(What's The Story) Morning Glory?


Epic Records, 1995


REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Definitely Maybe was one of the greatest debut albums of all-time. Each song marked the arrival of a bunch of cocky, Beatles-worshipping, coked-up Brits. The album's excess (an obvious reflection of the band's) was the License to Ill of Brit-pop. If Definitely Maybe was the party, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? is the hangover. While Definitely Maybe was bragging about becoming rock and roll stars and doing white lines, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? sounds like someone who is coping with the morning after who heard it from another person that they were a total ass the night before: "did I say that?", "Was I that obnoxious?"

Luckily, the band doesn't lose any confidence on their sophomore effort. Their Beatles' worship definitely leans toward later-era Beatles with this album, especially with mega-production numbers like "Cast No Shadow", "Wonderwall" and of course, the epic "Champagne Supernova." Where Definitely Maybe rocked, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?moves.

It's no wonder that this was the album that gave Oasis a huge American audience ( my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Definitely Maybe barely cracked the top 50); the album was a huge hit on adult contemporary radio. The characters in "Wonderwall" sound like more like the life-weary characters that populate a Bonnie Raitt album: "backbeat the word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out." For the most part, the wide-eyed optimism of Oasis' debut is gone, replaced by kids who had to grow into adulthood faster than they ever anticipated.

"Don't Look Back in Anger" has to be both one of the most heartbreakingly written ballads of the last 20 years and one of the most underused karaoke songs of all time. The almost-shoegazing "Cast No Shadow" was inspired by The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft. The use of strings, pulsating percussion by Alan White and tide-wave guitar riffs by Noel Gallagher and Paul Arthurs somehow make these songs sound heroic statements, rather than sad bastard posturing.

There are plenty of sunny moments in …Morning Glory. "Roll With It" was the first song that initially got me into the band. "Hey Now!" may be a safe rocker, but Oasis were so gifted at this time, it was still miles away from what other rock bands were aiming for in the mid-90s. The only blemish to this album was "She's Electric" -- a nice enough ditty, but at the end, I was wanting to push 'stop' and put on The White Album. Of course, I can't do that -- not with "Champagne Supernova" waiting in the wings.

I can't say enough about "Champagne Supernova"; with the exception of "Bittersweet Symphony," and "Paranoid Android," it may be the best seven minutes of rock the '90s produced. And unlike "Bittersweet…" and "Paranoid…", the scope is dramatically scaled-back. The guitar-driven dynamics definitely make the song sound "important," but the sad narrative deals not with an epic life struggle or the battle between man vs. machine. Rather, it simply details that exact moment when a person hits that ugly transitioning pothole between being a kid and an adult.

Much like Radiohead, Oasis is defined by two back-to-back crowning achievements. And like Radiohead, both albums perfectly complement one another ( The Bends/ OK Computer being the obvious comparison). Unfortunately, for Oasis, Definitely Maybe and (What's the Story) Morning Glory? complemented each other too well. In so many ways, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?sounds like a career-capping album. At once, it's a grand testament of the band's (gulp) maturity and the answer to so many doubters who dismissed the band as Beatles' rip-off artists. With nothing left to prove, Oasis sadly languished after this statement.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-



© 2004 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.