Does Oasis’ Debut Stand the test of Time?
The greatest debut album ever? Always a subjective question. A year that saw the landscape of music change in Britain. It was time to be proud to be British after so long embracing American culture.
By the time Oasis bulldozed their way onto the scene in 1994 other British bands were already starting to achieve mainstream success. Acts such as Suede and Blur were scoring their highest charting singles to date. As a young lad getting into guitar music at that time I definitely felt a movement was beginning to take place.
In April 1994 Oasis would release their debut single Supersonic. Although it would only reach a modest 31 in the UK charts there was already a statement of intent “I need to be myself, I can’t be no one else’ a motto certainly to live by.
Shakermaker and Live Forever would quickly follow as singles in June and August that year with songwriter Noel Gallagher already trying to emulate The Beatles by releasing singles every couple of months.
August 29th 1994 was the date Definitely Maybe was unleashed on the UK and it was the day I walked into Music Zone record shop in Stockport to purchase the CD.
For me the album commences with the perfect opener to any album. Rock n Roll Star. Chin out and in your face. “I live my life for the stars that shine” “Tonight I’m a rock n roll star”. You can imagine kids singing that in their bedroom hoping one day that could be them. A song about dreams of escaping the hum-drum daily life on a council estate
That to me was the definition of early Oasis. Songs of hope and how good your life could actually be. Singing about subjects that any kid could relate to.
Live Forever harks about friendship, when you have 2 friends who get the jokes that no one else does, Cigarettes and Alcohol, a song about, well Cigarettes and Alcohol, Slide Away, a song about love. All subjects any young lad or girl can relate to.
Ranking albums as the greatest is always a matter of opinion and its always based on your own personal experiences.
For me, as a lad just leaving his teenage years this album is so special for so many reasons. It’s the album that got me into guitar music after the charts being dominated by so much blandness.
It’s cliche to say it but it’s also an album that made me think differently as an individual, took me on a different path musically and definitely changed my lifestyle both socially and culturally. I discovered so many different bands and went so many gigs from that day forward.
To me, that’s the sign of an era-defining album. Older people probably cite The Jam, The Smiths and The Stone Roses for the same reasons but they were before my time. Definitely Maybe was right here right now for me.
There we were, now here we are.
Words by Lee Bellfield