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D'You Know What I Mean?
July 31, 2013 - Nicholas Terry
As a band, what do you do after you release two albums to critical acclaim, multiple singles that topped the charts around the world? Of course you release the most over bloated album that mirrors the excess the band was living in at the time. It's no wonder "Be Here Now" by Oasis is often overlooked by many people. However, I can argue that while it doesn't have a "Wonderwall", it's just as strong as it's predecessors, and warrants the recognition "Definitely Maybe" and "(What's the Story?) Morning Glory" got.
I'll start off by saying that I'm a big Oasis fan. Admittedly, I have not listened to that much this millennium, but that's largely because the band that made the albums I love was no longer intact. Noel Gallagher is a lyrical poet and philosopher. This coupled with Liam Gallagher as his mouthpiece makes the band something special. They needed each other to make the music they do. (See their respective recent solo efforts. Though Noel fared much better than his brother.) "Be Here Now" is a beast of an album clocking in at over 71 minutes. It's not as easily accessible as previous albums, but the songs are there. The minutes of waiting for "D'You Know What I Mean?" to finally kick in is agonizing, but the song rocks.
The thing about this album you have to understand is how the band was in turmoil. The band was always in turmoil, but that's besides the point. They were allowed to do whatever they wanted due to their success, and I think there's a little bit of fun the band has with the audience. They dared you to try to get through it knowing that some people would eat it up regardless. Liam always did what he wanted, even refusing to perform at the MTV Unplugged performance, but sat in the balcony and heckled the rest of the band as they performed. It's stories like this that you can't make up. It's rock and roll, you can't take everything so seriously.
Never the less, the band created some timeless tunes on this one. The first half of the album flows between slow ballad and mid tempo rock romper. "Stand By Me" is one of my personal favorite ballads they have, and "I Hope, I Think, I Know" is a rager that speaks to their critics. The B-Side to the album contains two songs that would be perfect if they just cut them down by half. "Don't Go Away" and "All Around the World" are great ballads, but no one told them to stop recording. But I digress, whose to say when a piece of art is really finished?
I have fond memories of this album, and maybe it's nostalgia getting the best of me, but I think the songs on here rival anything they've done. Oasis is a band that needs, and frankly deserves to be heard on musical talent alone. It's hard to ignore the off stage antics, but all bands want to be judged on the quality of their work. I think we forget that musicians are human beings like us with faults, and it's these faults that make life (and it's art) beautiful.
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