Throwback Thursday: ‘Definitely Maybe’ (1994)

Above: The cover of Oasis' debut album 'Definitely Maybe,' released in August 1994

What: Definitely Maybe

By: Oasis

When: August 30, 1994

Reason for the throwback:The more I write these columns every week, the more I feel like the curmudgeonly old man who starts every sentence with “Back when I was a kid…” or comments that “They don’t make (insert whatever) like they did back in my day” far too frequently.

But they don’t make albums like this anymore and back when I was a 14-year-old listening to the debut album from these lads from Manchester, I knew right away that I was listening to something that would stand the test of time. Even if you didn’t like Oasis right out of the gate – like if you were a Blur fan or hated quality music or took a while to warm up to the charms of The Brothers Gallagher – hearing Definitely Maybe signalled that the ripples Blur made a few months earlier when they released Parklife were going to turn into major waves.

This was the start of the ’90s British Invasion and like them or not, Oasis was a big, big part of what was a tremendous time in music.

Less than a decade ago, NME voted Definitely Maybe the greatest album of all time. That might be a little high, but there is no denying that this is an influential album and – even if you don’t want to heap all-time praise on Liam and Noel and the lot of them – an album that still stands up as incredibly enjoyable to listen to… unless you dislike melodic, punchy alt rock with a Mancunian twang.

Shake off your thoughts about Oasis – the current feelings you have (or don’t have) for a band that most agree could have been even better than they were if not for the constant clashes between obsessive Noel and his younger brother Liam, who made sure to live every minute of the rockstar life when he had the chance – and just take the album in on its own merits. Pull it up on your iPod, throw the CD in if you’ve still got it and just hit play…

“Rock `n’ Roll Star” is still the brash, pre-emptive declaration of where these boys believed they were headed; an evening anthem to be sung from the rafters that translates to anyone chasing their dream. This is a “speak it into reality” song that introduces a band with all kinds of swagger and moxie to the masses.

“Live Forever” comes from the opposite end of the spectrum. If the first song on the album is “We’re stars because we say we’re stars, no piss off,” the third song down the jacket is how they feel with far less booze in their system. This is “here’s what we really would like, if we’re being honest” and it still kick ass to this very day. Easily a all-time Top 5 Oasis song.

I could spend a couple thousand words talking about this album and the band as a whole, but you’d stop reading and my editor wouldn’t be too pleased, so I’ll try to sum things up as succicntly as possible:

Definitely Maybe is one of the essential albums of the ’90s. While the follow-up (What’s the Story) Morning Glory produced the bigger North American hits (Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back in Anger, Champagne Supernova), a colossal second album wouldn’t have been possible without a tremendous debut.

Go find this album and listen to it some from start to finish, no skipping, no shuffling.

They don’t make them like this any more.

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