I am huge Oasis fan and an even bigger fan of Noel Gallagher, creative force. He’s been great on American late night TV this year promoting Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, his first solo album since leaving Oasis amid great tumult in 2009.
While it’s true that Oasis never topped their first two albums critically or commercially in the US, there’s a lot to like in the catalog that came after (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, starting with the 1998 b-side album The Master Plan. Ten years, a handful of great singles and some okay albums later, 2008’s Dig Out Your Soul came forth as the best Oasis album since 10th-grade English. (That said, I remain an unabashed, un-ironic fan of 1997’s Be Here Now.)
Earlier today, my best friend and Oasis-loving partner in all manner of existential creativity for the past 20 years (let’s call him Ramon) sent me a new piece from CNN.com: Noel Gallagher: ‘If Obama loses, I’ll run for president myself’. As Noel himself might say, “bloody brilliant.”
When I was a kid, the honesty and swagger Oasis presented felt like inside information. “We’re great and we know it. That’s all the really matters.” One of the best things about that attitude in the early days was that it was totally untested and undefended. There would have been no point. It’s an existential conviction, an ontological statement that resonated with the entire youngish population of the UK and a good chunk of us here. It came to us in the wake of Nirvana, in direct, deliberate contrast to sentiments like “I Hate Myself and Want To Die.” When I spent a few weeks in England the summer before Oasis released Morning Glory Stateside, Oasis’ grip on British culture was as inescapable as it was brazen, and it was something to behold. That fall, it took root in bits and pieces here, never reaching monoculture status for reasons the piece above gets into.
Still, all these years later, I find myself watching recent Noel interviews on YouTube when I can’t sleep or when I need a special kind of affirmation. I can’t bear to watch the old ones…I’ll get too nostalgic. The thing about Noel in his 40s is that the pomp and confidence is tempered (never dampened) by the facts of his successes. The brazen upstart is now a winsome statesman of the same old plucky mettle. It’s wonderful to see.
The thumbnail looks like Paul McCartney, but it’s Roger Daltry. In any case, it isn’t Noel.