From the opening whirl of helicopter blades to the final closing of a door, Oasis'
upcoming album Be Here Now takes the listener on a Beatlesesque trip
through swirling, psychedelic sound the likes of which their fans have yet to
experience from the Gallagher boys.
Noel Gallagher promised all along that fans would be blown away by the
grandioseness of the group's third album, and, judging from the Phil Spector-like wall of sound he's cooked up on the majority of the dozen tracks, he wasn't
Due out Aug. 26, Be Here Now is something of a concept album, one that
could easily be subtitled The Importance of Being Noel: Fuck Earnest.
After all, with all the production, swirling guitars and sound effects, it's clear this
is Noel Gallagher's handiwork. In addition to painting a picture of a more mature,
self-confident Gallagher, nearly half the album, it seems, is his lyrical
attempt to come to grips with fame and fortune while at the same time holding
on to love amid the chaos.
Written and produced by the elder Gallagher and Oasis mastermind, the album
blasts off from the faint sounds of a helicopter taking off and far-away Morse
code beeps. Soon the listener is able to decipher the lead-off track, the already-
familiar first single of the LP, "D'You Know What I Mean?," almost eight minutes
of heavy-beat epic and guitar squall.
One of several songs with lyrical allusions to The Beatles ("the fool on the hill
and I feel fine"), the opening track does nothing less than posit Oasis as
the answer to your divine needs. "I met my maker and made him cry/ And on my
shoulder he asked me why/ His people won't fly through the storm/ I said 'listen
up man, they don't even know you're born,' " Liam Gallagher sings over brother
Noel's densest track to date.
"My Big Mouth"
The crash and bash of this song announces itself with an urgent T. Rex
splatter, the sound of the biggest pub band on the planet flexing their muscles.
In between more Beatles' lyrical nicks ("down the long and winding road... back
home to you") Liam Gallagher sings the first boastful, then self-deprecating
lyrics in his Johnny-Rotten-on-helium snarl: "My big mouth, my big name/ Who'll
put my shoes on while they're walking/ Slowly down the hall of fame?/ Into my
big mouth, you could fly a plane/ Who'll put my shoes on while they're walking."
The chaotic outro leads into more Morse code at the start of this next seven-
plus-minute epic, an acoustic guitar and piano ballad sung by Noel. The song,
which literally explodes into the second verse, all the while flirts with lyrical and
musical hints of the Beatles' "Dig A Pony" and "Hey Jude" and ends with a "A
Day In The Life"-type swirling drain hole of sounds and radio static.
"Stand By Me"
The sing-songy tune is a traditional Oasis grand ballad with the hand-
clap chorus, "Stand by me/ Nobody knows the way it's gonna be." In another
flash-look at the inescapable lives of rock stars, Noel pens the introspective
lyric, "If you're leaving will you take me with you/ I'm tired of talking on my
phone/ There is one thing I can never give you/ My heart can never be your
home." The song also contains what appears to be a sly aside meant to
acknowledge the constant Fab Four comparisons: "So what's a matter with
you?/ Sing me something new."
"I Hope, I Think, I Know"
This is the kind of rousing rock tune Oasis have built their reputation on, an up
tempo guitar jam that sounds like a garage band with a Charlatans UK fixation.
Noel stakes his claim for posterity in the song, in which Liam sings, "You're
gonna miss me when I'm not here/ And you know I don't care, you know I don't
care," ending the song by declaring, "Cos baby after all, you'll never forget my
"The Girl In The Dirty Shirt"
Yet another wall of guitars song, this deals with blocking out the world and
getting down to the business of love. The song breaks into a funky Mungo Jerry
("In the Summertime") boogie woogie organ riff near the end .
The next seven-minute epic (6:52 actually), this song opens with some
coughing sounds and subtly slides into a multiple-guitar pile-up with
acoustic in the right channel and electric in the left and a little bit of slide guitar
all over. The crossroads-style song chugs along in a more spare, atmospheric
vein, until about mid-way through, when Liam lets out a rebel yell scream that
propels it into a heavy jam with the full wall of sound production values.
"Don't Go Away" and "Be Here Now"
This is a restrained ballad about the pitfalls of fame, while the title
track bursts open with a guitar whine and maracas. The song soon settles into a
glammy T. Rex groove amid disembodied flutes, making for a (1964) British-
Invasion-meets-punk swagger. The song ends with the sound of water flowing
and something like a toilet flushing.
"All Around The World"
The lengthiest track at 9 minutes and 20 seconds, this acoustic tune opens as a
ballad, slowly building higher until even Noel can't make it any loftier.
Seemingly the elder Gallagher's attempt at a "Let It Be"-type ballad, with violins
swelling and the whole nine yards. However, the song's "na, na, na" refrain, as
sung by Liam, sounds more like a taunt than a rousing sing-along.
"It's Gettin' Better (Man!!!)"
The penultimate song is this seven-minute epic, a big, bruising Led Zeppelin-
type basher that mixes punk aggression with relentlessly upbeat lyrics such as
"Build something build a better place and call it home/ even if it means nothing
you'll never-ever feel that you're alone."
"All Around The World"
The album ends with this two-minute pomp and circumstance violin and brass
The latest Oasis trip brings you in for a landing. A door slams shut. The journey