Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Be. Here. Now. A Retrospective.

So, this entry comes as a response to the AV Club’s snobby, elitist, douchebag article that equated 1997 as the new 1967, listing a bunch of records I would never own, and apparently have no taste because of that fact. Hey, AV Club writers, we’ve already got a Pitchfork, get a new slant. Meanwhile, it got me thinking to that glorious year of 1997, and a record rich in taste. The taste of awesome…sprinkled with some cocaine.

Be Here Now came out in 1997, in so honor of its 10 year anniversary, I’m teaming up with the biggest Oasis fan this side of the pond, the one and only Michael P. Collins, for a little give and take, track by heavily-overdubbed track, of Oasis’ love letter to, um, something I’m sure, but who really can remember when you do all that coke. (Mike's responses are in italics)

D’you Know What I Mean? (7:44)-
Aces, just aces. Start with countless guitar overdubs (a running theme on this record), some backwards effects, maybe a little helicopter, some wah-wah, and just groove on it. We’re singing about Manchester, lads, so obviously we don’t need to get to the second verse until well into the third minute. Also, the tried and true Em-G-D-A (capo 2nd) is in effect here, as it was on previous hits.

I remember hearing this track for the first time on the radio and thinking “wow, that’s a long intro.” That is, until I heard the album version, which tacked on an additional 45 seconds of a car racing down the road—right into that long intro. What was that about? It’s easy to blame the cocaine for such excess (and rightly so). But think about this: three years before the band had no record deal. Fast forward that time and they’re the biggest band in the world, making one of the most anticipated records in years. So, if someone (Noel) announces, “eh ar’ let’s hav a fookin’ car on the album”, you nod yer head, and put yer money where yer mouth is.

But back to the track. Like Brett, I agree: this track is ace. I like how Noel sounds like he’s saying “fuck”. But it’s backwards so he isn’t. Who ever said Oasis wasn’t clever? Liam sounds pissed off on this one. Nice. I still think it’s a annoying that the chords ARE THE EXACT SAME used in “Wonderwall”. Also, Noel, lazy as he is, sticks two Beatles song titles in the lyrics—back to back. “The Fool on the Hill and I Feel Fine”. Genius? You decide.

My Big Mouth (5:02)-
When I bought this CD on the day it came out, I took it up to my room, slapped on a pair of headphones, and let the music do the talking. It worked for track 1. I’m not going to lie…about five seconds into this track, I skipped to track 3. I’m not the biggest My Big Mouth fan. I’ll let Michael weigh in on this one a little further.

I have to disagree. From day one (August 26, 1997-its on the album cover trainspotters!!) to the present, I have loved this song. Liam’s vocal is killer and the pre-chorus is the best Noel’s has ever written. I read somewhere that there are 33 rhythm guitar tracks on this track. Bonehead plays one of them. By the way, after the track ends, you’ve been listening to this record for 12:46 seconds. It’s a long ride.

Magic Pie (7:19)-
Now let’s remember its 1997, and I don’t know jack shit about music. Sure, I owned a bass (a beautiful one that I still rip it up on), and I could pluck a tune, but I was still learning my way around a song. So when I first heard Magic Pie…I was blown the fuck away. Sure, he’s singing about a magic pie, whatever the fuck that is, but the chord progression, the mood, the feedback, the Noel…it all worked. And it only took about five or six years to realize that this song is shit. Glorious, glorious shit. I love it.

Yeh, I never really liked this, notwithstanding the fact a friendship was started because of a discussion regarding this track (a firm handshake to Brett). The hit hat is too loud in the mix, which is saying a lot for Be Here Now. They put Stay Young here and they could have shifted another 500,000 copies and notched another half-star in a review or two.

Stand By Me (5:56)-
This was my favorite when I first heard the album. Liam snarls his ways through this one (I bet it was one take, I’d bet the farm) and Noel riffs his ways over everything. Verses, chorus, outro’s. EVERYTHING! In all seriousness, the string arrangement is class—an over looked fact. Oasis has always done strings tastefully.

Good tune. I don’t have any real emotional connection to this song, but if I remember correctly my brother loves it. This song, in title only, was also a huge hit for Ben E. King, but I’m sure Noel doesn’t give a shite.

I Hope, I Think, I Know (4:22)-
Not counting the All Around the World reprise, this is the shortest song on the record. I hadn’t listened to this one in a long time until now…and it still kicks ass.

This is the “Hey Now” of the record. Best line: “You’ll never forget my name”. Noel was too lazy (high) to write a second verse, so the first one is repeated twice—except the pronouns are different the second time around. Was that a game time decision. Me thinks, yes.

The Girl in the Dirty Shirt (5:47)-
This one falls in the Magic Pie category of me going absolutely apeshit when I first heard it. Who’s the girl in the dirty shirt? I dunno, but she inspired a cracking tune. That outro still gets me, with the slick keys in the background, and Noel’s high harmony (does he ever do a harmony that isn’t a high harmony?). Tops.

Agreed. Again, the pre-chorus is the best part. Noel was writing great pre-chorus’ then. For the record, the Girl in the Dirty Shirt was Noel’s first wife. Guess things weren’t going to well when the best thing he could say about his misses is that she wears a dirty shirt. They divorced in 2000. Love fades in and fades out doesn’t it………

Fade In-Out (6:52)-
…..what a segue way. This tune is awful and sounds like bad Bon Jovi (“Dead or Alive”). How long do we get to listen to the band hold on the D sus2 chord before Liam instructs to “get on the rollercoaster”? Too long. Next.

This one, like My Big Mouth, was a song I normally skipped over in 1997. Actually, 10 years later, I think I still skip over this one. But that’s Johnny Depp on the slide!

Don’t Go Away (4:48)-
Ballad. Single. Great. I used to think the lyric was “…cos I need more time, just to make these rhymes…” which I thought was bollocks. But it’s “…cos I need more time, just to make things right…” which makes a lot more sense. I was 16 and wet behind the ears.

Ah, that’s better. The best song on the album. Liam’s best vocal ever. And again, a class French horn arrangement. And I love how Noel removed his index finger off the last C chord. Listen for it in the left speaker. One more thing, there are sleigh bells on this track. Did anyone ever notice that?!

Be Here Now (5:13)-
Title track. “Your shit jokes remind me of Digsy’s.” Good whistle. I don’t really have much else to say about this one. Because…

“Flash your pan at the song that I’m singing. Touchdown bass, living on the run. Make no sweat of the hole that you’re digging”………

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

All Around the World (9:20!!!!)-
Cingular is now the new AT&T. Thank god, because now this song is immortal, which is how I felt when I first heard it. This is another one of my brother’s favorites. I mean, the song’s almost 10 minutes long. And there’s a reprise at the end of the record. Oasis! Oasis! Oasis!

Way too long. But a great track. Great horn arrangement too. I have Cingular, too. Any self respecting Oasis fan would.

It’s Gettin’ Better (Man!) (6:59)-
This is a great song. A truly great lost Oasis classic, with some decent lyrics for once. And how about the middle bit?! As close to a jam as Oasis would ever get. I would love to know how many times Noel and Liam sing “we’re getting better man”, at the end. 35 times, maybe?!
This one I always lump together with the title track. I don’t know why they always remind me of one another, they just do. Did this song need to be 7 minutes? Short answer: yes.

All Around the World (Reprise) (2:08)-
No Beatles influence here. Come on, what a fitting end to the biggest record of 1997. For the record, the only two tracks to make me and Mike’s Oasis Supermix where D’You Know What I Mean and All Around the World, but listening to it now, I wish we would have put the reprise on there too, as the last track.

Oasis never leaves you wanting more, do they? At least not here. The tune ends with the shutting of a door. The closing of an era perhaps? Maybe. I’d like to think it was the man driving the car at the beginning of “D’ya know what I mean?.” He arrived home. Exhausted. Listening to Be Here Now will do that. I bet he was thinking “Where is the bass?”

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