Or else, you know, your life will be incomplete.
Oasis is often a polarizing group. I’ve read every criticism of this band (Beatles tribute band! One song! One eyebrow!), and I’d love to sit and refute every single one of them…but I figured this little list might be a bit more time efficient. Basic criteria for this list:
- No A-side Singles, obviously. (Not only are these more instantly recognizable, thus negating the list’s purpose, but allowing these would have made this list impossible to narrow down to a reasonable number.)
- Favoring of lesser-known B-sides. This basically translates to excluding anything found on The Masterplan compilation. Ya’ll should have that track-listing tattooed on your hearts already anyway. Again, using this criterion is the only way I could narrow this list down.
- No more than one non-single, album track per album. This was pretty easy to follow–eat that, all ya’ll who say Oasis suck after the first two albums! Ya’ll dumb. And deaf.
- No demo/alternate/live versions!! I’d be here all day. Have you heard the ’92 “Live Forever” demo? No? You call what you’re living LIFE? Get out. P.S. Listen to it.
I think that’s about it. I had an initial list of about 50 songs, before halving it using the above criteria. Finally, after moaning in pain and rolling around the floor screaming “I don’t wanna live in a world where I have to choose!” for about twenty minutes, I cropped the list at 15. It was kinda hard, if the moaning and rolling around the floor bit didn’t give that away. Let’s go!
Honorable Mention: “Bonehead’s Bankhead Holiday” [(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, Vinyl-Only Bonus Track, 1995]
“Don’t ya know, I shoulda stayed in England
On my polluted beach with all my special friends?
Don’t ya know, I shoulda stayed in England
With me big house and me big car and all me friends there at the bar, la la la…”
Hahaha, like I really narrowed it down to 15 songs. Fooled ya’ll. I couldn’t cut out this track–not because it is anywhere near the standard of the other songs included in this list (and omitted from this list) but because I think it’s one of those songs that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s just a fun track. Let’s all just take a moment, though, to appreciate the fact that Bonehead chickened out of singing this. Can you imagine? Love you Bonehead but…no.
15. “Born on a Different Cloud” (Heathen Chemistry, 2002)
“Talking to myself again,
This time I think I’m getting through.”
Remember when Liam started writing songs and everyone laughed? “Live for your toys, even though they make noise” and all that. Well, that was pretty lame, not gonna lie, but when Noel proclaimed his younger brother a songwriting genius whose songs “make me cry ‘cos they’re better than mine,” he really wasn’t employing too much hyperbole. (Well, maybe a little bit. But not too much.) This track can easily be written off as a mere Lennon imitation (à la “Working Class Hero”), but you know what? I think Lennon would like this. And I reckon he’d like that cocky little lead singer, too. That voice!
14. “My Big Mouth” (Be Here Now, 1997)
“I ain’t never spoke to God
And I ain’t never been to heaven
But you assumed I knew the way
Even though the map was given
And as you look into the eyes
Of a bloody cold assassin
It’s only then you’ll realize
With who’s life you have been messing.”
Remember when this was part of Oasis’ set list for the first time since their Be Here Now tour in ’08? And then Noel decided to drop it before I saw Oasis later that year because the set list was “too long”? And then he briefly re-added after I saw them? And then I wallowed in tears and crappy fan videos of the song from that tour (see above)? No? Well, it was pretty disappointing. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
13. “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” (Liam Vocals) [No Official Release; 2005]
“I’m tired and I’m sick
Got a habit that I can’t, won’t lick
I feel hungover and I’m all in love
Let the lights go down,
Me and you are gonna shoot ’em all.”
Um, I think I broke one of my rules by including this. Oh well. They were dumb rules anyway. “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” was a released as a stand-alone (and primarily digital download only) single in 2007, taken from the rockumentary of the same. The released version features Noel on lead vocals, but this song has Liam Gallagher’s name written all over it. This rough mix was obviously never properly produced, but you can still hear how much more awesome this song is when Liam sings it.
12. “Pass Me Down the Wine” (“The Importance of Being Idle,” 2005)
“To all my sisters: yeah, you’re looking pretty fine
And to all my brothers: bet you’re feeling kinda high
And to all the mothers: well, come on now, don’t be shy
And to all the fathers who are sick and f***ing tired.”
Confession: Don’t Believe the Truth is my least favorite Oasis album. I know, it was a supposed “return to form,” “creative rebirth,” etc. for the band, but I think it’s their weakest album. There’s only a handful of tracks I would take with me to a desert island. But this is a great B-side, written again by Liam, who has always struggled with lyrics and so I have subsequently have no idea what this song is actually about, but it sounds really, really cool. I just googled the lyrics, and the last line is: (Liam screeching). Oh yeah. Mad fer it.
11. “It’s Better People” (“Roll With It,” 1995)
“It’s better people love one another
‘Cos living your life can be tough.”
Life is hard. But it’s easy listening to this song. On repeat. All day. Every day.
10. “Idler’s Dream” (“The Hindu Times,” 2002)
“I never did say and I wish I could
I never could pray ‘cos it’s just no good
I hope you don’t break my heart of stone
I don’t wanna scream out loud
And wake up on my own.”
Two words: breathtakingly beautiful. That is all.
09. “D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman?” (“Shakermaker,” 1994)
“You got how many bills to pay and how many kids
And you’ve forgotten about the things that we did
This town where we’re living has made you a man
And all of your dreams are washed away in the sand.”
Who can’t relate to this song? The remembrance of what you once wanted to be–say, a spaceman–before reality caught up with you? And forgetting about feeling down, forgetting about life in this town, while you remember that dream? And thinking for a moment–just for a moment–it’s still not too late to be a spaceman? Totally.
08. “Fade Away” (“Cigarettes & Alcohol,” 1994; War Child Version–“Don’t Go Away,” 1998)
“Now my life has turned
I think it’s only best
That I should warn you
Dream it while you can
Maybe someday I’ll make you understand.”
This song deals with some of the same themes found in “D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman.” My favorite thing about this song is that we have two official versions that allow us to see Liam’s Yin to Noel’s Yang. The version sung by Liam, found on the flip side of “Cigarettes and Alcohol” as well as The Masterplan compilation (there I go, breaking those rules again), is, of course, nothing but pure rock ‘n’ roll, while the Noel-sung version, recorded for the War Child Charity, is gentle and lulling. Which do I prefer? That is the eternal question.
07. “Let’s All Make Believe” (“Go Let It Out,” 2000)
“So let’s all make believe
We’re still friends and we like each other
Let’s all make believe
In the end we’ll need each other
Let’s all make believe
That all mankind’s gonna feed our brother.”
I just wanna know: what other band relegates a song like this to a B-side? (Beatles exempted.) Seriously, I wanna know.
06. “Sad Song” (“Don’t Go Away,” 1998; also included on the Japanese and vinyl editions of Definitely Maybe)
“We as people, are just walking ’round
Our heads are firmly fixed in the ground
What we don’t see, well it can’t be real
What we don’t touch we cannot feel.”
OK, bending the rules again because this could be considered an album track (and I’m going to choose another track from Definitely Maybe in a bit), but it’s not on most releases so…Basically, if you’ve ever wondered what an angel might sound like, you should listen to this song and find out. ‘Cos Noel Gallagher’s voice is otherworldly…seriously.
05. “Waiting for the Rapture” (Dig Out Your Soul, 2008)
“She said, I’m tiiiiiiiiired
Come get me off the merry-go-round
Well, heaven must sent ya to save me for the rapture.”
Yeah, the Doors’ “Five to One” and all that, who cares? This song is so much better anyway (in your face, Jim Morrison!), and I didn’t even realize how good it was until I saw Oasis play it live. Annnnnnd you should hear the alternate version, too. Per-fec-tion.
04. “Angel Child” (“D’You Know What I Mean,” 1997)
“When you find out
When you find out who you are you know you’ll be free
To see your own ability
But there’ll be no eyes
No eyes that see such beauty could lose their sight
And there’ll be no lies
No lies that you could tell me to make things right.”
Okay. So I’m breaking my rules again because this is technically a demo. WHATEVER. That rule has to be broken because this song is so amazing. Remember a few weeks ago how Liam Gallagher was the star of the Olympics Closing Ceremony as he and Beady Eye performed “Wonderwall”? Well, the next day, his beautiful older brother decided to play this song at a radio session for the first time since he recorded it. Way to induce a heart attack, Noel. Thanks.
03. “Cast No Shadow” [(What’s the Story) Morning Glory, 1995]
“Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say
Chained to all the places that he never wished to stay
Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say
As he faced the sun he cast no shadow
As they took his soul they stole his pride.”
Initially dedicated to Richard Ashcroft to bolster his spirits following the first (what are we on now, third? Fourth?) breakup of The Verve, Noel once explained “cast no shadow” was not a reference to Ashcroft’s skinny frame but actually means that one would be invisible. Duh. I think it’s a beautiful tribute (reflection?) to songwriters actually–Noel himself included.
02. “Slide Away” (Definitely Maybe, 1994)
I don’t know
I don’t care
All I know is you can take me there
Take me there, take me there, take me there…
I know it’s required listening in Oasis 101 and all, but this song had to be on this list. ‘Cos I said so. I don’t know that there are any words in the English language to describe this song. Paul McCartney said it was his favorite Oasis song. Once. He’s kind of busy talking about writing “Hey Jude” and “Yesterday” to mention it more than once, y’know. But he said it at least once–and that’s just another indication of his good taste and this song’s genius.
01. “Gas Panic!” (Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, 2000)
“What tongueless ghost of sin crept through my curtains?
Sailing on a sea of sweat on a stormy night
I think he don’t got a name but I can’t be certain
And in me he starts to confide
That my family don’t seem so familiar
And my enemies all know my name
And if you hear me tap on your window
Better get on your knees and pray panic is on the way.”
Listen to this song and then try to tell me that Standing on the Shoulder of Giants is the worst Oasis album. Listen to this song and then try to tell me that Oasis lyrics lack meaning. Listen to this song and then try to tell me that Oasis’ sound has never evolved, not even a little bit. Listen to this song and then try to tell me that Oasis is a talentless, unoriginal band. Guess what? You can’t do it, poopstains.
(Well, one of them anyway.)
This list is far from perfect. I feel physically ill thinking of all the songs omitted. It probably would have been easier to list my most-loathed Oasis tracks. Regardless, the point is that Oasis was a really great band with so many fantastic songs often overlooked. And you should listen to them before…you know…you die. ‘Cos you probably ain’t gonna live forever.
But they will.