Oasis are this country’s loveable rogues and the lead flag-bearers of a 90s generation that recaptured it’s love for rock and roll music. For that three year stint between 1994 and 1997 Oasis were untouchable, easily the best band on earth and had millions upon millions of fans singing ever word to every song. The hostility of the relationship between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher still stands tall today and is perhaps the band’s greatest asset as they conquered all obstacles and became global phenomenons. This album went a long way towards aiding that rise, the debut album of a generation and perhaps one of the most iconic albums ever to exist, ‘Definitely Maybe’ is a must in everyone’s collection.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Star – 9.5/10
An absolute explosion of energy and the blueprint for a rock and roll classic, the name gives you a pretty good idea as to what this song is all about. A huge anthem about being grateful for having very little and savouring every last moment of life, no matter what path you take and if that isn’t relatable then I don’t know what is. The riff from Noel and the rhythm guitar from Bonehead stick in the memory even to this day and really epitomises the image of Oasis and the era they were an integral part of. A mention for Liam’s vocals too as he does this song immense justice with his arrogance and typical stamp, sounding like he’s always wanted to sound, a modern day mixture of John Lennon and Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. The highlight of the song is the hardcore climax to the track which just brings the roof down from the drums to the guitar. It’s just rock and roll.
Shakermaker – 9/10
The second single they released, the second song on the album, and the evidence that we might have had ourselves a second coming of The Beatles on our hands. AS psychedelic as it gets with head-scratching lyrics such as “I’d like to build myself a house out of plasticine” which placed Oasis within a Sgt. Peppers era of hard drugs and a rock and roll lifestyle they assumed to be living, little did they know it’d only get bigger. I have one complaint about this song and it is that the outro seems a little too long but that doesn’t stop me listening to it in full every single time grinning like a Cheshire Cat as i enjoy the nostalgia Oasis carry with them.
Live Forever – 10/10
Easily the best song on one of the best albums of all time, now that’s saying something about the quality and legacy of this song. It is a track which is wholeheartedly appreciated by Oasis fans but one which I feel was underrated on a worldwide scale compared to ‘Wonderwall’ for example because it is perhaps the most technically gifted song Noel Gallagher has ever crafted. The lyrics are a huge pick-me-up and have been chosen to create a beautiful aurora around having nothing but celebrating it. A true lesson about the importance and value of life and how nobody should want theirs to end. It is often seen as a bit of a middle finger to Nirvana’s song ‘I Hate Myself And I Want To Die’ which Noel Gallagher described as “not on” and that “kids shouldn’t be hearing that”. If you match that motive with a powerful Liam vocal and a great guitar riff you have yourself a truly staggering song.
Up In The Sky – 8.5/10
A simple but brilliant guitar riff used to maximum effect ass we hear a real Britpop banger as a result. My favourite aspect of this song is that it gave us all that memorable sound to Liam Gallagher’s voice where his true Mancunian twang comes out with words like “sky”, “fly” and “high” and it is just infectious the way he elongates and delivers them. To be massively critical, this is perhaps the weakest track on the album but that’s not ruling it as a bad song by any stretch of the imagination, it just ranks fairly low alongside an album full to the brim of timeless classics. If this is their idea of a ‘filler track’ then that is evidence of how special a band they truly were.
Columbia – 9.5/10
The opening track when they played those iconic gigs at Knebworth and it’s easy to see why, a brilliant build up to this one with the cymbal taps and the steady progressing guitar within it. You can just picture Liam now strutting around to the instrumental of this in his typical swagger. When he kicks in vocally he captures your imagination without sounding technically stunning and not many before him or since him have been able to do that with such effect. On this track he is very reminiscent of a Mick Jagger style character. The chorus is memorable and brings up that rise from nothing and how the superstardom is “oh so new” to them. Another very big hitter.
Supersonic – 10/10
Could well be my favourite song on the album simply for the audacity of it all. First single, nobody knew who they were and bang, these two lads from a poor family in a Manchester council estate are “feeling supersonic” and are aware of the fame they’re about to grasp. There really aren’t many words you can say regarding this song and how good it is, nothing can really do it justice other than saying it’s absolutely remarkable. Yes, the guitar riff seems very similar to the influences that came before Noel, the liked of T-Rex or George Harrison, but when it sounds this good and this fresh, does it really matter? Also, the music video is bloody brilliant despite it’s low budget simplicity. Give me Gin and Tonic.
Bring It On Down – 9.5/10
In the words of Alan McGee, owner of Creation Records at the time and the man responsible for handing Oasis their first record deal, this song is just punk, the pace, the vocal delivery, the lyrics, all of it. “Your’re the outcast, you’re the underpass, but you don’t care because you’re living fast” is just stunning by the way, what a start to a chorus that is. The drum beat is constant, simple and a real pace-setter, it tested the limits of the then drummer Tony McCarroll but it sounds fantastic. I can only imagine what it would’ve been like to have heard a band make a tune like this back in 1994, even today it beggars belief.
Cigarettes & Alcohol – 10/10
It gets better and better every single time you hear it and for me it is the true sound of Oasis, the focal point of a band who were announcing themselves on the grandest stage. You can bash Liam Gallagher’s vocal range all you want, obviously he isn’t going to have pipes like Whitney or Freddie Mercury is he? He’s in a rock and roll band who saved his life from an eternity of weed and the dole, also listen to what he is singing about. Either way I think he sounds absolutely brilliant and suits the track perfectly, anyone who thinks otherwise is someone with a fairly big agenda against him as a person in my opinion. The song itself is once again full of a bittersweet attitude where they seem completely care-free as to who will critique their music, they’re writing songs like this to demonstrate how fortunate they are to be making the music they love and I for one commend that.
Digsy’s Dinner – 9/10
A short and simple song but the motive of it is very strange, who is Digsy? Why is she having lasagna with Liam Gallgher? The lyrics border upon ridiculous but it’s not your typical love ballad is it, you wouldn’t hear Mariah Carey singing about not living very wise behind a rocking instrumental. All in all it’s an unorthodox blinder of a love song, a view into the looking glass of suburban Manchester. I could think of quite a few people who’d have a lasagna with Liam Gallagher in all honesty.
Slide Away – 10/10
Paul McCartney’s favourite Oasis tune and he’s got a point, it’s absolutely brilliant and has a deep lying meaning which has rung true for over two decades. Often described as the stand-out vocal performance of Liam Gallagher’s career, it was the song which really propelled him alongside the rest of the band as not only a great frontman with a rockstar attitude, but also with a rockstar voice too. The lyrics are a beautiful homage to this girl that is being sung about as they imply that he and that girl are the only two people in the world that matter at that moment, with “slide away” meaning getting away from it all and running off together. The guitar is stunning, the vocal delivery and lyrics are even better, the song is just fascinating.
Married With Children – 9/10
A gorgeous acoustic cut to end the album on a serious high as Liam softens his tones and Noel strums his guitar with blissful soul and happiness. The lyrics themselves take a bit of a deep turn as Liam sings about all that is wrong with the girl and her “music shite” which is probably one of my favourite Oasis lyrics ever. The song epitomises the acoustic Oasis sound, a crazily simple guitar riff that sounds so good that it often makes you question how it was never done before but that’s what Noel exploited throughout his Oasis career. A brilliant sing-along tune.
Overall – 10/10
I could hardly rate it any lower could I? As a whole I think this album is pretty much faultless and it’s easy to see why even after 23 years of this masterpiece, we still worship it to this day. Without question the best album Oasis ever did and it might just be the best album a British act has ever created, you wouldn’t be a fool for believing that trust me because it is certainly up there for me too. ‘Definitely Maybe’ has it all, from soft-thought provoking ballads about love and life to punk-influenced rock music which sounds raw, unassuming and undeniably British. What an album and what a band.