Oasis - Be Here Now: Chasing The Sun Edition
Right then, Be Here Now, as great as it was in 1997 or as crap as it is now? Discuss. Everyone’s revising their views in 2016, the reviewers from the music mags at the time, fans, and Noel himself, though he’d say anything for a headline. Still the story behind the third Oasis album is well known; excess both musically and chemically, stories of cocaine and layers upon layers of guitar - up to 30 one some tracks. At the height of their career and of Britpop the leading lights chucked it away. Or did they? Three singles, two number ones and a second place suggest the songs were OK, the album itself spent five weeks at the top, the last of their long players to spend more than a week at the peak.
Though it’s become trendy to bash Be Here Now there are plenty of those Oasis tics to enjoy, whether it’s Liam’s delicious snarl on tracks like ‘It’s Gettin’ Better (Man!!)’, the joyous melodies of ‘All Around The World’, the call to arms of 'D'You Know What I Mean?' or the real world sentiment of ‘Don’t Go Away’. The problem lies in the ridiculous layers of production added to the songs, the multiple screeching of guitar gives a horrible dam of noise, rather than wall of sound, effect. A listen to some of the Mustique demos shows that beneath the horrific layers of guitar, feedback, helicopter sounds and other guff there are more good songs hiding than the finished album makes you think. Yes, Noel’s trying way too hard to rip off his idols - the ‘All You Need Is Love’ aping ‘All Around The World’ only the most obvious - and yes the band have forgotten how to end a song so leave many going for at least three minutes longer than they should - oh ‘Magic Pie’, if only you were three minutes, not seven - but this is still the Northern rebels of Live Forever, if nowhere near as raw and potent.
The other interesting thing about this final three disc set from the Chasing The Sun Trilogy is that the demos show what kind of band this might have been without Liam. Noel takes lead vocals on all the demos and, for all his qualities, the vocal charisma of his brother is a massive miss. The simple qualities of his music show Noel’s songwriting skills are intact but they need that leer and the snide delivery of his brother. Rather boringly then, this is neither the disaster that hindsight suggests or the triumph pronounced 19 years ago.