Remembering a classic: Oasis 'Definitely Maybe'

The burgeoning of a great British superpower and a sibling relationship like no other - Shaun Gray revisits Oasis' seminal debut 'Definitely Maybe'.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 10th Dec 2018.
Originally published: 11th Dec 2015

Image: Oasis 

When you think of Manchester, you tend to think of football - Manchester United and Manchester City. Delving deeper into the support of the latter and you come across a couple of lads, Liam and Noel Gallagher who were a part of one of the most successful Britpop bands of the 1990s.

Oasis made themselves known to the world with their launch of Definitely Maybe in August 1994. An album that has to this day matured like a fine wine yet is still seamlessly glamourized in nineties nostalgia. 

Prior to Definitely Maybe’s release, Blur record Parklife came out in the April. A close proximity between the bands that pioneered Britpop. The debate still carries on to this day, Oasis or Blur? Choosing between the two is akin to picking between Biggie and 2Pac; they both excelled in their own way, but the topic still divides opinion. 

On the flip-side, Oasis and Blur was more of a press feud than a lyrical slanging match like Biggie and 2Pac had. The bands let their music do the talking and listeners gobbled it up because it was fresh and exciting.

Manchester’s music scene hadn’t heard anything quite like it since The Stone Roses emerged in the late eighties. 'Columbia’s' drawn-out opening particularly seemed to draw inspiration from Ian Brown and co. 

Liam Gallagher’s sheer swagger on vocals was tantalising across the field. As a collective, they seemingly had the guile and arrogance to free-flow tracks authoritatively with a sense of belonging at the top. The opening track 'Rock ‘n’ Roll Star' kicked off that flavour, a declaration of how they wanted to be perceived from the get-go.

'Live Forever' was also poignant to the time of the release; Noel Gallagher stated although it was not his intentions to write the song in direct retaliation to Nirvana's 'I Hate Myself and Want to Die’, it juxtaposed the attitudes that songwriter Noel and Kurt Cobain had during the time period.

Coincidentally, grunge was a genre of music that was thriving in the UK charts; Oasis’ conception was seen as the toppling of that trend set by Nirvana and various traders of the 'Seattle sound'.

'Cigarettes and Alcohol', along with 'Live Forever' (listen to their '94 Glastonbury performance of the song below) were top ten chart hits in the UK. The former reached number seven. Only 'Whatever', released as a standalone single between this and sophomore effort (What’s the Story) Morning Glory, charted higher than 'Cigarettes and Alcohol' at number three.

Arguably one of Oasis’ most underrated tracks, 'Slide Away' is etched into the debut's liner notes. Said to be Paul McCartney’s favourite track by the band, the song is the only real love song of the bunch.

It would be surprising that they didn’t include more, especially if you listened to the album backwards as 'Slide Away' is executed exceptionally well. Although that enhances the value of it, it is a masterpiece.

Not many albums offer such a selection of tracks that make you want to consume them all in one go but 'Definitely Maybe' is a breath of fresh air that still leaves you gasping for more.

Despite Liam and Noel going their separate ways in 2009 with the latter having his own band in his High Flying Birds; rumours circulated of a reunion tour earlier this year. If the pair were to reconcile their differences, it would certainly replicate if not surpass the euphoria surrounding The Stone Roses’ recent tour dates.

With those scheduled to kick-off in June at the Etihad Stadium, it would be rude for Oasis not to follow suit soon and give their adoring fans what they want.

Into this? Try Throwback Thursday: Arctic Monkeys 'Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not'

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