Headliner

DATE:

March 2000

COVER:

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THE LINER NOTES:

 

Not everybody liked Oasis. And I guess I can understand that. They came off as pompous pricks much of the time. Their songs were highly influenced by (some believe “stole from”) other, more treasured bands. And everybody is entitled to their opinions.

Me? I loved Oasis. I loved their bravado. I loved their sense of humor. I loved their coming-up-from-the-bottom origin story. And I absolutely loved their songs. Their first two albums played non-stop during my last years of college. And their third was the soundtrack to my transition from Los Angeles to home and back to Boston again. They were a huge part of my life. And whoever was going to be in my life needed to understand my fandom. They should also love the band– but accepting my fandom was usually enough.

Thankfully, Carrie was a fan. A moderate fan, but a fan.  She owned (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and… enjoyed that album. So I didn’t really have to make a case for Oasis as I often did with others. Many, many, many others. Instead, I had the joy of taking her beyond “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova”– opening her ears to their debut album, B-sides, covers, and live tracks!

And with a fourth album released during our courtship, we had a chance to see the band in concert! I had never seen them live before. I missed an opportunity in college when I was in the throes of my love for the band, so I couldn’t pass up this chance… even if it wouldn’t be the Oasis I fell in love with. The last two original members, besides the Gallaghers, left the band during the recording of album four. Still, I had to go. And they had Travis opening for them! (You can read about my love of that band and their accompanying pre-concert mixtape HERE.)

So for me, I was living a perfect musical moment. I was seeing a woman who enjoyed the music I was listening to– or liked me enough to at least fake it really, really well– and I was about to see my two favorite bands of that moment live in concert. What better way to lead up to that once in a lifetime experience than by putting a mix tape together to introduce Carrie to songs Oasis might be playing, other than the (WTS)MG hits?

THAT’S GREAT, BUT HOW’S THE MIX?:

SIDE A:

  • “Fuckin’ in the Bushes”
  • “Supersonic”
  • “Cast No Shadow”
  • “Be Here Now”
  • “Sunday Morning Call”
  • “Roll With It”
  • “Round Are Way (live)”
  • “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
  • “Gas Panic!”
  • “Shakermaker”
  • “Talk Tonight”
  • “D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman (live)”

SIDE B:

  • “D’You Know What I Mean?”
  • “Bonehead’s Bank Holiday”
  • “Cigarettes and Alcohol”
  • “Little James”
  • “Some Might Say”
  • “The Girl in the Dirty T-Shirt”
  • “It’s Better People”
  • “Who Feels Love?”
  • “Live Forever”
  • “Don’t Look Back in Anger (live snippet)”
  • “Rock and Roll Star”

This has been an interesting tape to be listening to for the last several weeks. It’s rare that I have songs from the band’s first four albums side-by-side. I hardly ever used songs from Standing On the Shoulder of Giants on any of my mixtapes. For me, it’s an incredibly disappointing album, and hearing a few of the tracks again here has not changed that opinion. The songs from SOTSOG that I included here were for Carrie’s benefit, assuming a handful of new tracks would certainly be performed at the concert. So the tape starts with “Fuckin’ in the Bushes,” which opens that album. It’s actually a decent track, for what it is. You can play it above.

Not on this tape is SOTSOG’s first single “Go Let it Out.” It’s the only other song from the album I actually enjoy. And if I’m remembering correctly, it’s a song Carrie had been enjoying with me already at the time, so it wasn’t needed on this mix. Instead, she got “Sunday Morning Call,” and “Gas Panic!”

The first is a Noel-led ballad that is actually a fairly decent song. When played live. Acoustically. There’s a great little tune in there, but the production smothers it in warbly synthesizers and a faux choir, trying to make the song sound bigger than it needs to be. Really, take a listen to it above, and then check out this acoustic version with poor audio quality and then tell me which one is superior.

“Gas Panic!” suffers the same, over-produced fate. Again, there might be an okay enough song in there, but the production is overly dramatic, with its repetitive overlays and unnecessary synthesizer tinkering. Put these songs side-by-side with the bona fide classics on this tape and it’s easy to hear the differences. Oasis once described themselves as “five guys in a band with guitars, no effects.” It was their mission statement for a time. Standing On the Shoulder of Giants was everything they didn’t want to be.

The remaining tracks on this mixtape are an interesting assortment of Oasis classics. Surprisingly, though she already owned the album, I threw three songs from (What’s the Story) Morning Glory onto the tape– “Cast No Shadow,” “Roll With It” and “Some Might Say.” Perhaps I just wanted to highlight these outside of “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova.” “Some Might Say” is stellar. And they probably didn’t sing it at the concert we attended since Liam could never remember the words in the correct order.

Five songs represent their debut, Definitely Maybe, on this tape. “Live Forever,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” “Cigarettes and Alcohol,” and “Supersonic” are obvious choices. Less obvious is “Shakermaker,” which, while an early single, generally gets lost among the remainder of that album. I can’t fully recall why I chose this over “Slide Away” here, but I’m going to say that after the faux-importance of the overly produced “Gas Panic!,” I wanted a song that represented the purer sound of Oasis. Five guys in a band with guitars.

Third album Be Here Now gets three tracks, including the title track and lead off single “D’You Know What I Mean.” Also included is “The Girl in the Dirty Shirt” which is a fun, sloppy, rocking love song. On the tape insert, I wrote out the title as “The Girl in the Dirty T-Shirt.” Might have done this as a reference to the T-shirt wearing recipient of this hodgepodge of harmonies. A little nod to her being the girl in my life that could call me anytime she’s seeing double. Or maybe it’s just a dumb mistake. Probably just that.

PLEASED TO MEET YOU:

The rest of the tape is filled out with B-sides and bootleg tracks. If you’ve been following this blog at all, you will not be surprised that “Bonehead’s Bank Holiday” is here. I also included a great acoustic cover of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and an equally great live version of a favorite Oasis b-side, “D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman”– both just Noel and his acoustic guitar. But the standout of these– and almost the Super Ultra Mega Song for this entry– is the live version of “Round Are Way.”

Poor grammar aside, this version is an absolute blast. And it’s this exact version that is on the tape. I have it on a bootleg CD that must have pulled the audio from the master recording because it’s pristine. To me, this is an Oasis not enough people have heard. Hopelessly optimistic, while singing about the simple day-to-day drudgeries of life. The horns are a blast, the harmonica is explosive and, damn it, they even throw in a medley with “Up in the Sky.” Had they played this song this way at our concert, I would have absolutely lost it. Alas, they did not.

WAIT. WHAT? WHY?:

When I first heard “Little James,” I liked it a little. It was Liam Gallagher’s first songwriting credit on an Oasis album. And it was a song written to the son of his girlfriend at the time. It was simple and sweet. Except… it wasn’t. The more I listened to it, the more  it represented everything that is wrong with Standing On the Shoulder of Giants. It’s trying too hard.  Trying too hard to be bombastic. Trying too hard to fill a stadium with sing-alongs. And trying to hard to have Liam sing this thing when he clearly has been partying too hard for too long. It’s a terrible recording.

I’m starting to think an all-acoustic version of SOTSOG would have been the better idea.

THE SUPER ULTRA MEGA SONG:

It was almost that live version of “Round Are Way.” But “Talk Tonight” is too good.

It’s a B-side. Quickly recorded while on tour. After leaving the band and spending a weekend with a stranger. It’s gorgeous. It melted my heart when I first heard it. It played on repeat for 24-hours after I confessed my love to a college classmate on the steps of the State House in Boston. She turned me down. It’s a near perfect song that only Oasis fans have heard. So if you’ve read this far, and you’ve not heard it already, find a quiet corner, close your eyes and hit play.

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