#873: ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ – Oasis

The year was 1995, and Oasis managed to release the monstrous (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? at the beginning of October. The record was huge, featuring singles such as ‘Some Might Say‘, ‘Champagne Supernova‘, and of course, ‘Wonderwall‘, and would eventually go on to sell 22 million copies. But at the end of the day, when the hype behind the record settled down, there was only one question left; how the hell do you top that?

See, it was never going to be easy for Oasis to release a follow-up that could rival the massive success that the previous record got. As guitarist Noel Gallagher famously said,  Oasis were, at the time, “the biggest band in the world … bigger than, dare I say it, fucking God.” In fact, in August of 1996, the band had even performed two famous concerts in front of combined amount of 250,000 people, after a number of fans ten times that had applied for tickets. Understandably, the hype was pretty great, and expectations were high.

In late 1996, the group began to record the new record, and following a number of high profile events, such as Liam Gallagher being cautioned for cocaine possession, the group continued on as expected. By the time recording had wrapped up and the group were set to release the new record, the hype continued to grow.  Record executives tried hard to downplay the hype, aiming to present it as a usual, run-of-the-mill record, but with that much hype, it was hard to do so. Music was kept under lock and key to prevent bootlegging, and the album’s lead single, ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’, was only given to the radio one month before the album was released. By the time August 1997 rolled around, the group had released Be Here Now.

The album cover itself was the very image of excess, with the cover looking to make a very definitive statement about who the band were, complete with a Rolls Royce submerged in a swimming pool. Unfortunately, that’s how the rest of the world viewed the album too; bloated, excessive, and a little too big for its boots. Sure, some loved it, but at the end of the day, the record was deemed as a poor continuation to the previous record; unable to capture the individuality that they had previously made a name for themselves with. Some considered the group as having just pumped out more of the same – only less good.

Written by guitarist Noel Gallagher, the track was viewed by the group as amazing, with Noel going on record prior to its release and saying “I can’t believe I wrote it, it’s going to blow people away.” Sure, it was amazing, but was it just as good as their previous stuff? Well, I had always thought so. Sure, it lacked that certain je ne sais quoi that the group used previously, but it worked. They had disappointed plenty of people by releasing an ‘overindulgent’ record, but to me, it was pure Oasis.

I’ve always felt that the group were unfairly judged by Be Here Now. After all, if you’re going to let the Gallagher brothers roam free in a recording studio and then complain that the record was not what you expected, then you obviously had never heard of how unpredictable they could be. Some may complain about the record and its singles, but I do believe that if Oasis had delivered anything remotely different, their legacy would be nowhere to the level it is today.

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