Oasis “Be Here Now”

Creation 1997

Maybe this isn’t timely, since Oasis officially ended a few months ago and everyone is probably over it by now. Hell, as far as I’m concerned, they’ve been done for a long time. No offense to the super-hardcore fans who love everything they have done, but “Be Here Now” is their last good album. Every record after it is phoned in, indifferently composed and lazily executed pop rock—with the exception of “Don’t Believe the Truth”, that is. That album has some great stuff on it. But “Be Here Now” is good enough to hold a place one or two rungs down from the band’s first two albums, which are already classic rock and roll records.

Back when “Be Here Now” came out, I could not get into it. I wanted to—I tried and tried, listening to it several times over and over, but I couldn’t understand it or find anything in it that would stick with me. It probably has something to do with the fact that I was listening to Oasis constantly at that point, they were probably my favorite band, and there was no way they could exceed what they had become in my mind. Now that I’m older and I don’t really think that way anymore (about Oasis or any band), I can appreciate “Be Here Now” as an expertly crafted rock album with a good handful of kickass jams, one that shows Oasis trying to step out of their (admittedly) fairly small box. “My Big Mouth” and the title track are two of Oasis’ more infectious rock songs, with the latter boasting an odd yet catchy use of the recorder, and “Stand by Me” and “Don’t Go Away” still evoke an importance for togetherness that seems timeless.

At that time, I was probably more than nonplussed by a few of the longer jams—there are, after all, like five songs that are over six minutes in length, some as long as nine. That’s a lot to take in for a high school kid, which is why when we hear songs as part of the masses today, they are usually reduced to two-minute-or-less snippets. Every song on “Be Here Now” seems to oppose this idea—all possible nuances of each song are stretched out, as if every section needed oxygen. Listening now, it seems Oasis were just at a point in their career where they had spent so much time in the studio they were becoming aware of its endless possibilities and just went hog wild. Well, they were also doing mountains and mountains of cocaine. Producer Owen Morris has described the sessions as “fucking awful” and has spun tails that make this point in time seem like the beginning of Oasis’ downward spiral.

One could call “Be Here Now” a lot of things—bloated, presumptuous and overlong may be a few of them. But, it’s not lacking in that contagious rock and roll spirit. It may be a flawed album, but it almost has to be, you know? ***1/2

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