Top positive review
28 people found this helpful
on 12 November 2002
With three albums under their belt, two of them generation-definers but the third a flabby ego-booster, it didn't seem like Oasis were going anywhere fast. Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants was a later indication of just that, but before that came about they took the time to release this gem.
Probably the most important fact is that most of this stuff is pre-Be Here Now, pre superstardom. Acquiese was written on a train, (It's Good) To Be Free during a bad tour. There's a raw edge to this, partially present in Definitely Maybe and absolutely absent in Be Here Now. It's what's good about the Gallaghers in the first place, sadly an essense now lost. They would do well to rediscover it, and it's surprising that, after The Masterplan, they still didn't.
But that's the future. As it is, the album has some of Oasis' best songs. Ever. Acquiese is heroic to put it simply - a Noel/Liam duet, and all the more memorable for it. Talk Tonight is an acoustic Oasis legend, and gems like Half The World Away are as yet unbearably unreleased (though it made it as the themetune for The Royle Family). The title track is a major curiosity. Packing more power than Wonderwall ever could, it's a deep, string-laden Whatever of a song, yet with Noel's best lyrics (trust him to put them in a B-Side) and a fantastic vocal. Frankly it's a mystery to the world why on earth he kept this masterpiece a B-Side.
Still, stuff like Underneath the Sky and Going Nowhere (fantastic lyrics and a great Baccarac tune, there) are no less sophisticated. Fade Away and Headshrinker are really, really raw Oasis. Fast, hummable, fantastic. The Swamp Song may only be a warmup song, but it feels like an essense rather than a song - a masterful wallop of a tune, stomping along from start to finish. We could perhaps do without the unnecessary influence reminder that is the I Am The Walrus cover... yes, we KNOW you love the beatles, but how about you carve out your own name for a change rather than plugging them... but all is made well again with decent tunes Listen Up and Rockin' Chair. (It's Good) To Be Free is one of the less happy moments of the album, but it's still an accomplished one. Stay Young is loathed by the band, but poppy or not it's well written and cheerful... and quite irresistable: "Hey, stay young and invincible."
This is distilled Oasis, the band at their truest and best. No egos have tainted it, no Wonderwalls have gotten too much in the way. It sounds like a bunch of guys making music, with or without the money. And it's times like that I wish Live Forever and Wonderwall had never occured - maybe then we'd get a career of Masterplan albums. Alas that wasn't to be, and they continued on with their "we're great, you're not" attitude to everything. Any self respecting fan should have this, as it will pretty much explain what it is you see in the band. Easily on a par with Definitely Maybe, this could well be the best they've done.