(What's the Story) Morning Glory?



by Mr0 USER (13 Reviews)
July 25th, 2008 | 5 replies

Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A sophisticated follow up to one of the greatest, if not the greatest, rock debuts of the 90s. Oasis craft a masterpiece here.

Sophomore releases from hyped artists who produce strong debuts are the subject of infamous critical reception from both fans and the media. Band's can be berated for showing a lack of growth, too much growth, producing subpar material, going too soft, going too hard, overproduction, overlong songs, weak lyrics. It's funny that today, 'What's the Story' is seen as Oasis' high watermark, when, at the time of release, it was panned along with every other second album. Q gave it a meager three stars. They gave valid reasons for their judgement, some of which I listed above. But that was before the fans reacted. In response to the album, which by-and-large shed the hard-edged approach of 'Definitely Maybe' in favour of a cleaner production and more intricate arrangements, fans went into paroxysms of delight. The album sold a mere 19 million records (as of 2008), and the magazines started to change their tone. They were soon heralding Oasis as the future of British popular music.

And, unlike many other highly praised albums, 'Morning Glory' is indeed very, very good. Noel Gallagher's skill as a pop craftsman remains unattested: the way he can synthesize relics of chart history and mould them into hits for a new era is uncanny. Brother Liam is also on fine form, injecting emotion into the ballads (of which they are many) and venom into rockers (of which there are a precious few). And the sign that 'Morning Glory' is a great record is that, even when it rocks, it doesn't sound like a pale retread of 'Definitely Maybe'. Tunes like 'Roll With It' and the raucous title track have a powerful bounce supplemented by new drummer Alan White. The only song that could really fit on Definitely Maybe is the stomping, if overlong, 'Hey Now'. Even 'Some Might Say', which partially recycles 'Cigarettes & Alcohol's riff (which recycled the riff from T-Rex's Get It On') is delivered in a cleaner, more sophisticated way. It's just like the advancements the Beatles made on 'With the Beatles'.

The ballads on 'Morning Glory' will be scrutinized more than anything else. The closest things 'Definitely Maybe' had to ballads were the impassioned 'Slide Away' and 'Live Forever', which were still delivered with roaring guitars. 'Wonderwall', widely regarded as Oasis' flagship tune, is the first ballad to crop up. Beginning with warm chords, Liam's throaty, obtrusive vocal soon enters the fray singing Noel's typically sincere lyrics in an almost threatening manner. This sparkling ballad is without a doubt a strong tune, but it's not the best ballad on the album. 'Don't Look Back in Anger', another well-loved signature song, straddles the line between ballad and anthemic rock. It's a very thought-through song, from its unusually savvy and witty lyrics (which soemtimes feel tossed off, like a string of nonsense words in Oasis lyrics) to its dense arrangement consisting of basic elements (vocals, bass, drums), a piano nicked straight from 'Imagine' and a web of guitar parts.

'Cast No Shadow' earns the distinction of being the best ballad on the album. It's mix of wintery ambience, complimented by sleigh bells, and Liam's desolate vocal (and some heart-wrenching duel vocals between the brothers during the chorus) are ingredients for a winner. Oasis have long tried, but their more sentimental songs have never had the same completeness, neither have their voices held the same empathy.
'Morning Glory' carries on the fashion of having a good-humoured throw-away or two. 'She's Electric' might be a throwaway, but it's still a vert good tune; more acoustic guitars, an almost farcial shuffle rhythm and a deadpan Liam vocal make it positively grin-inducing. And one can never quite tell how serious Noel was trying to be on 'Champagne Supernova'. It has a similar expertly tossed off lyrical feel to many of Noel's best songs, and it again straddles the line between minimalism and infinty, but it could work equally as well as a satire on a sort of druggy high or a statement of purpose and intent.

Oasis are one of the founding fathers of 00s British guitar music. The fact that, despite their position, no-one has even attempted to create the same kind of stirring, majestic statement of purpose stands testement to how great the record is. At home in anyone's collection.

Download: Don't Look Back In Anger, Cast No Shadow, Morning Glory, Champagne Supernova

By Max2x2

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 25th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, pos. Album is overrated.

July 25th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

good review, but this album is terrible

April 5th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

How on earth is this album terrible?

April 5th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"How on earth is this album terrible?"

Different people have different tastes & opinions

April 22nd 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

yh I guess so, just like I can't stand Sigur Ros.

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