Let me say right off the bat, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? is is a cultural landmark. Not because of what it is necessarily, but because of what it represents. Today the Oasis album celebrates 25 years.
Setting the scene
When it was released, it received some pretty sniffy reviews. All based on it’s perceived inferiority to the predecessor, Definitely Maybe. Critics complained of “banal lyrics” and the album being “generic classic rock”. Nonetheless, it marks a time of change in attitude here in the UK. Emerging from a period of economic recession and into a new era under New Labour. Premier League football was an exciting new ball game. Before it became the all-conquering financial juggernaut of today. Also, we were in thrall to some brilliant TV – Shooting Stars, Father Ted and The Fast Show to name a few.
It’s when the dominance of American rock bands was on the wane after the rawness & introspection of the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam & Soundgarden. So it reminds us here of a time of resurgence for British music, renewed and full of fun, attitude & innocence.
25 years ago Oasis were the standard-bearers for a lot of that fun, attitude & innocence. Without question, they were a conduit for people to rediscover some of the great British bands of the 60’s, which is no bad thing.
The Gallagher brothers overtly oozed bravado & attitude in a way none of their contemporaries did. The likes of Jarvis Cocker & Brett Anderson wore their coolness in a more understated way. Most importantly, Noel had the ability to write some fantastic pop songs.
To me, Oasis are so special that the day ‘Be Here Now’ came out was also the day of my school results. I was more concerned with getting to the shop that morning to buy the new album than I was about getting to school to get my grades.
25 years ago the Oasis classic (What’s The Story) Morning Glory was the first album I learnt word for word. It was because of the entire Britpop scene and BBC Radio playing Oasis, Blur, Pulp et al every morning, that I decided that my career of choice was in radio. 25 years on, having spent the vast majority of that period as a professional radio presenter & DJ, I still love it.
But, has the intervening 25 years changed our perspective of the songs on the album. Let’s revisit and rank them to see which ones truly provide the ‘Glory’ in 2020?
11. Hey Now
Probably the only song on the album that you could genuinely argue is filler.
Hey Now is a plodding, MOR tune. It’s overly long at nearly 6 minutes which is a sign of things to come on the much maligned (unfairly in my opinion) Be Here Now. And more so what is undoubtedly the low point of Oasis’ canon, Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants.
It’s not a bad song by any means but is nowhere near the quality of the rest of the album.
10. Swamp Song
This is only at No.10 because they didn’t put the whole song on the album. In fact, it’s not even named on the sleeve.
The full version was only deemed good enough for the magnificent collection of B-Sides that was The Masterplan. It also featured on the Wonderwall single.
If the full version had been included, this would definitely have been one of the best tracks on the album.
It’s synonymous with the iconic gigs at Manchester City’s Maine Road in April 1996, with the new Kippax stand looming over a band at the peak of their powers.
These concerts were documented in the ‘There & Then’ concert video. It included a live version of The Swamp Song, that they opened with each night, on the accompanying CD.
The Swamp Song is also something that Blur & Oasis have in common as Blur released a song with the same name on ‘13’.
This is a really strong album opener. But the mists of time have made the use of a Gary Glitter sample highly unfortunate. The connotations of that refrain are deeply uncomfortable, which undercuts what is a great marker to indicate how good the rest of the album is. I’m sure that in the much-desired event of an Oasis reunion that the lyrics for this would sit atop The Swamp Song beautifully if they chose to include it in their set.
8. Roll With It
Enshrined in pop music folklore as the song that went toe-to-toe with Blur’s ‘Country House’ in the UK, and lost. In the Teutonic battle to be Britpop’s supposed kings by getting to No.1 in August of 1995, but other than that, what is memorable about Roll With It? Not a lot really.
Noel Gallagher himself even said the song was “sh*t” in an interview with Dermot O’Leary last year. It’s not a song that’s aged well, and after the initial riff, it kind of bumbles along.
Looking back on that battle for the chart top spot now, it’s pretty easy to see why Blur won it. Not least because of the superior video, which featured a Shooting Stars-era Matt Lucas & Keith Allen, amongst others. That said, Blur may have won the battle but, by their own admission, lost the Britpop war to the bolshy Mancunians.
7. Don’t Look Back in Anger
I know this is won’t be popular but Don’t Look Back In Anger is a blatant pastiche of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.
By the standard of the rest of Noel Gallagher’s songwriting canon, there are many songs that are far better musically than this one.
Don’t misunderstand, I love singing along to this as much as anyone. I’ve lost count of the number of DJ gigs I’ve finished by playing this. But it’s now so firmly established as almost the default Oasis song to play, it almost borders on cliche. In short, overkill & overuse has ruined this song after 25 years.
6. Morning Glory
The start of the final 3-song salvo of the album, as it flows into the reprise of The Swamp Song & on into Champagne Supernova.
Those last 3 songs complement each other beautifully and the title track stands alone. Just as Oasis letting rip in a way they didn’t really do elsewhere on the album.
Thanks to some class guitar work from Bonehead and some thunderous drumming from the then newly hired Alan White. This is Oasis at one of their more visceral moments. Producer Owen Morris helped the elements meld together to create an absolute belter of a tune.
5. She’s Electric
It’s a guitar-pop classic, an unashamedly catchy & uplifting tune that, despite only being an album track in the UK, it’s an Oasis song I can comfortably play at gigs without any risk of quizzical looks from punters asking “What the hell is this?”. In fact, you can almost see the relief on their faces when I don’t pay Wonderwall or Don’t Look Back In Anger.
4. Some Might Say
The bridge between ‘Definitely Maybe’ and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory. It’s the only track on the album that original drummer Tony McCaroll played on.
It’s the song that retains the raw energy of Oasis’ debut album, yet shows the development of Noel’s songwriting.
It was their first UK No.1 single, and if you bought the single, you were also treated to two outstanding B-sides in Acquiesce & Talk Tonight. It was a sign of the chart dominance of Oasis that was to come over the next couple of years.
3. Cast No Shadow
Oasis, unlike some of their contemporaries such as Manic Street Preachers, weren’t generally known for their lyrical depth. There were some notable exceptions in the back catalogue. Look at Live Forever, Whatever, Talk Tonight & Champagne Supernova for example.
Cast No Shadow was a heartfelt love letter to The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft. The man who, for a while at least, took on the mantle of Britpop’s standard-bearer when ‘Urban Hymns’ was released to such rightful acclaim in 1997.
25 years on, this song not only holds up from the time, but has actually improved with age, and is one of the best songs Oasis ever produced.
Quite simply, an era-defining song. An absolutely monstrous anthem for anyone under the age of 50.
Wonderwall is one of the great anomalies of UK chart history that it was held off the No.1 spot by Robson & Jerome, remember them? Jerome played Bronn in Game of Thrones if that helps.
Even if you hate Oasis, you have to respect this song as a timeless classic, and it is their biggest selling single in the UK, clocking up over 1.3million sales. Even Alex James of Oasis arch-rivals Blur has admitted that he wished that he’d wrote it.
You may not have realised it yet, but you do know all the words to this as somewhere deep within your psyche they’re lying, possibly dormant. You may never have sung it before but, maybe, today is gonna be the day…
1. Champagne Supernova
They saved the best for last.
A sprawling, uplifting, majestic, 7 and a half minute epic. Not only the best song on WTSMG, but it’s also a perfect crescendo to the high-watermark of Oasis’s career.
It’s so iconic, that Noel named his London home, Supernova Heights after it. Its a song at home being played to 60,000 people in a stadium. But also at sunset on a beach. Or sitting on your own in a moment of introspection. It’ll still send a tingle down your spine and make you look at the song in a different way, no matter how many times you’ve heard it. That is the mark of a truly great track.
Revisionists might well argue that (What’s The Story) Morning Glory isn’t the best album of the 90’s, and with some justification. There’s no taking away from the fact that it was the biggest selling album of the decade. It has now sold 5 million copies in the UK, and 22 million worldwide.
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory is the emblem of the last great musical movement the UK produced that genuinely affected the culture and the mood of the nation. But 25 years on from this Oasis banger you can clearly hear a band at their absolute peak, heading towards their iconic Knebworth gigs the following year.
This Story was Glory-ous.
And that’s our ranking of songs from (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis after 25 years as a retrospective. What do you think? Did we get the order wrong? Let us know in the comments below.
Check our more of our music articles HERE.
9 Iconic Jerry Goldsmith Film Scores
Jerry Goldsmith may be a name that is not known to you, but some of the music scores he’s created will be etched into your psyche.
The late composer created some of the most iconic film scores from the past forty years. Here are nine of the best.
1. Planet of The Apes (1968)
The first film in the Planet of the Apes franchise was a trailblazer for many reasons. Not only was the story innovative and philosophical, but it also received praise for its special effects. Another thing that made the film so special, was the musical score. Goldsmith had been writing scores for a while, but this was the one that truly put him on the map. He moved away from traditional melodies and experimented with horns, bowls, and strings. The result was a brooding avant-garde tsunami that hits you, wave after wave. Genius.
2. The Omen (1976)
This horror classic has one of the creepiest soundtracks of all time. The subject matter of the child anti-Christ obviously helps. The score for the film was the benchmark for horror that influenced a slew of films in its wake. Goldsmith employed some frankly terrifying Gregorian chants to make the horror more effective. He also combined the chants with some spine-tingling strings and piano. It all works and makes the hairs on your neck stand up when you hear it. This is one of Goldsmith’s most terrifying, yet brilliant works. He even won an Oscar for it.
3. Poltergeist (1982)
Ignore the terrible remake from a few years ago, the original Poltergeist movie was brilliant. What helped make it brilliant is the score that Goldsmith implemented. It’s a far cry from the creepy atmosphere of The Omen, but more of an unsettling lullaby. On first listen it seems like an uplifting piece of music, but after a while, you realise it’s the opposite. Goldsmith wanted to use the family dynamic as the focus of the music, exploring all the layers. The result is a surprising score that earned him an Oscar nomination, although he didn’t win that one.
4. Alien (1979)
Jerry Goldsmith’s score is almost as famous as Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic itself. It wasn’t all plain sailing though. His final score was cut to bits by Scott and the production team, although the full masterpiece is available now. What he achieves here is the coldness and terror of space, and what lies within it. It’s laden with atmosphere that takes you on a journey that touches all the emotions. There is a smorgasbord of instruments used within the score, but there is one that really stands out. The trumpet solos. They are used to great effect, and you can feel the Xenomorph creeping up behind you.
5. Gremlins (1984)
Arguably one of the greatest movies from the 1980s, Gremlins throws together a collection of genres. You’ve got comedy; horror; slapstick; gore and drama all in one. In keeping with that theme, Jerry Goldsmith created the film’s score to mirror that. In fact, it’s so gloriously over-the-top it wouldn’t be out of place in a funfair. The synth is beautifully erratic. It perfectly emulates the chaotic yet lovable rogue elements of the Gremlins themselves. It’s often thought that comedy scores should not be silly, but this preconception is thrown out of the water. Sit back and enjoy the madness.
6. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Whereas the first Rambo film had a slight intelligent edge to the violence, Rambo II is an unashamedly hammy shoot-‘em-up. Keeping in theme with the film, Goldsmith manages to keep the score suitably exciting. Using his use of electronics to embellish the strings and horns, it makes for a big, brash, and thoroughly enjoyable listen. He manages to capture the exact feel of the film in his music. That’s no mean feat, and he does it to perfection.
7. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
The first of the Star Trek movies kickstarted a film franchise that’s still going to this day. The music of Trek is in my humble opinion, as important as the moral and optimistic themes of the stories. This is purely down to the genius of Jerry Goldsmith. Although visually superb, the film is a bit of a damp squib. The soundtrack, however, is not. It defines what Star Trek is about. The music takes you on a journey through space and exploration. There are mostly brass instruments that make up the score, and it builds to a crescendo that propels straight to the captain’s chair. The score was that good that it was used as the theme to TNG. This is some of Goldsmith’s finest work that defines Star Trek.
8. Basic Instinct (1992)
This Paul Verhoeven naughty thriller is iconic for many reasons. One of them perhaps more famous than others (ahem). Crossed legs aside, the movie itself is probably more famous for that scene than anything else. The musical score though is rather special. Goldsmith himself admitted this was one of his toughest ones to write. He pulled it off though. The music manages to capture Sharon Stone’s character perfectly. The charming beauty with a malevolent underbelly is clear to hear. He handles the contradictions with absolute aplomb and delivers a simply superb musical score.
9. The Mummy (1999)
This action romp may have had some questionable special effects, but the film score was some of Jerry Goldsmith’s finest work. Created towards the end of his career, it’s the last of the great film scores. It has everything from thunderous action and creepy horror. There are even some feel-good romantic elements. It takes you on a roller coaster of emotions but leaves you feeling fully enthralled. Even into his seventies, Jerry Goldsmith created some of his best work. A true icon and legend of film composition.
That’s our list of nine iconic Jerry Goldsmith film scores, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out nine movie soundtracks better than the films HERE.
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