which is a shame, because Oasis are the one of the best at doing tearjerker songs.
But that's no surprise it's the only emotional song on this. The band have just thrown everything at this album, and it's a frenzy of cocaine and chaos. You can tell straight away that this album was perhaps their egos getting the better of them. It's about a bunch of working class lads who are now rich and famous, and that fame probably made them lose their focus for this album. Nevertheless, it's a triumphant album. The worst songs on this are songs which would be highlights on a Kaiser Chiefs album and for any other band around today for that matter. It's certainly a debatable album, I suppose you have to listen to it yourself, but even today, this album is still one of the most controversial and talked about albums British music. And just for that, I would urge you to buy it now.