The Good: A perfect album! Amazing lyrics, sprawling anthems!
The Bad: Not a one!
The Basics: Buy Be Here Now and listen to it often! This is a magical rock experience!
Despite the public flack Oasis took for their massive third album, Oasis produces and Be Here Now proves just how much they rock! That's not a statement of fan fervor - though I am such a fan that it is almost a surprise that I have not yet posted any reviews of Oasis works, save the singles "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back In Anger" - but rather an acknowledgment that this is an album that defines rock and roll and all it is able to be. Be Here Now is a diverse musical experience that proves rock is still alive and there are still innovations to be had in the whole genre. Even years later, the music on this album is still ground breaking and original.
Each single is soaring and the whole album is cohesive, well organized and grand. One of the nice aspects of this album is its length. With twelve tracks, this album comes in with over an hour of music. And none of it is silence (unlike Oasis' later outings, like Heathen Chemistry.).
The album begins with the anthemic "D'You Know What I Mean?," soars up through "The Girl In the Dirty Shirt" and eases into an amazing coda with the amazing "All Around the World." What I mean by "anthemic" is that each song has a big sound to it, there's a full orchestra sound to much of the album, what you might expect to define the sound of a grand experience. The lyrics are similarly longer and more involved than most music that one is accustomed to hearing on the radio. Despite the huge nature of each of the songs, Oasis achieves an impressive emotional and thematic range from the pleading "Don't Go Away" to the rocking "My Big Mouth" the album has it all.
The magic of the album is that it truly does have it all. The songs range in sound and theme from up tempo, playful songs, such as "My Big Mouth," which laments the consequences of a dysfunctional relationship with irony, to teary-eyed ballads of loneliness and loss, like "Don't Go Away." The lyrics are intelligent and the diction is sharp. The songs do not degenerate into the most obvious rhyme schemes which is a nice change from the garbage we hear on the radio.
The Gallagher Brothers - the foundation of Oasis - are intelligent and bring that to this album. It is not petty, teen-approved music. This is rock for people with emotions and intelligence. For example, in a song about the nature of attraction and desire, Oasis sings "You got a feeling inside / It just won't let you go / Life is sneaking up on you / It just won't let you go." ("The Girl In the Dirty Shirt") Anyone who has had any genuine experiences interacting with others will find something on this album to enjoy.
Even the packaging is cool. (And if you have a chance to catch the video for "Don't Go Away," you're in for a treat if you're a fan of Belgium surrealist painter Rene Magritte!)
Oasis is a rock band consisting of five men, which is a refreshing change from the airbrushed, over produced boy bands that plague our radio stations these days. Substituting a good look with an intense sound, Oasis is moved by guitars. But their musical talents do not end with the various guitars they use. The drums are well balanced, never overbearing the pieces on Be Here Now. The keyboards and pianos that create evocative moods are supplemented by such instruments as the french horn on "Don't Go Away."
The immediate reaction to the album is that it is too big, but the operatic nature of the work is actually its saving grace. It is big, bold and it doesn't quit. Every song is as good or better than the last! It's a rare thing for an album to have that quality where each track gets better and better. There is no album in my collection that I find myself humming so many songs from as this one (in fact, I can't think of a track I haven't found myself humming at one point or another!).
The strongest songs are "Don't Go Away" and "All Around the World." "Fade In-Out" is the least strong track, though not truly a weak link. Big, powerful and anthemic. It doesn't get better than this! This album is accessible by all people who like music, especially rock and roll.
For other male-domninated bands' works, please check out my reviews of:
Greatest Hits - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Forty Licks - The Rolling Stones
Rock Spectacle - Barenaked Ladies
For other music reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission
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