Oasis’ record-setting debut album came in 1994, at a time in which the reputation of the band had already turned them into cultural icons in England. Their early singles “Supersonic”, “Shakermaker” and “Live Forever” are included along with “Cigarettes & Alcohol”, a cut that captures their infamous swagger better than a hundred clippings. “Supersonic” was their first single, it made the Top 40 and Noel has termed it their own take on “I Am The Walrus” – IE, a lot of nonsense strung together. The first lines, though, do make a lot of sense and go hand in hand with “Cigarettes & Alcohol” towards defining their image of hellraisers: “I’m feeling supersonic, give me gin & tonic / You can have it all, but how much do you want it?”.
“Shakermaker” was their second single, and it resembled “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” more than fleetingly. It is widely considered as a misstep now, but the succeeding single was their first truly indispensable song: “Live Forever”. It established Noel’s predominant themes of individuality and unity (the classic “Us” Vs. “Them” dilemma that characterizes his output), and it was the first true ace the band laid on the table. It gave them their first Top 10 success.
The swaggering “Rock & Roll Star” did also receive considerable exposure, and it was one of the earliest songs Noel wrote for the band. So was the trippy “Columbia”, with some lyrics ostensible penned by Liam.
For its part, the loud “Bring It On Down” was seriously considered as the band’s first single, and their story would have been a totally different one had that materialized. It is one of their clearest homages to The Sex Pistols alongside “Headshrinker”.
When it comes to “Up In The Sky” and “Slide Away”, both songs sound way better sung by noel, and played acoustically at that. There is a druggier version of “Up In The Sky” complete with a slide part that was issued on the flipside of the “Live Forever” single, and that blows this one out of the water.
Finally, “Digsy’s Dinner” is the album’s comic sidestep, with Noel and Bonehead playing the four-handed piano, and the set closer (“Married With Children”) was partially inspired by a girlfriend of Noel that told him “Your music’s shite” when they parted ways.
The disc was produced by longtime associate Owen Morris, and Noel would later call it a bit unidimensional. When all is said and done, it is a rock & roll record and no mistaking – it has all the bravado and the zeal that was to take them from a revelation to a contemporary legend, and one that is bound to live forever in spite of their eventual artistic misconceptions.