The Good: Really strong single, Some decent live tracks
The Bad: Repeats "I Am The Walrus," SHORT!
The Basics: With only one unique track, "Whatever" provides a great link for Oasis fans, but little to offer those who are not die-hards who already have The Masterplan.
"Whatever" has six tracks, so it's not as limited as it could be.
Released by Oasis between the studio albums Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory, "Whatever" is a precursor to the eventual album The Masterplan, which collected various b-sides from assorted singles Oasis released. "Whatever," the album, is the only place to get the single "Whatever," though. Astonishingly, Oasis has never put "Whatever" on any other albums, compilations, or singles. It is important to note that the other five tracks, "(It's Good) To Be Free," "Fade Away," "Listen Up," "Half The World Away," and "I Am The Walrus" (Live) appear on other singles by Oasis and all together on The Masterplan. For a more insightful analysis of them, please read my review of The Masterplan.
"Whatever" is a soaring anthem that rebelliously orders the listener to do what they see fit. The lyrics are decent, among the better that Noel created in this period, with a narrator declaring, "I'm free to be whatever I / Whatever I choose and I'll sing the blues if I want / I'm free to say whatever I Whatever I like, if it's wrong or right, it's all right . . ." The lyrics are good with the exception of the awkwardly assembled rhyme "Get on the bus, we'll cause no fuss . . ." Everything else in "Whatever" makes sense or asks coherent questions that are worthwhile and basically challenge the listener to free their mind of the shackles of conformity. Whatever.
Oddly, the track is semi-live. I call it semi-live because there are no indications it is not a studio track - with its use of guitars, violins and perfect-beat clapping - until the very last moments when suddenly there is an audience cheering the band. It pulls the listener out of the song in an unfortunate way.
Still, this is one of Liam's better vocal performances and he nails the song completely. His last lines, "Whatever you do, whatever you say / You know it's all right" are delivered with obvious passion.
And "Whatever" goes quite well with the other tracks on the disc. The songs are generally fast tempo and rocking up until the softer "Half The World Away" which would close the disc out well.
Except that it doesn't.
Instead, the listener gets the live rendition of "I Am The Walrus" that Oasis does so well. Here's the thing, as a fan of Oasis I just need to say "WE GET IT!" John and Paul (The Beatles) never did "I Am The Walrus" live. Oasis nailed it on one take and they insist on putting it on every single that they can. As a fan of Oasis it's hard not to get sick of this song because they put it on SO many of their recordings! Enough already, guys!
"Whatever" would be rated higher were it not for the presence of "I Am The Walrus," it's certainly a strong enough single to keep Oasis fans engaged and the tracks provide a good mix that reveal Oasis' talent and potential. It's a shame that "Whatever" only appears on this disc. It's enough to recommend to fans of Oasis, but those who are only casual fans of Oasis or who already have The Masterplan will likely not be able to justify the expense or effort (hunting down a copy of "Whatever" can sometimes take effort) of finding "Whatever."
It's hard not to say that "Whatever" is the best track ("Half The World Away" remains one of my personal favorite Oasis songs), but the low point is definitely the closing track, "I Am The Walrus (Live)."
For other Oasis works, please check out my reviews of:
(What's The Story?) Morning Glory
“Don’t Look Back In Anger” (single)
Be Here Now
Familiar To Millions
Don't Believe The Truth
Stop The Clocks
Dig Out Your Soul
For other music reviews, be sure to check out my Music Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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