Oasis came out swinging. I mean, a lot of bands try and come out swinging and some do a pretty good job. But few bands come out swinging like Oasis did and I don’t think many bands ever will. It’s just something every single musician will have to accept.
The band, led by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, were cocky, confident, cocky again, and full of swagger when they emerged from the mean streets of Manchester, England in the early part of the 1990s. If memory serves, they claimed that they’d be bigger than The Beatles. Spoiler: they would not, although to be fair, Oasis did get pretty damn big and had a hell of a run throughout the latter part of the decade, peaking with the release of their massive second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? They would never again match the heights they achieved with that album but that never stopped them from trying. They would go on to release six more albums before disbanding in 2009 because despite being brothers, Noel and Liam might also be sworn enemies and for the good of mankind, best if kept apart from one another.
Yet despite officially breaking up over a decade ago, Oasis has managed to stay relevant, due in no small part to the endless very public spats between the brothers with the most recent one taking a truly wild turn that I’m all for. Recently, a new film documenting the band’s legendary 1996 concerts at Knebworth was released, marking the 25th anniversary of the shows that drew roughly 250,000 people. This renewed interest in the band has again sparked rumors of the band getting back together and Noel has even said he’d be interested provided his brother, who he claims is “a hologram” would be there.
See? Never dull, boys.
Let’s take a look at the band’s 25 best songs, a list you can also find here.
25. “Rockin’ Chair” (1998)
“Rockin’ Chair” comes from the 1998 b-sides compilation The Masterplan and is one of those instances where a band releases a b-side and you’re like, but why? How did this song not make the cut? The song is bright and lively with some air underneath it in a way that’s rarely the case with Oasis tunes. I don’t know, maybe it was too nice? Hard to say. I’m not here to get inside Noel Gallagher’s head. That seems dangerous.
24. “Magic Pie” (1997)
Listen, third albums can be tricky, especially if the first two albums are the monsters that Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? were. And it’s not as if Oasis slowed down much during this time either, essentially burning the candle at both ends since 1994. Be Here Now is sprawling, but not necessarily in a good way and while “Magic Pie” is full of some solid twists and turns, it couldn’t hurt if the boys trimmed it down by a minute or two.
23. “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” (2007)
Oasis were at their best when they embraced their love of rock history and didn’t run from their influences, which truth be told, they didn’t do all that often. But even still, “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” is a delightful 60s-vibing, rock stomper and was reportedly bumped from 2005’s Don’t Believe the Truth in order to cut down on the number of songs sung by Noel. Kind of a lame reason if you ask me. It seems to me that you’d want to keep a song like this one on an album.
22. “Roll With It” (1995)
I’d love to talk about the song but I’m watching the video right now and it’s very distracting. It looks like the kind of video someone would make now with the intention of making it feel like a video that came out in 1995. I don’t know. I’d love to maybe, roll with it but I can’t and would have to agree that “it’s all too much for me to take.”
21. “The Hindu Times” (2002)
Released as the band was set to kick off their second decade, “The Hindu Times” sounds like a grown-up version of a song that might have appeared on one of their earlier albums, especially Definitely Maybe. There’s nothing super complicated about the song but it flows in the way the best Oasis tunes do in that it has a real solid, swagger-fueled swing to it. It’s also a song that might have given fans hope that the band was still going strong when indications were there that that might not totally be the case.
20. “Don’t Go Away” (1997)
Oasis could always get you emotional at times, occasionally dropping songs that were perfect for starring blankly out a window on a rainy day, contemplating recent life choices, or sudden heartbreak. I would add that again, weird effin’ video, man but who knows, maybe that’s their thing. We all have ’em. I say “dude” too much, Oasis made weird videos. Maybe I should just write about Oasis videos instead of their songs?
19. “Married With Children” (1994)
Did I play a lot of air guitar and lip-synch to this song when listening to it back in high school? Yes. Absolutely. Countless times. Next question, please.
18. “Talk Tonight” (1998)
For someone who oozes confidence and cockiness like Noel effin’ Gallagher, it’s almost disarming to hear him be so vulnerable on “Talk Tonight,” a song that was written at a time when Noel was seriously considering leaving the band. A soft and tender acoustic ballad, “Talk Tonight” has Noel wrestling with a fear of failure and a desire to make amends, which again, does not seem to be things Noel effin’ Gallagher would be down to talk about but the result is a beautifully, stripped-down tune that probably should be ranked higher on this list.
And you know, yeah, it should. I’m bumping it up to number 6. Pretend this never happened.
18. “Lyla” (2005)
Full disclosure here: I have heard “Lyla” countless times on the radio but only recently realized it was Oasis, which is kind of funny because it 100% sounds like Oasis and now I suppose that I probably knew that it was Oasis all along but never cared enough to put two and two together. I mean, you’re driving in your car, you have the radio on and songs are playing; you’re only half-listening most of the time. BUT, now that I know it’s Oasis and have listened to it a few times knowing it’s Oasis, I have to say, it’s a great Oasis song that sounds like an older song by another group Oasis no doubt would have liked.
17. “Round Are Way” (1995)
Big fan of the horns on this song. In a weird way, this song reminds me of “The Underdog” by Spoon, probably because of how well each song uses horn sections and creates a 60s pop/rock sunshine vibe. And that would probably be the only time I find a way to compare Oasis to Spoon and vice versa.
16. “Morning Glory” (1995)
It’s almost criminal that this song isn’t the opening track on (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? because it would have been a fantastic opener. Again though, weird video, man. Are they playing too loudly and that’s why people keep coming to the door? Is their apartment in a storage facility because what’s up with the hallway? And my dudes, we don’t play with balls in the house so knock that shit off. Although I do like when Liam tries to do a trick with the ball and very clearly fails. It would definitely be the best part of the video if not for this shot:
Fantastic stuff right there.
15. “Gas Panic!” (2000)
Oasis’ 2000 album Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants was not an especially good album and that doesn’t even take into account that the phrase is “standing on the shoulders of giants” not “the shoulder of giants.” That’s nitpicking, though. After a wild few years there and three solid albums, they were bound to release a clunker. “Gas Panic!” is the one salvageable track from the album as well as an interesting exploration into the gas crisis of the late 1970s.
Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s about coke addiction and is reportedly named after a Tokyo bar.
14. “Slide Away” (1994)
“Slide Away” could be and maybe should be ranked higher but no, I already made one change. I’m sticking to my guns here because that’s what Noel effin’ Gallagher would do. “Slide Away” is a majestically, grand tune and a hell of a song to appear on a band’s first album. It has an air of maturity to it that you’d typically find later in a band’s career. The chorus explodes and soars as Liam’s vocals demonstrate why Noel found a way to put up with him over the years.
13. “Hey Now!” (1995)
This is ANOTHER song that could have opened (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? Imagine if a band made a whole album full of openers. So much energy and anticipation but where does it lead? Where do we go from here? Alas, those are questions for another day. “Hey Now!” is not a great song but it is a great Oasis song, especially one from the early part of their career. It’s fun to sing along to, never really changes gears, and much like eyebrows in the Gallagher family is rock solid.
12. “Supersonic” (1994)
Few things in life make as much sense together as Liam’s snotty-ass, cocky vocal delivery paired with the lines “I need to be myself/I can’t be no one else.” And that’s kind of funny because the lyrics in “Supersonic,” which was the band’s first single, don’t make any sense. This is due in no small part to Noel throwing them together at the last minute after a random jam became something worth keeping. My man threw down a hefty gin and tonic and went to work and well, at least the “I’m feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic” makes some sense now.
11. “The Shock Of The Lightning” (2008)
The band’s final album, 2008’s Dig Out Your Soul isn’t much to go back to, but it’s made more interesting when you listen to a song like “The Shock of the Lightning” and think about how it hints at potential directions Noel might go once he inevitably goes solo, which would happen a little over a year after the album’s release. There is some muscle to the track though and it drives in ways the majority of Oasis songs don’t.
10. “D’You Know What I Mean?” (1997)
Maybe it’s that music videos are weird, huh? Yeah, that could be it. The video for “D’You Know What I Mean” does look kind of cool, though. I’d have to think that a bulk of the budget was spent on the helicopters but money well spent because helicopters are dope. Anyone who has ever ridden in one will gladly tell you about it and you’d be down to listen because it’s a helicopter story, low key one of the best kinds of stories out there. Oh, but this song, it’s got a sweet vibe to it and thankfully, it opens Be Here Now. If not, it’d be yet another example of Oasis not using a great opening track to open an album and at some point, we’d have to address this troubling pattern of theirs.
9. “Cigarettes & Alcohol” (1994)
Does “Cigarettes & Alcohol” sound like something you might have heard before, especially if you’ve listened to classic rock? Yes. Yes, it does. However, does that make it any less of a booze-tastic, swash-buckling, big boot wearin’ rocker? Nope! Moving on!
8. “Some Might Say” (1995)
Part of what made early Oasis so much fun and so appealing was how they had songs that were easy like Sunday morning, kid. There was nothing overly complicated about them. They rocked, they were catchy and that was that. Case in point: “Some Might Say” off of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?. No one is running out to write lengthy think pieces about the song but plenty of us are enjoying the hell out of it while speeding down the highway and let’s be honest, that’s all that matters.
7. “Champagne Supernova” (1995)
Seventh? “Champagne Supernova” seventh? Come on now. No way, right? You can’t have Oasis’ seven-minute opus not even in the top 5, right? That feels like blasphemy which is totally cool to say because John Lennon once said that The Beatles were bigger than Jesus and Oasis set out to be bigger than The Beatles, thus making them also bigger than Jesus and so yeah, blasphemy is in play here.
Is it though? Seven minutes is a long time and couldn’t this song be just as good if not better if it were five minutes and then we’d have an extra two minutes to, I don’t know, pick up a hobby or something. Plus, “slowly walking down the hall/faster than a cannonball” doesn’t really make sense, no matter how hard you try and think about it. Cannonballs are fast. They are cannonballs. They get shot out of a cannon at ridiculously fast speeds. So how could you be walking slower than a cannonball? If that was the case, maybe you’re not walking slowly at all and that’s the point?
Ugh, this is a lot and the bottom line, songs generally shouldn’t be longer than six minutes unless it’s a live Phish tune.
6. “Talk Tonight” (1998)
Yeah, we’ve covered this already.
5. “The Masterplan” (1998)
This song was a B-side, meaning it was initially deemed not good enough to be included on one of their albums. I think that’s insane and oddly enough, so does Noel, who has repeatedly said that “The Masterplan” is one of the best songs he’s ever written. Noel says that he was talked out of including it on the band’s second album and instead, it was released as the B-side to “Wonderwall,” a move he has since come to regret. But it’s all good Noel because no one pays any mind to albums anymore, just songs. So thankfully “The Masterplan” has lived on.
4. “Acquiesce” (1998)
Oh cool, another B-side. No, wait, another B-side that should have totally been an A-side and I’m not even sure if that term is a thing or not. That’s not the point though. “Acquiesce” is a hell of a good song, one that sounds fantastic and even better the louder you play it. It’s a rafter-rattler and it dwarfs the A-side it accompanied, the fine but not nearly as good “Some Might Say.” The song is also a strong anthem for friendship with Noel belting out in the chorus “because we need each other/we believe in one another.” And it’s definitely about friendship and not about the relationship between Noel and Liam as Noal has insisted several times over the years. Cue: audience response.
3. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” (1994)
I love that the opening track on Oasis’ first album is called “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star. I love it. I love it so much. What a way to introduce yourselves, huh? And it’s a hell of an opener too, one of the best ever in my opinion. I’m sure it was wrecking ball too when they played it live, especially during those early years. Once they became rock stars it probably didn’t have the same fire to it at least lyrically, but musically, it’s damn near timeless.
2. “Wonderwall” (1995)
You know, when I sat down to start hashing this list out, I did think “Wonderwall” might be number one. It’s not, that should be pretty clear. I don’t think it’s the band’s best song although it’s probably their most important song as it cemented their place in rock music, not just at the time but forever. Because “Wonderwall” isn’t going anywhere. As long as people can figure out how to strum an acoustic guitar and carry a tune, “Wonderwall” will have a place in the world.
1. “Live Forever” (1994)
“Live Forever” comes in with those drums and soars from there. There wasn’t anything like “Live Forever” on the radio in 1994, something that felt so timeless and almost operatic and spiritual. It was the third single they released off of Definitely Maybe but for most people, it was the first Oasis song they heard and with that in mind, was a serious introduction to a band with serious intentions. Nearly every musician sets out with designs on being famous but with Oasis, it felt different from the jump. It wasn’t about being famous or being popular, it was about taking over the world. “Live Forever” is a song that marked out their path and cleared the lane. Oasis would most likely have gotten big even if they hadn’t released “Live Forever,” but their trajectory would have been different. “Live Forever” showed that they meant business and weren’t just all talk. They could back that talk up.