Oasis are widely regarded as one of the best bands to come out of this country. While their debut Definitely Maybe is often a popular choice as their best album and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory close behind, 20 years ago they released Be Here Now, an alternative for their best album.
My favourite Oasis song changes daily, as with any band, and over the years my favourite album has rarely stayed the same for long. The rawness of Definitely Maybe and the songs that make it turn up in every Top 25/50/100 albums list, somewhere near the top, would be tough to beat. But 20 years ago today, Be Here Now proved they were here to stay.
Opener ‘D’ya Know What I Mean’ is a nearly 8-minute assault of everything the British public expected to fade away after their previous release in 1995. Liam’s vocals returned as focal as ever, and the harmony between him and brother Noel added to make it one of their best anthems.
It was the first single, and the first element of a bizarre method of promotion for the album. Their management company, Ignition, aimed to limit the exposure of the band and what they’ve recorded. This led to incidents such as Radio 1’s Steve Lamacq having to admit he was only being drip-fed tracks from the upcoming album and was ordered to keep it under wraps.
The band were at the peak of public interest, and antics on tours that often occurred through a combination of copious amounts self-belief, and drugs. Perhaps the limited publicity was aimed to protect the band. Most of the recording for the album is said to have been done immediately after the release of Morning Glory, in 1995 and 1996, when critics may argue the album would’ve reached much higher accolades. As viewers of last years’ documentary, ‘Supersonic‘, will know, they were busy lads…
One of the best tracks on the album, and one of my favourite Oasis tracks is the defiant ‘I Hope, I Think, I Know’. It features at number 5 on the album, and come straight out of the aggression and ambition of youth. It is very much a song that sums up a post-debut album period for Oasis. The height of their 1994 album was a high benchmark, ‘I Hope, I Think, I Know’ is a refusal to be forgotten as a one-album band.
Oasis’ slower numbers reached their prime in the middle of their career, and ‘Don’t Go Away’ is one of those that stirs emotion. Back in 2014, BBC Radio Cumbria played the tune moments after the full-time whistle between Carlisle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, we (Carlisle), had just been confirmed as relegated. Thanks for that one.
Perhaps the least well-known Oasis song on Liam’s current solo setlist is the title track ‘Be Here Now’. Today, it is my current favourite Oasis song.
Kicking up a storm, from the day that I was born.
Sing a song for me, one from ‘Let It Be’, open up your eyes, get a grip of yourself inside.
– Be Here Now (1997)
Track 10, ‘All Around The World’ is another soundtrack favourite. At over 9 minutes long, it provides enough time to pull you out of any bad mood. I’m yet to listen to the song and the reprise that features as the final track and feel worse for it. If you’re heading back to work on Tuesday after Leeds Festival, pop it on, it’ll at least get you to 10 o’clock…
Alternatively, you could put the whole album on now and thank me later.
You know where those lyrics from ‘Be Here Now’ would look good? Printed and framed from here…