10 Best Oasis Songs
Oasis were Britpop's most commercially successful band in the '90s. They hit the Top 5 in the United States (and No. 1 almost everywhere else) with their 1995 album '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' And they somehow hit the Top 10 on the pop charts with the terrific 'Wonderwall' in a year dominated by guys like Coolio and Montell Jordan. Oasis were also one of the most arrogant bands to ever walk the planet. The group's frontmen -- singer Liam Gallagher and his songwriting/guitar-playing brother Noel -- repeatedly claimed they were the most important group since the Beatles ... when they weren't busy clobbering each other onstage. That they managed to keep it together for nearly 20 years and through seven albums is some sort of miracle. Most of the cuts on our list of the 10 Best Oasis Songs come from their first two LPs, when they indeed gave the Fab Four a run for their money.
The first single from the band's third album was huge in the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 1 (it topped out at No. 49 in the U.S.). Following the world domination that accompanied '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' Oasis' return reflected a heavier group somewhat bloated by success. But more than that, this tough, hook-free song pretty much declared that they were big enough to do whatever they pleased.
'Roll With It' was the second single from '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?,' but it didn't even break the modern-rock charts in the United States. The intro's thick, crunchy guitars eventually open up to one of the band's super-huge hooks. Like most of the tracks on our list of the 10 Best Oasis Songs, there's not a whole lot going on lyrically in 'Roll With It.' But that hook ...
The first single from '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' features a guitar riff straight from the T-Rex playbook and a chorus as big as Godzilla. It's one of Oasis' most instantly likable songs, a mid-tempo rocker carried by Liam's engaging lead vocal. What's it about? Who knows? Probably not Liam, who still delivers the song like it's the most important one that's ever been written.
Oasis were already huge in England after their 1994 debut album, 'Definitely Maybe,' topped the charts. The title track to their second album, which would break them in the U.S., is the bombastic reaction to that fame. It's loud, it's obnoxious ... and it's totally what Oasis were about in 1995. It's also about boners, cocaine and maybe the Beatles (whose 'Revolver' freakout 'Tomorrow Never Knows' is referenced by name).
The opening song on Oasis' debut album is nothing less than a statement of purpose. Over five and a half exaggerated, pompous and ultimately glorious minutes, 'Rock 'n' Roll Star' plays out like a history lesson about a band setting its own destiny. From the start, the group's trademarks are there: Liam's sneer, Noel's blazing guitar and something borrowed from the classic-rock textbook (in this case, a line from Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Proud Mary').
Yet another terrific cut from the band's second album, 'Don't Look Back in Anger' is the only one on our list of the 10 Best Oasis Songs to feature Noel on lead vocals. The ballad is the fifth single to be released from the LP and a highlight of the band's live shows, where audiences would loudly (and, most likely, drunkenly) sing along. And of course it includes a Beatles reference or two.
Oasis' debut single sounds a little reserved coming from a band that later pushed everything -- the sex, the drugs, the loudness levels of their records -- to their breaking points. But that's part of its charm. You'd expect a song called 'Supersonic' to explode from your speakers, but the track coasts along at a mid-tempo pace that slyly winks because it just pulled one over on you. Still, Noel's hook is as big as his ego. They were just warming up the engines.
'Champagne Supernova' was designed as the centerpiece of '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?': It closes the album and clocks in at more than seven minutes. No doubt Noel had "anthem" scribbled all over this one from the start. And it is a great song -- building slowly over acoustic guitars and Liam's restrained vocals before erupting in a full-band assault featuring wailing guitars and an overload of psych-rock effects. Epic.
Oasis' third single, and first to hit the U.K. Top 10 and U.S. Top 40, was a staple of the band's live shows before they finally recorded it for their debut album (the single was released a month before 'Definitely Maybe'). The verses and choruses are huge; so is Liam's audible sneer. And it's almost a pop song in its structure, undoubtedly influenced by the band's beloved Beatles.
The Beatles are all over our list of the 10 Best Oasis Songs. This is one of their most obvious tributes. The title was borrowed from a 1968 album by George Harrison, a mostly instrumental, and totally unlistenable, soundtrack that was also the first solo record released by a Beatle. Oasis' song is 10 times better. It was their only Top 10 hit in the States (it reached No. 8), but it helped break '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' and the band. Like so many Oasis songs, it's best not to pry too deep into what it all means. But also like so many Oasis songs, it really doesn't matter when the hook is this mighty.