Out of the fist-fights and fall out that constituted at least part of the recording of this album, Oasis came out of it with a set of songs that stand-up as their finest to date. As Beatles tribute acts go they’ve probably done more than most to educate a younger class of music fan about the virtues and talents of the Fab Four.
Whilst accepting that they’re heavily indebted to the late-period Fabsters, Noel Gallagher and company bring a lusty aggression to their music that Lennon would only really find briefly in the early stages of his solo career, and that Paul McCartney is probably still looking for. Their confidence, some might say arrogance, is stamped over every last inch of the record. Each track is possessed with an unshakeable belief that anything is possible, that everything is reach.
The flagrant swagger of the record is an essential part of its appeal; fans knew they’d be alright in this lot’s company, and droves of them wanted to be in the gang. Sales were astronomical with two singles, “Some Might Say” and “Don’t Look Back In Anger” hitting number one, whilst “Wonderwall” and “Roll With It” fell in just behind that. Though there’s nothing flash about the music or the ambit of its lyrical content, its solid construction provides it with a dependable familiarity.
The album went up against Blur’s The Great Escape in the Brit-pop battles – a hyped-up turf war that sprung from Oasis’ genuine enmity for what they saw as the la-de-da pretension. As much about the post-Thatcher North/South divide as a punch-up between affectation and authenticity, at least with Oasis what you saw was what you got – they did exactly what they said they’d do on the tin. Now over ten years old “Roll With It” still sounds fresh, as does the title track, whilst “Wonderwall” has lost none of its status as an eternal, yearning anthem.
There’s a fine line between self-assurance and over-confidence but given the size of the egos and volatile emotions involved in its making, remarkably Morning Glory gets it right every time.