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Old 2011.10.31, 03:55 PM   #51
Tokyo Jihad
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Question My stupid List (Wonder, Vulgar, Eccentric)

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#6: Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana

In the airy quiet that follows the opening clatter in my number 6 favorite album, you already know Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana is going to be an interesting listen. It takes all of 36 seconds for the heavy drums and fuzzed bass to crash through the orchestration of the album opener “Shuukyou” before you just might sit up in your chair. And at the 1 minute mark, when the orchestra overwhelms the track once more, you can’t but wonder where else Shiina Ringo’s third album can go; how an artist can stuff this mammoth at the front of an album.

The opening suite of the record transitions into “Doppleganger,” a pop song fitted with loops, drum machines paired with this album’s characteristic blown out drums, synths, and three year old samples from Shiina Ringo’s previous work, Shouso Strip. The song ramps up the tempo without compromising its off-kilter atmosphere by introducing some pitch shifted doubled vocals to substitute a choir. The album flow is given a hard shove by the bass bend intro of “Meisai.” Violin, bass, and guitar swirl and battle around the vocals, inevitably leading the song to implode into chaos leaving nothing left but for the artist to light a cigarette to bridge to the aching “Odaiji ni.” The fourth track swells with a solo piano and Ms. Ringo’s vocals screeching over little but the obfuscated sounds of a TV, as if the entire track was recorded by one left at home with only a television companion. Much of the album is said to have been recorded in the different rooms of Shiina Ringo’s house, this may be close to the truth.

In this series, I may not have often gone into such in-depth, and sensational, description of the arrangements and compositions for these 20 albums. That is because there are few albums that can compare to “KZK.” Most albums up to now have been fairly straightforward in what to expect sonically, even Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. This album is equal parts Dark Side of the Moon, Vespretine, and Chopin.

The television whispers transition into the lavishly orchestrated, pop-executed “Yattsuke Shigoto.” The song, a re-working of a song recorded a few years prior, is contrasted by it’s neighbor, “Kuki,” it too a song re-worked numbers of time. “Kuki,” along with the opening and closing tracks, is the tentpole of the entire record. Shifting from beautiful and sincere to intense and earnest, fully orchestrated at it’s beginning and finishing with a traditional rock 4-piece, “Kuki” is an epic.

I go into such details not because I enjoy talking so pretentiously about these tracks, but because this is how I listen to this record. I pick out each instrument, each non-instrument, and imagine how it was recorded, why it was recorded, who was the performer, what other “instruments” were considered and/or recorded in it’s place. The creation of this record mystifies me. What I spend much of my time pondering is the songs unadorned. The arrangements sound so central to each song’s composition, I always wonder where the seed of the songs are. A making of diary or something similar is something I would buy ten copies of.

The late-album suite features a number of unusual forms and arrangements. “Torikoshi Kurou” starts with a breath of levity following the previous track with some scat vocals used as the primary beat throughout the whole song. The track also features a roulette wheel of guest instruments. “Okonomi de” is a personal favorite, a smoky lounge act that features what is either a stressed violin or a nasaled screech that pierces through the middle of the track like an ambulance siren. Track 9, “Ishiki,” is probably the most straightforward ambling rock groove on the album -- if not for the woodwind and accompanying middle 8 breakdown. The penultimate track on the album is also unassuming. Upon closer look, “Poltergeist” is a very entertaining acid-trip waltz, constantly it teases and teeters between a good trip and a bad trip. Not overt in presentation, behind the plush strings is a constantly swirling, herky-jerk, pitched synth cascading up and down the scale at nauseating intervals. Never do I feel too confortable or calm listening closely. There is a just a peak at the end of a jaunty acoustic that teases a finale that couldn’t be farther removed from the few happy notes we just barely hear.

The closer resonates with “Shuukyou,” and “Kuki,” as mentioned before. The song title, “Souretsu,” translates to “funeral,” so you can guess what is in store. The many eastern instruments that adorn the track paint the picture that the song itself is floating down a proverbial River Styx (even without the translation.) As chaotic and powerful as Brian Wilson’s “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow,” and as unsettling and heavy as The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.” The moment at 3:47 when the organs of some sort of afterlife ring in is one of the most ear opening moments in music that I’ve heard. Just in case you hadn’t had your fill of anarchy on the record, Shiina Ringo pushes up the master volume fader to 11 as the track reaches it’s coda. -- That is, deafening silence. -- The fracas the song expectantly descends into is hard cuts to silence at the 44:44 mark of the album’s run time. It is a coda I cannot help but chuckle at every time, as if to say, “you got me again.”

Shiina Ringo has described this album as unchecked ego (or something to that effect.) Unchecked ego very rarely leads to work like Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana. I find there has to be a second ingredient in order to yield this type of album: confidence. I’ve heard reports and interviews that argue the contrary, but tell me that a track like “Meisai” or “Souretsu” is something pulled off by someone that doesn’t believe they have complete mastery over their medium.

Each track’s composition is impressive, the composition of the album as a whole is a marvel; how each track lends to the next. There is no doubt in my mind that Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana is one of the best albums of the 2000’s. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to earn the attention it deserves. In the west it is seen as an unknown record in a weird language no one understands, and even in Japan the album allegedly didn’t sell as well as hoped -- often the case for such progressive, experimental material as this. The price of admission may be fairly high for some audiences, but it is worthy ride. It is an album that deserves to be seated next to the Is This it’s, the Elephant’s, the Funeral’s, and the Stankonia’s of it’s day.
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Old 2011.11.21, 07:47 AM   #52
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Ok here we go! One album per artist, and no particular order, although I can say for sure KSK is my number 1 90% of the time. The rest is just too close to call!

Shiina Ringo KSK
NUMBER GIRL Shibuya ROCKTRANSFORMED Joutai
Happy End Kazemachi Roman
The Blue Hearts The Blue Hearts
Radiohead In Rainbows
Muse Origin of Symmetry
The Beatles Rubber soul
Nas Illmatic
Supercar Three Out Change
Pink Floyd Dark side of the Moon
Tom Waits Rain Dogs
Kanye West My beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Rin Toshite Shigure Inspiration is DEAD
Quruli Team Rock
Miles Davis Kind of Blue
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Old 2011.11.21, 07:55 AM   #53
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Btw really nice posts Tokyo Jihad! Some really nice reads, maybe when I have some more time I will also specify my choices a little better
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Old 2012.01.08, 08:18 PM   #54
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#5: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness


In 1994, a subtle move caused a seismic shift in the trend of popular music. The headline act for the ’94 Lollapalooza festival was set to be Nirvana – easily the biggest and most revered band on the scene. However, due to personnel issues that spring, Nirvana had to back out. The organizers had to promote another act as the headliner, but this decision proved to be more symbolic than it seemed at the time. This wasn’t just about Lollapalooza – this was Nirvana, the band whose album knocked off Michael Jackson on Billboard, the band that subverted rock and killed the hair band, the band that defied commercial expectations even at the great expense that it proved to be. Nirvana had abdicated it’s thrown, and now Lollapalooza was unwittingly dubbing an heir. They turned to the next act on the bill, and one of the hottest acts at the time, the Smashing Pumpkins.

The band was riding the wave of their sophomore smash, Siamese Dream, on the backs of big singles like “Today,” and “Disarm.” While Smashing Pumpkins was an acceptable alternative for Lollapalooza organizers, it didn’t sit as well with other acts on the bill. Kim Deal of The Breeders (and the Pixies,) in particular was irritated at the idea; she understood the symbolism and didn’t like it one bit. See, even then, Billy Corgan and the rest of the Pumpkins had a reputation. Questions of artistic integrity particularly swirled around the band; accusations of being sell outs were frequent. Many of the acts on the tour, who belonged to the subsection of grunge and underground music that were evolving into what would soon be dubbed “alternative,” were happy to make music affront to serving popular commercial appeal (including Nirvana.) The Pumpkins, who with “Today” had just experienced commercial success, made no qualms with seeking more. Ever the prideful Billy Corgan also wanted to prove his detractors wrong if he could while he was at it. As he stomped around aloof at the festival, he got to work.

For what my two cents are worth, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is a perfect record. It is huge: 2 discs, 28 songs, 2 solid hours, and don’t forget its companion piece The Aeroplane Flies High! It touches so many emotional states; every song is noteworthy and pulls you in a different direction. It is a huge album that launched the band into the stratosphere. Mellon Collie, the Smashing Pumpkins were the biggest rock band around – to visualize: after Siamese Dream the band was featured on Beavis & Butthead, after Mellon Collie the band was featured on The Simpsons. The Simpsons! (Homer even later referred to it as “the time I toured with the Smashing Pumpkins!”) Masterful songwriting, an ambitious and inclusive soundscape, critical recognition, and a huge bump in reputation, as well as a transcendent sound that passes the test of time are my metrics for a perfect album. Mellon Collie passes each handily (and only one other album on this list do I consider perfect, maybe two, but we’ll get to that later.)

The album was a bit above me when it debuted in late ’95, but I was very aware of it and the Smashing Pumpkins – even if I didn’t realize it. The name “Smashing Pumpkins,” “Today” and the video with the ice cream van and the man in the dress, all the Mellon Collie singles, and the iconic album art for Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie I was all very aware of, but for a good long while I had absolutely no idea that they were all related, let alone the product of one band. Needless to say it blew my mind when I found out. I picked up my copy of Mellon Collie in 8th grade, which would have made me 13 or 14. This is the appropriate age to experience this album. In fact, I think that in 9th grade high school orientation they should issue every student a copy. At that age, the Billy Corgan we hear on this record is speaking to directly to you. You are at that age where your angry and anxious at everything and lines like, “love is suicide,” “God is empty just like me,” “suffer my desire for you” and even a more advanced line like “speak to me in a language I can hear” precisely explicate what is deepest in your soul. (And then you grow up, realize these lines are overly hyperbolic and silly, but still secretly dig it.)

Mellon Collie may not be as personal a record as its predecessor, but I always felt that was because Billy Corgan was trying to channel something greater than his self. Soon after the album’s release he shaved his head and with his trademark Zero shirt (his “superhero costume”) looked as other worldly as you could find. Bolstered by his previous success, he approached the situation with almost fanatical confidence and wrote the album from the point of view as a kind of pied piper for all the misguided “fresh faced youths,” -- a rally cry of denouncement, rage, disgust, but also jubilation, excitement, and common weakness and failings. We don’t learn so much about Mr. Corgan so much as we do about yourself. Everyone can identify the moments in their life that “Zero,” “Here is no Why,” “In the Arms of Sleep” and even “XYU” or “Tales of a Scorched Earth” represent.

Mellon Collie is such an admirably bold statement. Every song has its place and serves a purpose on the album. While it’s not a particularly difficult album, my ear did need some experience to really adore some of the songs that I might have glossed over in high school. For instance, there will be times I just queue up “Cupid de Locke,” “Take me Down,” “We Only Come out at Night,” and “Farewell and Goodnight.”

This list is inevitably going to tell a mini-narrative of 90’s music simply because I’m just a 90’s guy. If Nevermind was act one, then Mellon Collie was act two (and act three…we’ll get to later.) Mellon Collie was the nudging of the grunge/alternative aesthetic back into the arenas and back into the commercial handlers that could never get a grip on Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Sonic Youth. Soon acts like Bush and Garbage would put an even shinier and sweeter coat on angst, and Live and even the Foo Fighters would spin grunge into a sound even your dad could like. The Pumpkin’s fellow lollapalooza contemporaries were at least a little right in their apprehension.

What I take away from Mellon Collie every time I hear it is what great feats someone can accomplish with some (or a lot) of self-assurance, and at least a little help. Unlike Siamese Dream, James Iha and D’arcy play on the songs so this more than any was a collective accomplishment. It’s an album that sounds like someone trying to conquer the world and emboldens me the listener that I could do it too. A lot of great albums sound imposing and otherworldly. Shiina Ringo’s Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana for example, is great in many similar ways to Mellon Collie, but not at any point do I feel “a person like me created this, and so can I.” The work is too intimidating. Mellon Collie sounds like a very small group of people, playing instruments that I’m mostly familiar with, and a voice that I understand (ignoring language barriers.) This album constantly inspires me to pick up a guitar and try my hand at it. I think that is one of the better qualities a piece of art can have. A perfect album.
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Old 2012.01.10, 09:16 AM   #55
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TJ, I'm hesitant to say how much I've enjoyed your annotated list because then you'd probably stop posting them. But I'll say it anyway.

Interesting to know your 90's concentration. My high school years were the late 80's and I was seriously into music then. Once I got into college, movies took over, and with few exceptions (Ringo, Eminem), my music sensibility is still stuck in the 80's. I mourned Michael Jackson way more than Kurt Cobain.
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Old 2012.01.15, 10:51 AM   #56
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Nice to have pictures / album covers too.

The 90s were the best decade for music, hands down...

edit@Jihad (and deadgrandma?): What's your favourite track on Doolittle...? I had this thing for Number 13 Baby and its ending for quite a while. And so I suppose do Deerhunter because Desire Lines sounds just like it.
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Old 2012.01.15, 02:46 PM   #57
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Mr. Grieves is da bomb

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Old 2012.01.15, 09:47 PM   #58
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70's Eno

No One Receiving

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Old 2012.01.26, 10:26 PM   #59
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#9: Bitte Orca

By late 2009, I was a long way from the comfortable rut I had for much the first decade of the new century. I was out of school, I had met my future fiancé (as of the time of this writing), and became adept at cooking my own meals (as in, not using a microwave.) With all these extra duties there was little opportunity for music listening. My musical sphere was as small as it had been in those ten years. Most of the bands I was into, 90’s holdovers, were putting out music that was decidedly “passed their prime.” I was no longer DJ-ing on the radio, and by that time the mainstream long since left me on the banks. About the only time I could “get my freak on” was in 3-5 song bursts in the car. (Is “get your freak on” still a thing?) I was ready for something new – and I had a fail proof plan. My hallowed tomes, the December “best of year” lists were trickling out, and it was only a matter of time for me to strike gold. One December night, I sat down to crawl through the lists, determined to find something to listen to, something new.

2009 was an interesting year for music. The de-facto big release that year was Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. I didn’t know too much about Animal Collective at the time, but I was fairly sure I wasn’t up to that level yet. On Pitchfork’s end of year list, behind MPP at number 2, was an album that had also caught my eye on Amazon’s list, The Dirty Projector’s Bitte Orca. It was time to dig deeper. I queued up the first track, “Cannibal Resource.” I sat there stunned.

What was I hearing? The song was amazing! It was schizophrenic, but everything stayed on the track. It was different from almost every other kind of music I listened to, but still had a tasty, crunchy guitar riff, like ones I was ever fond of. David Longstreth and the two backup singers each seemingly try to drown the other out. It was delicious. I turn next to the catchy single “Stillness is the Move” and following “Two Doves,” two contrasting songs each fronted by backup singers Amber Coffman and Angel Deeradorian. As I soared on the pair of tracks, I charged into the rest of the album…and into a wall.

Bitte Orca became the soundtrack of my 2010. The songs and sounds were present at every corner of that year because I would not let it go. I couldn’t dig every track, and for a long time I would listen for the three aforementioned tracks, but each pass I made I was picking up little tiny hooks from the rest of the songs and couldn’t quite put it away. The herky-jerky guitar refrain in “The Bride,” the circular pattern in “No Intention,” the noisy break down in “Useful Chamber,” and the noisier bridge that follows; yes, the album was slowly, very slowly revealing itself to me.
Slowly I understood the David Longstreth approach to music making. The maddening thing was that there were verses and choruses, which always seem to be the first things to go in music that’s left of center, but how each segment was constructed, how each instrument “worked” was spastic and almost hyperactive. One bar to the next, his guitar would jump from one serviceable hook the next, almost disregarding if the syncopations matched. The drums, the singing, both switch from hot to cold at the stop of a dime.

Up to that point, the most experimental record in my possession was The Soft Bulletin, which is structurally crazy-straightforward in comparison; most of my go-to music was still plainly Oasis or The Beatles. Bitte Orca was a huge leap for me. The album intrigued me, mystified me so, that when I finally could wrap my feeble mind around it I felt that I had conquered it. As it was the first “challenging” album I consumed, I wanted to conquer more. Bitte Orca opened a whole new world of possibilities for me. Soon, I’d give Arcade Fire another shot, and Embryonic. I’d listen to that Neutral Milk Hotel album I’d heard so much about; Animal Collective and Merriweather Post Pavilion no longer seemed so imposing (though, it still was when I got to it.) I was even ready try the Kanye album that was topping all the 2010 best of lists. None of these albums, and experiences, would I have approached without conquering Bitte Orca.

The truth is, I don’t know how much of an impact Bitte Orca really had on the world at large. For one, we’re still pretty close to its release; but even so likely not much of one, not with the likes of Merriweather Post anyway. It did launch The Dirty Projectors definitively to “indie stars” status and most people agree that it is a very good album. But in the world of my own, it is huge; it is a sign post album. In my head there is a “Before Bitte Orca” timeline and an “After Bitte Orca” timeline. Each segment is warranted, I don’t regret spending more time listening to straightforward records like The Man Who or Maybe you’ve Been Brainwashed too… (both of which are still awesome records) rather than listening to things like F#A# infinity or Endtroducing… But one also doesn’t normally start on the harder levels, and Bitte Orca was my gatekeeper that opened up the next level of my “musical journey.” All these new exciting musical possibilities have caused me to carve out more time in my adult schedule for them, even if my car is still my favorite venue for grooving to Bitte Orca.
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Old 2012.02.14, 04:36 PM   #60
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#3 (What's the Story?) Morning Glory

People that know me well may have been wondering where the heck was Oasis on my list so far. After all, with the “goes-without-saying” exception of The Beatles, Oasis is pretty much my unquestioned favorite band. Yet, I have not even briefly mentioned the Mancs once in this series. In any one of these “favorite albums” lists I’ve made in the last fifteen years or so, (What’s the Story?) Morning Glory essentially always held the top spot, my absolute favorite album for a very, very long time. So what’s the story? When I sat down to make this list, I knew MG was one of the big elephants in the room. I penciled it at #1 out of habit, but knew to do this right I had to really put it (and the rest of my top 5) under a microscope. But this isn’t an essay on why Morning Glory is inferior to X or Y, it’s a love letter on why I have such strong feelings towards the album and a band that questioning it not being #1 at all is a big deal, and that anyone that immediately writes off such a notion is a chump.


I have vivid, photographic memories of picking up Nevermind, First Band on the Moon, and Beatles for Sale and Abbey Road (my first Beatles’ albums) in my hands at the record store. I remember cracking open the jewel case of Mellon Collie, and even Oasis’ debut Definitely Maybe for the first time, flipping through the booklets and peeling out the shiny discs. I even remember the car ride home from picking up Morning Glory’s follow-up, Be Here Now. But I have no recollection of the day I picked up Morning Glory. It is possible I bought it and Definitely Maybe together, but I am not even really sure about that. All I know is that there was a time before I had that album, and a time when I did. There was no life changing first listening. What I do remember are the hundreds and hundreds of different times in my life where this record was playing. This album played through my CD stereo in my bedroom at my parent’s house; it played from my PC at my own apartment. It played from my black CD player on the car ride to my middle school, my red CD player as I waited for my ride home from highschool. It played from my Creative Zen xtra mp3 player as I trekked through colleges, jammed in my car through my Zune later on, and most recently via my turntable as I write this. I’m not just listing the different modes I’ve listened to this record; these are the vivid memories I have.


Listening to the LP copy is as close to “listening for the first time” as I come for an album I know front to back and all around. Maybe it’s the turntable, maybe it’s my new adult headphones but I feel I can really hear the instruments on this album for the first time. The full bodied guitars, the primal drum thumps (the certainly competent bass) hit me – but let’s face it, apart from some “inspired” (wink wink) riffs and guitar flourishes Oasis was never about musicianship or finely crafted production. Oasis was about, “Soooo Sally can wait…” and “Whats the story morning glory? Weeeell?” and “Where were you while we were getting hiiigh?”, and of course, come on, sing it with me now, “Because maaaybeeeeee….” Big sweeping hooks and melodies and choruses that maybe made you feel something that you weren’t sure what, but you damned well knew you felt it. Songs, songey-songs, that inspire anyone and everyone in the vicinity (be it car, pub, or stadium alike) to join in. As I’ve grown older, and grown a taste for more “sophisticated” music (your Dirty Projectors, your Arcade Fires) I still hold these songs and the Oasis-approach very dear. For as long as there have been Oasis fans, there have been Oasis detractors. It copies other, real, artists; it’s not very intellectual; music for stupid drunk people; the Gallagher’s are assholes and this somehow makes the music bad; they don’t rock hard enough to be cool; they rock too hard to be taken serious; their lyrics are insipid: all I’ve heard countless times and seem to be cached and ready to be spewed on any music forum where Oasis may be mentioned. Off stage (or just off stage) antics, as well as the lyrics are neither here nor there. As far as them borrowing a riff and building their own song around it, let’s not act as if these same “serious” artists don’t do the very same or that Noel Gallagher doesn’t readily admit his inspirations when asked. Sure Oasis aren’t out to explore new sonic territories and if someone can miss the point of The Dirty Projectors more avant garde tracks, or the droners of Animal Collective, then certainly others can fly too high over the point of Oasis. I can’t help but feel that there is something very valuable in making very inclusive songs that can unite people (without resorting to pandering buzzwords like “the club”, “swagger”, and “getting tipsy.”)


About those songs, Morning Glory is as fine of a collection of pop-rock songs as you are going to find. Openers “Hello” and “Roll With it” are rollers that you bobbing your head. Deep cuts like “Hey Now,” the cheeky “She’s Electric,” and the down tuned aching rest of “Cast no Shadow” are songs worth not skipping. Not that there aren’t songs you might be dying to skip right towards like the hard rocking title track, or the fist-in-air lead single “Some Might Say.” There are the out-and-out classics on the album: the soaring Noel-sung “Don’t Look Back in Anger” the brilliant, tired, second wind summoning “Champagne Supernova” – one of the most epic sing-along closers ever and of course there’s the song that gets its own paragraph.

If I ever dare to make a thorough “favorite songs” list, as Morning Glory was a heavy contender for #1 on this list, “Wonderwall” would be the even heavier favorite for #1 on that list. Though later, the band would focus on making at least one “Wonderwall”-ish song per album and grew adept at it, at the time Wonderwall was the exception to all Oasis songs. They had done insecure and sincere with “Live Forever” before it, but that was still a big rocker with a kick ass solo and all. Wonderwall went all in. Acoustic, an undulating cello, soft drums, a piano outro – a form so uncharacteristic of Oasis, singer Liam Gallagher refused for the band to play acoustic, meaning the song was only properly played live a handful of times. (Of course, the song was still nearly always played live, just in an electric dress.) I know I’ve said the Gallagher’s extra-curricular behavior doesn’t factor into the music, but in the case of Wonderwall, it really adds to the song. With Oasis’ trademark swagger and attitude, the respite from it on Wonderwall sells the song and sells the meaning of it. Like this “asshole” really does “need” the subject of the song if he is going to musically disrobe like this. You buy it, I buy it. I think it’s one of the greatest, most effective, love songs and one of the best songs of all time.


Now of course, part of how you feel about these songs and this album depends about how you feel about the whole band. Many people hold a great disdain for the band for reasons stated above and also the idea that they arrogantly thought they were “the best band in the world,” “bigger than The Beatles,” etc. I was in middle school when I got into Oasis, and even I knew this was all just posture. I am a huge Beatles fan, they are reportedly big Beatles fans, and I highly doubt they literally believe what they say. But what else would they say, why would they say anything otherwise? “Oh, we’ll probably share a paragraph in the history books with Blur and The Verve!” Come now. This was, as I dubbed previously, act II of the 90’s. Kurt Cobain killed the rock star and in their places filled his ilk – who wanted to also be rock stars (Billy Corgan, Oasis, et all.) Politeness and humility wasn’t going to get you anywhere. “If you tell everyone in the world…half of them are going to believe you.” The Oasis mindset always made sense to me. They weren’t interested in making friends or playing nice, yet made music that as many people as possible could enjoy. In a way it’s that “confidence” that rubs off, in spite of Wonderwall’s sincerity, who feels insecure or weak listening to Some Might Say. In a way, Oasis kind of becomes a Superman you want to be more like. I want to feel bigger than the Beatles, I want to shave my head and have it be front page news (and yet with facebook, here we are) I want to walk slowly down the hall, faster than a canon ball. Though what makes it, again, is Wonderwall. It’s that crack in the veneer that shows you that they are insecure guys with petty troubles too and the whole “Oasis” thing is just an act, an oasis itself. You know they are probably more like you than you know – and that makes you and that makes them, the whole act stronger.


I’ve come a long way from the first time I played Morning Glory (whenever that was) and I’ve learned more about music since. I know there is not a whole lot of subtext or texture at all to play with on this record. I know the two untitled interstitial clips on the album don’t serve much of a purpose and seem like a weak attempt to tie together the album in to something “more” (not that that’s necessary, or that I ever really thought otherwise.) But for all that it is not; it excels at what it is and is the definitive Britpop album (for what it’s worth.) I spent a good chunk of my life listening to this album, probably more than any other – and I don’t think you can do that with any record. I don’t think a person is always in the mood to hear Kid A or something like Soft Bulletin or Loveless. But Morning Glory is dependably accessible, and that’s worth something. It is invigorating, inspiring, and inclusive. I’m mad for it (hyuck.) Is it a perfect album? No, its not. But that can be a very good thing. In fact next time I’m going to talk about an album so imperfect that it became the namesake for a whole type of album.
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