Review Summary: Wrongly criticised, but still flawed. A curiosity piece with some good bits.Be Here Now
holds a funny position of being a huge seller that is considered a "flop". Rather like Michael Jackson's post-Thriller output, nothing was going to top 1995's (What's the Story) Morning Glory"
album. Consequently this poor follow up received an awful lot of flak from the public. It took a while for disappointment to sink in (this "flop" album was in the UK top 10 for 11 weeks), but when it did it killed the entire Britpop movement outright. Is this really the album’s fault" Given it was almost destined to fail, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Could it really be that bad"
To these slightly younger, fresher ears, this album deserves the re-appraisal. Though far from a masterpiece, it definitely has more merit than many critics will admit. Opening track and lead single "D'You Know What I Mean"" is complete and utter nonsense, but nonsense done on a previously unseen epic scale, pulled off with arrogance and swagger. It holds the listener’s ear and remains a fascinating pop fossil. The song draws you in to the world of a rock god, taking you to another place in the grand Oasis journey.
This theme for over the top, arrogant garbage continues on the next three tracks, but they fail to pull off such an impressive sense of scale, relying instead on various gimmicks to sell themselves to the listener. "My Big Mouth" is energetic and filled with guitar solos and "Stand By Me" has a very, very simple chorus custom made for stadiums - reminiscent of Morning Glory"
. So far, so-so, but where the album really goes wrong is Magic Pie". The album's "Noel solo song", its lyrics are atrocious. Noel's voice retains its strange, almost mystical allure, but the song's stripped back, simple style leaves the lyrics out in the open and vulnerable. Sadly, from here on in you find yourself assessing the rest of the album’s lyrics with an unfair level of scrutiny.
At this point the album takes a drastic turn for the better. "I Hope, I Think, I Know" could honestly come right off of Definitely Maybe
– such is its simple rock ‘n’ roll charm – while "The Girl in the Dirty Sheet" sounds like something by The kinks. "Fade In-Out" makes use of slide guitar to create a Wild West vibe, and is pleasantly light. In contrast, "Don't Go Away" is a heavy, emotive, moving listen. Having survived that ordeal, the listener is rewarded with “Be Here Now" and "All Around the World" – pleasantly whimsical nonsense to return a smile to your face. Like "D'You Know What I Mean"", "All Around the World" is shockingly overblown to the point where it becomes impressive in some perverse way.
The album could end here perfectly, but opts to continue with the bland "It's Gettin' Better (Man!!)" and a pointless reprise of the ending to "All Around the World". Overall though, Be Here Now
's best bits (tracks 5-10) clock in at 36.4 minutes, - an album’s worth of good material. Combined with the music videos the band put out to promote it, this sums up the spirit of the age in which it was released for how silly it was, while also featuring good music just frequently enough to make it a worthy purchase.
|other reviews of this album|
I still really enjoy this album. Granted it's nowhere near the band's best output (probably due to them being one of the biggest bands in the world at the time and thus reaping the beneficial windfall that comes with such a title, as in drugs) but it's still a solid, if a little inconsistent album. Lot of people just got pissed off that Oasis didn't pull off the "perfect trilogy"
"It's the sound of ... a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a fuck. There's no bass to
it at all; I don't know what happened to that ... And all the songs are really long and all the lyrics
are shit and for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there's a guitar riff in there in a
Wayne's World style." - Noel Gallgher
Album wails, fuck haters.
Album Rating: 3.0
I considered including that Noel Gallagher quote, but it crops up everywhere, so I knew someone else would end up posting it anyway
I think the three best albums Oasis did were their first two and Dig Out Your Soul...I probably like the other four fairly equally - I think all four are terribly uneven but have moments of utter brilliance for which I love them.
"It's the sound of ... a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a fuck. There's no bass to it at all; I don't know what happened to that ... And all the songs are really long and all the lyrics are shit and for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there's a guitar riff in there in a Wayne's World style." - Noel Gallgher
I think that is the best review I have read for the album, haha. Be Here Now was first (and last) Oasis album, I remember hearing it intensively, trying to find all the greatness this band was supposed to possess. Not a bad record at all, but I agree, it got ridiculous at some points. To this day, I have never listened to another Oasis album.
Album Rating: 3.0
"I remember hearing it intensively, trying to find all the greatness this band was supposed to possess"
- generally, that's what people did for the next two albums by Oasis too.
Considering how many people felt disappointed and let down by Be Here Now, it's surprising how well framed as a return to form the next album was. And the album after that. And even after people crowned Don't Believe the Truth their final recovery album, I was surprised people had given them another chance anyway.
I agree with you. Oasis was never, to me at least, a truly relevant band, aside from what the media tried to sell people. Oasis' music and *legacy* were heavily discussed back in the day, even when they never seemed to be able to record a great album again. I believe it has everything to do with Noel and Liam's personalities, for they always were entertaining for the public and press. Noel interviews were very often hilarious.
Album Rating: 3.0
Oh I felt those albums had merits, as I put in an above comment...I am just surprised how many second chances everyone else gave them, given the wider world were clearly not as keen on those albums as I was.
I don't really think, beyond the first album (which is incredible, and a unique piece of work) the band really have much of a legacy. Even though I love Morning Glory, it's not particularly innovative. Really well crafted pop rock, nothing more, nothing less. Their legacy is a selection of incredible songs - they weren't game changers, but they played the game well.
Agreed on interviews. Sometimes it's fun to buy into hype, I don't think it's always a bad thing.
Hahaha. We basically agree on everything. For me too, Oasis was a band who made amazing singles. "Champagne Supernova" made me a fan of the band, they were never really my type of music. And yet, I loved reading about them and the heated discussions they fueled. But, can you believe I never listened to their debut, aside from "Live Forever" and "Alcohol & Cigarettes"? I never thought it could be that good, especially when everyone was saying Morning Glory was their best. I might reconsider listening to it.
Album Rating: 3.0
There's a million ways to assess the difference in the sound, I would say the main difference is Definitely Maybe was written by a rock 'n' roll band, Morning Glory was written with hit singles and headlining stadiums in mind.
I advise "Bring it on Down" and "Sad Song" from the first album (Sad Song was a vinyl-only song, but t'internet means it's easy to find nowadays). The band wrote about the life they were living - the first album was dreaming of being rockstars, dealing with reality. Morning Glory was about starting to live the dream - the transition - and by Be Here Now they were just a million miles of reality, it had been too long since anything had brought them down and made them human again. Morning Glory probably felt better at the time, as it sounded like the band bringing you along for the ride, being part of that dream, and it was an album which promised wonderful times. Definitely Maybe has stood the test of time as it's not so caught up in that era.
I think Be Here Now was written for headlining the next Knebworth, the shows bigger than stadiums, and of course that just was never gonna happen.
Alright, you convinced me to give their first album a try. What you say makes complete sense; still it is a shame when a band cannot live to the expectations generated by their very first work. I guess this is when too much fame is not a good thing. Probably at some some I will come back with my impressions on the album.
Album Rating: 5.0
Be Here Now is one of my all-time favourite albums, and definitely better than the rest of the Oasis albums that followed it. Only Definitely Maybe and What's the Story surpassed this brilliantly overblown album, and only just at that.
Be Here Now is a snapshot of Britpop in full excess flow, and Oasis at their absolute peak in terms of fame, and this is reflected in the songs written during this period, including some of the superb B sides, `The Fame' being the best of all the songs released for Be Here Now and its singles.
It is an album unique in many ways. Produced on coke, and Oasis at their upmost arrogant, with an upbeat, ridiculously optimistic tempo throughout. Everything here is done to extremes - `D' you know what I mean?' sets the tone of the album, long, overblown, noisy....with its loudest song of all following. `My Big Mouth' is Oasis in full rock flow, mixed with countless angry guitars. `Magic Pie' is a let down, but `Stand By Me' makes up for it, with a classic rift combined with orchestra's, strings, violin's, making it the albums first true high point. This continues with the superb `I Hope I think I know'.
`All Around the World' is Oasis at their height, in full Beatle flow, and easily their most ambitious song of all time. Forget the rather cheesy lyrics. This song harks back to the nonsense mid 60's, I am a Walrus/Sgt. Pepper style, and its confident, crazy, OTT sound is awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, goosebumping, flag-waving, or will at the very least put a smile on your face.
No other band could have gotten away with writing such songs at that time. Oasis did, because they were the biggest band back then, and never was this reflected and captured more accurately than here.
The backlash months afterwards was probably more to do with the fact that nothing lasts forever, the Britpop party was over, and people needed someone to blame for the feelgood factor coming to an end. Once it did, Be Here Now suddenly sounded silly, and ridiculous, with its lengthy, loud, endless feedback noise, OTT ambitions, all-time high confidence, optimistic party mood. Shortly after its release, Princess Di met her demise to a shocked nation, and suddenly this album was wholly inappropiate, a wild guest turning up at a sombre party-turned-funeral.
But released at the time it was, the album captured the mood of the nation perfectly, albeit briefly. Want a taste of fame, fortune, rock star lifestyle, drugs, booze, crazy days that make you shine. Look no further than Be Here Now....
Album Rating: 2.0
^I don't know if I'd go as far to say that this was better than their later albums. All Around the World is good, but it has no reason to be over 9 minutes, and then also have a reprise. I think Noel said that no one told them to cut down the songs because of the success they had with Morning Glory.