An Album A Day #7: Oasis BE HERE NOW [1997]

There doesn't seem to be a middle ground in the land of opinion on the music of Oasis.  They inspire passionate responses exclusively (even famously from the band members themselves), of the classic love 'em or hate 'em variety.  HERC loves him some Oasis music so please save the hate 'em vitriol for your own blog.  After scarfing up the band's first two albums and spending untold hours sifting through the both the music and lyrics for Beatles references, HERC waited impatiently with the rest of the band's fans for their third album.

The build-up, the hype was deafening and for some less than true believers doubt began to take hold.  Not for HERC, though, he lined up behind two other people the day of the album's release in August 1997, plunked down the piece of plastic that made the purchase possible and had the shrink wrap off the disc before he was out the door of The Wherehouse.  He got in and started the Grape Ape (purple minivan, duh) and fed the disc into the CD player.  The album's opening track had not even finished playing by the time he pulled into his driveway, so he parked and let it fade out before ejecting the disc, turning off the van and and taking his favorite new album in the house, where, after homework with the kids, dinner and some TV time, HERC slipped on his trusty old pair of Sony headphones and finished the journey.

The grand, atmospheric opening track "D'You Know What I Mean?" remains one of HERC's mostest favoritest songs ever.  So many Beatles references as well as Led Zeppelin and even Pink Floyd sonic similarities make this one a treat for his ears each and every damn time he hears it.  If HERC were a singer, he'd like to whine sing like Liam Gallagher - not sound like him but look like him while singing: standing mostly still, singing close & up into the mic and generally just giving off attitude by the metric ton. [HERC likes blatant lip-synced performances.  Watch as the bassist switches out his instrument.]

Watch the official video (above) for "D'You Know What I Mean?" and try to guess how many helicopters were used?  Ten? Twenty?  TWO!  Thanks to the wonders of digital post-production, those two whirlybirds became legion.  As was standard British practice in the late Eighties and early Nineties, the single was made available in myriad formats and the Gallagher Brothers made the most of it by including exclusive tracks and b-sides.  Released a month in advance of Be Here Now, the single featured "Stay Young" as it's flip.  That song even went on to become a favorite of Oasis fans and was voted onto The Masterplan, the band's crowd-sourced collection of rarities.

A month after the album's release, "Stand By Me", the second single was unleashed.  Had it not been for the untimely passing of Princess Diana and Elton John's moving tribute "Candle In The Wind 1997", the single surely would have topped the charts instead of taking the runner-up position.  An intimate, acoustic performance of the track was shown on BBC on the eve of Be Here Now's release.  Unfortunately for fans, that performance remains commercially unavailable but through the largess of YouTube uploaders, it an be seen and heard below:

In January 1998, "All Around The World", was issued as the third single from Be Here Now.  It promptly rose to the top of the charts in the UK, becoming the longest single ever to do so at an incredible time of 9:38 - a full 18 seconds longer than the album version!  Reportedly one of Noel Gallagher's first written songs he claims to have withheld it from the band's first two albums until it could be produced in the "extravagant manner" he envisioned.  In hindsight however, Noel has all but disowned Be Here Now.  The recording took place in a toxic environment of excess and indulgence which, if rock music has taught us anything, produces as many hits as misses.  The less than subtle "Yellow Submarine" vibe of the video  as well it's "Hey Jude"-like fade out makes it one of HERC's favorite Oasis videos and even non-fans recognize the song's chorus from it's appearance in AT&T commercials.  A two minute reprise of "All Around The World" closes out the album with the last sound heard being a shutting door.

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