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Definitely Maybe Is Still The Best Album I've Ever Heard

by Adam Summerton
26 February 2014 46 Comments

How Oasis' debut album transports me back to youthful days of warm lager, and teenage swagger...

For 51 minutes and 57 seconds on Thursday night (two years ago now – Ed) it was like I was a teenager again – I felt completely free, indestructible, without a care in the world and desperate to get my hands on a tambourine that’s been in the loft for far too long.

A family man in his early thirties spending an ordinary evening at home, suddenly and unexpectedly transported back to the mid-90s and a marvelous misspent youth.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt like that as Radio One DJ Zane Lowe dedicated his show to Oasis’ debut album Definitely Maybe, playing it in full and evoking dormant magical memories.

Just for those 52 minutes it was like I didn’t have responsibilities, no mortgage to pay, no-one relying on me – transported back to a time when all I cared about was whether me and the lads had enough cash for a 20 deck of Regal and a crate of XXXX.

Definitely Maybe has always been my favourite album, a collection of songs that are the soundtrack of a generation – every track a good one, all have stood the test of time.

I love it just as much now as when I first heard Live Forever on ITV’s Chart Show, or when I sat in front of the TV mesmerised by the band’s legendary performance on The Word, when Liam swaggered his way through Supersonic.


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The quality of the music was the main pull, but I remember being seduced by that on-stage attitude – Liam in particular just didn’t seem to give a toss, doing what he liked when he liked, no rules, no-one telling him what to do – every teenage boys dream.

Tambourine in hand, snarling the lyrics – arrogant and rebellious, but loved for it – so many times I’ve wondered what that must be like.

These were working class lads living the dream – elevated to superstardom by a truly stunning debut album that evoked memories of the Beatles for some, but for those of us way too young for that it signaled the start of an exciting new era of music.

Anthemic songs that we could call our own, this was our generation writing it’s own soundtrack, not relying on rehashed ballads from a by-gone era – right from the moment it filled the shelves of Our Price for the first time Definitely Maybe was always going to be an album that would stand the test of time.

Who’d have thought that all these years late there’d be a whole new generation of kids, known as ‘neets’ now, who can relate to the lyric – ‘Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job when there’s nothing worth working for?’

Often in those mid-nineties I remember looking through my own teenage haze into the future, wondering whether I’d ever be Married With Children and whether the lyrics would make sense then.

I’m there now and I can see where the Gallaghers were coming from, but thankfully she’s not into shitty music, isn’t sarcastic and doesn’t think everything she’s done is fantastic.

If you like it, Pass it on

image descriptionCOMMENTS

Stottiecakes 9:48 am, 26-Nov-2011

A Sherman tank of an album for sure. They arrived post grunge and before Britpop had taken hold. Swagger and Manchester are a good mix, BUT I wish they had toned down their Beatles influences. Plus their solo stuff is utter utter crap, played by playlist driven radio. Beady Eye is everything that's wrong with music. Top tip , but the new Tom Waits album!

amancalledbuck 12:56 pm, 26-Nov-2011

I can't muster much enthusiasm for it, these days. It seems really hollow and empty.

Tom 1:35 pm, 26-Nov-2011

I cant see any Beatles Influences in Definitely Maybe. Its more influenced by Punk Rock

H 1:37 pm, 26-Nov-2011

You really need to listen to some more music mate. Best album you ever heard, I feel for you, I really do. Oasis are a pub band, for people that drink pub lager(fosters, carling), sniff pub coke, in their new super dry jacket. The only thing they had going for them was simplistic choruses that any thick cunt can sing along to. It always staggers me how people genuinely think Noel Gallagher is the greatest songwriter of all time. Mate get some Hendrix, Zep, Gaye, fuck it even blur in your life, for your sake, not mine.

Varkko 1:52 pm, 26-Nov-2011

I have to agree with two of the comments above. If this is the best you've heard, you either haven't heard much or dont know your arse from your elbow. The new Tom Waits album defecates on the whole Gallagher back catalogue, and its not even his best album.

Mongalong 2:10 pm, 26-Nov-2011

"I cant see any Beatles Influences in Definitely Maybe. Its more influenced by Punk Rock" ha ha, very amusing

Andy Southgate 2:18 pm, 26-Nov-2011

I haven't even bothered to read the article, but if in it, as the headline suggests, you advocate Definitely Maybe as the best album you have ever heard you really should get some more music. I actually think it's the best Oasis album but best ever? If that's what you really think you are entitled to your view but fuck me, I find it hard to believe how anyone could arrive at that conclusion. Mind you, I find Sarah Palin hard to believe as well, so takes all sorts.

The Doog 2:42 pm, 26-Nov-2011

Jeeeeeez there are some nasty little people around. The point of any music is the emotions it envokes in YOU and how it relates to your life. You may think another album is better, fine. I don't think it's the best album I've ever heard, but that doesn't mean it isn't his. I enjoyed his passion, how it made him feel. Isn't that what makes music so great? It transports you someplace different. That can be both an experience shared with 50,000 or something very personal with just your headphones on. And if you have to comment on a blog just to slate their musical taste - particularly if you haven't read the article - then I feel for all the people in your life who have to put up with your bitterness. Finally, and this is for 'H' in particular....are you the 'H' out of Steps? Because you seem a right arrogant tool whose intelligence reaches as far as copying and pasting stereotypes out of the Daily Star.

oscar 2:44 pm, 26-Nov-2011

Definitely Maybe is the best album ever made, Soccer AM is the best tv program ever made, Chris Moyles' banter is genius and Stone Island is the best clothes label ever. Oasis, live forever!

Lloyd 2:54 pm, 26-Nov-2011

H, That album summed up the frustration of a post Thatcherite generation, why do you think kids are listening to it again and finding meaning in there with another Tory government in power? Cigarettes and alcohol with it's opening line, "is it worth the aggrevation, to find yourself a job when there's nothing worth working for?" sums up exactly what a disenfrachised youth with no prospects must be feeling right now, just like in the 80's. Aside from the politics Noel Gallagher just writes great pop songs and the fact that the anthemic choruses just make people want to sing along to them is a positive in my book, not a negative. What staggers me is when people like yourself can't see beyond what you perceive an Oasis fan to be. You feel you can't like Oasis because that would lump you in with pub coke sniffers, when in actual fact, people who are secure with themselves can just appreciate great song-smithery without getting caught up in all the tribal bullshit. All your comments show is your ignorance and an inability to see past the immediate and obvious. When you break down Oasis songs you find subtle arrangements, beautiful melodies, great lyrics and excellent musicianship. When you put it all together again you've just got a great three and a half minute pop song. If you don't like Oasis, don't read articles about them. Maybe just stick to listening to your old steps records, eh, H?

James 3:12 pm, 26-Nov-2011

Definitely Maybe is and always will be colossal. Any album that has the musical and social importance that it defines a decade cannot be considered anything other than brilliant. Coming along at a time when British music needed to find its identity again Oasis did what all great bands do, based their output on their musical roots and then developed it to their own opinions and surroundings. Although this does lead to a heavy Beatles influence I personally do not have issue with this, if you are going to have an influence it might as well be the best, Brazil 1970 not Shrewsbury 1992-93.

James 3:14 pm, 26-Nov-2011

Also any man with name the Mongalong does not deserve an opinion on anything as he is clearly a top draw tit.

Andy Southgate 5:01 pm, 26-Nov-2011

The Doog - I find your comments grossly exaggerated, I didn't read the article because I didn't want to. That is my choice and I'm free to exercise it. I also did not at any point attack the author personally and have no wish to. I merely expressed bemusement at his choice of favourite album. I stand by my comment on the basis that with all the other stuff available, that Definitely Maybe is the choice the author has made. It's really difficult for me to comprehend. However, it is his choice and his opinion and that is what makes the world great. Your accusation of bitterness is both unfounded and asinine.

The Doog 5:25 pm, 26-Nov-2011

You bothering to comment twice on an article you haven't even read obviously means you like the sound of your own keyboard too much.

Andy Southgate 5:31 pm, 26-Nov-2011

How do you know? Also, why give yourself a pseudonym? Obviously it means you lack the substance to post under your real name. See, anyone can make ridiculous judgements about another's character without ever having met them or knowing anything about them. Dear God.

Marco 10:17 pm, 26-Nov-2011

most overrated album ever. even Be Here Now is better.

Roy w 10:45 pm, 26-Nov-2011

Listened to the show until the album came on simply cause ive heard it too much. Its maybe not the best album ever made but it is for me. Nah i still choose pills, thrills & bellaches.

Johnny L 11:49 pm, 26-Nov-2011

Fair play to Adam, it's his fav album. A lad in his 30s I can see that. Like someone in his early 40s might go for The Stone Roses first album or Meat Is Murder or someone a bit older might go for London Calling. It's what it means to him. I think it's a good album, it shock things up a bit when it came out. It was a breath of fresh air and it's stood up well over the years. I didn't get the Beatles comparisons until the next album, DM was punky in a sneering sort of way, it had that spirit of we can do it what's so fucking hard about making music. Tom Waits is a big time love hate type recommendation. Nobody ever says yeah he's not bad...

E 1:14 am, 27-Nov-2011

It is a great album . Music is personal taste. Noel and Liam are cunts but I still love them .

Y.X 2:01 am, 27-Nov-2011

Definitely Maybe is one of the greatest albums of all time, and my personal favorite as well. I've listened to Zep, Hendrix, and those are great albums but they don't have the sheer song quality displayed on Definitely Maybe. C'mon an album with Rock N Roll Star, Live Forever, Supersonic, Columbia, Slide Away? all on the same album? anybody who doesn't like this album doesn't know **** about music. Sure Oasis were crap after about 1997 but 1994 they were ridiculous. and i was born in 1991 so its not just a generational thing

Daryll Hilton 7:41 am, 27-Nov-2011

Ignore the music snobs Adam. I absolutely love those first two Oasis albums . Don't know why folk got so offended by your choice .You like what you like.

Hillian 9:11 am, 27-Nov-2011

Daryll, maybe because it is so offensively shit? Just a guess. When him and his mates were waddling off down the park to shout along to an idiotic collection of sub beatles nursery rhyme level bullocks some of us watched history being written

H 2:29 pm, 27-Nov-2011

Well, well well, no surprises here form the oasis "lads", if you have the temerity to criticise oasis, sit back and await the delusional shit that will inevitably arrive and boy you haven't disappointed. Oasis didn't herald in a new era, they were the fag end of the madchester scene, producing shite that probably wouldn't have made the charlatans recording studio. Lloyd your comment is hilarious, its the equivalent of someone from the 70's saying Showaddywaddy were the voice of that generation totally ignorant of the emerging punk scene. The post Thatcherite generation didn't need a voice, they were the voice. In bedrooms up & down the land, new music was being produced & played out in the warehouses and fields of the u.k. 10th hand recordings of Top Buzz, Spiral Tribe, Rat Pack, sasha etc etc we're the sound track of the generation Acts passed in parliament to stop "the threat" of kids of all classes, creeds, colours, rural & urban from coming together Oasis we're the voice of a generation, the generation that needed its music reviewed, hyped up in the pages of NME, Melody Maker and The Face. Easily accesible on the airwaves and on the shelves of our price and HMV. A modern day status quo, with catchy riffs and choruses. I had the copy of The Face which had Liam on the cover and heralded them as the new Pistols or Beatles. The real story though was a few pages on, about the emerging Drum & Bass scene. That was the real story of that time The sound for middle class kids, who thought it was edgy to walk like a constipated silverback and grow their hair like mods, again! Ask any mancunian worth their salt from this era & they will tell you Noel Gallagher was little more then a guitar man for the Inspiral Carpets and Oasis we're a band from south of manchester. stick with what you think were the seminal sounds of the early to mid 90's, i know different. P.S H is short for Harry, my forename. Sorry i couldn't think of anything "ledgy" of "epic" like doogmeister or something, but i've been called H along time before steps and a long time after. at least steps and their fans accept what their music was, pop music. I just wish oasis fans would accept that there music was just a slightly more edgy/rocky version of hanson. Anyway, things pale into insignificance, just heard the sad sad news about Gary Speed. I Wont forget the Young Swash buckler, with the ravers hair at leeds. Was probably my favourite non Bristol city/ Arsenal player for a time. RIP, you will be missed and thanks for the memories

Daryll Hilton 3:12 pm, 27-Nov-2011

H. My point is , if somebody loves Quo, Queen, even Barry Manilow then who am I or you to argue. I personally don't like drum and bass. BUT that doesn't make it Shit. It just means I'm not into it. RIP Gary Speed.

H 3:46 pm, 27-Nov-2011

Thats not my point. I hate it when people offer up Oasis as the sound and voice of my/that generation. This is wholly and completely wrong. All oasis were, was the most popular generic guitar band at the time, but in a media dominated by middle class indie kids, this must mean they were the sound of a whole generation. Wrong!

Y.X 10:57 pm, 27-Nov-2011

Even if you don't like Oasis, 2.6 million people applied for tickets to their show at Knebworth. If they aren't the voice of a generation to you, they sure as hell were to a lot of other people and that's a fact. No drum n bass group was capable of writing songs like Live Forever, Some Might Say.... etc. I don't get it when people rip Oasis for being a guitar band and writing catchy tunes.... what else are you supposed to do if you're a guitar band? write uncatchy tunes? like the carpets? they couldn't write a decent pop hook to save their lives. It takes REAL talent to write a great vocal melody.

Y.X 11:00 pm, 27-Nov-2011

If people knew anything about music theory, they'd realize the Status Quo comparisons are just stupid. Every Status Quo song is based on the same cliche blues riff. It's like they've never even heard of other chords besides I-IV-V.

Rob 5:12 pm, 1-Dec-2011

It Could be worse - We could all be of the generation that will have X factor twats to look back on as the music of our generation...

ric 6:52 pm, 1-Dec-2011

I'm not an Oasis fan, but i can see how any band can be fondly remembered by those who felt that they identified with or were a part of a scene in some way by listening to songs about teenage rebellion. Every generation has had bands that teenagers can project their own dreams onto - obviously, for a large number of kids Oasis became that band, that obsession. The Gallaghers took every opportunity to prove (albeit in a rather loutish manner) that they lived for rock n' roll, even if for many of us their music sounded rather dumbed down. But that was the point, and that simplistic songwriting style, with its sloppy rhyming and borrowed chord progressions was crucial to their success. They wrote anthems that people felt they already knew, they sold a lot of records, and they made a lot of people happy - nothing wrong with that even if we don't all agree on the quality of the record! Equally, not every kid was listening to 'Grooverider and Fabio' cassettes in their bedrooms H. Underground Jungle and Rave culture grew out of a completely seperate mould and was less 'f*ck you!' and more 'let's 'ave it!' than the indie band scene. The early to mid nineties were genre splitting, experimental, exciting and unpredictable, and the defenitions of what musical scene you were into became as blurred as the sounds themselves. People who liked alt rock suddenly got into stoner rap, and ravers fell in love with guitar bands. Spiral Tribers and grunge kids alike danced the night away to 'Trip to the moon' in front of Joe Bananas blanket stall at many a festival. I think Adam sums up how i feel about Oasis when he mentions how he discovered them on the ITV1 Chart Show. The album had been around for a good while by the time they made the charts, but the mainstream 'straight' audience that the Chart Show performance gained them would never have been pulled from the indie discos and toilet venues up and down the UK. I noticed a huge change in the crowds attending indie nights over that period. Shirts and jeans 'footie lads' were suddenly launching themselves into the mosh pit, scattering scruffy goth and punk kids away to start up their own niche club nights. Oasis pretty much killed the indie disco for a lot of people back in 1994/5. But then musical taste is not neccesarily dictated by quality - One man's Chopin is another man's Shitmat. ps. Y.X - Listen again to 'She comes in the fall' and tell me that the Inspirals can't write a pop hook! I should imagine that their music played a big part in teaching Oasis how to craft a pop song. PPS. RE Quo comparisons - surely the heirs to TRex's back catalogue are owed a bit of cash from Noel and Liam? 'Lets get it on'/ 'Cigarettes and Alcohol' anyone?

YellowPeril 11:13 pm, 6-Dec-2011

When Oasis first came out I didn't really give them too much time. I still hadn't got over my Nirvana, Mudhoney hangover. But when I got round to them I liked it. Not that original, when I listened to cigarettes & alcohol I would think early Slade with Johnny Rotten as singer. Which was fine by me as they were amongst the first bands I got into

Mav 6:31 pm, 25-Aug-2012

I'm a little late to this party but Definitely Maybe is an absolutely cracking album. Plus, it was their debut! You have to be a joyless music snob or just plain miserable to not enjoy the rush of euphoria that Rock and Roll Star, Supersonic, Live Forever, etc. offer up in spades. These guys deserve far more accolades than they get.

oasisblues 8:29 pm, 25-Aug-2012

cracking album because written by the Griffiths... Successful debut because Noel beongs to the illuminati...

muhubadub 8:24 pm, 1-Sep-2013

tld;dr, but that headline reads like a cry for help.

CA Jones 8:06 pm, 3-Sep-2013

In my early 30s when it came out & liked it as a 'Doofah' - as in 'do for now' - for the last 'Hurrah' of my prolonged & over-indulged 'youth', but never thought they were touched by greatness. Didn't get the Beatles thing either, always felt they were a Mancunian hybrid of the Pistols and the Neil Young guitar sound from 'Like a Hurricane' etc. Embarrassed now that I ever liked them - what a shxt band.

DM 9:44 am, 26-Feb-2014

I'm what's known as a hardcore Oasis fan...most of my favourite Oasis songs have never been played on radio and never will be...When i bought a single i was more interested in the b-sides.....with that, Definitely Maybe is a fine album, but it isn't even the best Oasis album. Best album ever...that is a BIG statement to make lol

some guy 11:02 am, 26-Feb-2014

Man, Britons really know how to strangle all the joy out of music by taking it so deadly seriously. That said, Oasis blows.

CoolJerk 12:55 pm, 26-Feb-2014

Load of whiny shite. Doesn't come anywhere near a classic. Think of the likes of Never Mind The Bollocks or Exile on Main Street. Even Appetite For Destruction stands as a better classic.

jason williamson 2:37 pm, 26-Feb-2014

Yes 'H'! We need more people like you mate. i'm not mancunian but if you ever wanna find out what the band actually meant then go back to the towns or cities they came from and then you will find out. Def Maybe is a good album but as a document to the Thatcher years? Do one. Noel Gallagher waving his fuckin AMEX card about and doing tours "Because its 8 million quid thats why" ain't really carry the heavy slab of class conciousness is it? I'm aware NG and for that matter the rest of band couldnt give to fucks about the state of the country but that don't ease the many shit points that back the validity of this re-release up in this comments bit. To be honest NG is a powdered face sell out and the talent he mustered to create this album along side the rest of them has been lost forever. It means nothing anymore, just some good chords thrown together and a singer that held it better under Ian Browns shadow than Tim Burgess ever did. They keep wheeling this 'Legacy' out and like Westminster Policy its dead.

ladiesandgentlemen 4:01 pm, 26-Feb-2014

The next press conference (March 5th)will be to confirm a major festival headline in June. Whilst I thought the Selecter had been chosen for the Saturday night at I will settle for that lot if needs be

Jimmy Balantyne 7:38 pm, 26-Feb-2014

@H bang on fella. Bang on.

Stan Dalglish 8:06 pm, 26-Feb-2014

Top album and pre Beatles influence. Be Hear Now was that one. One of my fave album covers (after Abbey Road by you know who).

BMoore 7:40 pm, 27-Feb-2014

"Morning Glory" was better…

Mike 11:27 am, 28-Feb-2014

I never understood the Oasis hype, to me they were just an ugly boy-band who nicked other, better bands, melodies. After their initial success they produced some of the worst shit ever and 'Standing on the shoulders of giants' has to be the most 'cringe-worthy' collection of shite - ever!

RW 9:02 pm, 28-Feb-2014

You must be excited for the remastered release then. I hope it takes you back. For me, I was 14 when I got it and while playing it out and loving it, my experience was isolating. I found it by chance and finding other oasis fans in the US at that point was nearly impossible. I only got as much swagger as could be achieved on headphones in my bedroom. Excellent article, sorry for all the controversial arguments in the comments.

Jimbo GY 11:45 am, 3-Mar-2014

The first two albums was catchy and half decent then after that they just churned out shite and the sheep carried on buying. These sheep are being lined up for a Stone Roses type comeback rip off tour in a couple of years just you wait.

suedehead 5:39 pm, 7-Mar-2014 fill yer (desert) boots and d.m.'s

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