Saturday, 5 September 2009

Definitely Maybe...Over

So Oasis is no more and Noel has finally given brother Liam a right hook where it really hurts – in the band. Not being a committed Oasis fan, I didn’t really know whether they were still going but it definitely maybe seems to be all over now. I was always a ‘Beatles’ rather than a ‘Stones’ fan so that is why I can’t get excited by their passing. Let me explain.

It’s funny how history repeats in certain circumstances and when Britpop lunged into view in the mid 1990s with Blur and Oasis slugging it out for the jangley guitar crown, I had a real sense of Déjà vu. To me it felt uncannily like the mid-sixties when the Beatles and Stones were having a similar argument about who was top dog in the singles chart. Back in the sixties, Lennon and McCartney released a new song every 3 months which Jagger and Richards matched for a considerable period as the competition raged. If truth be told I usually liked both but it became increasingly clear that whilst each Stones Single had a ‘house’ signature, with every new Beatles tune the musical envelope was being stretched and no release ever sounded like the previous effort. I think this is why I came to side with the Beatles and gave up the Stones in part in the late 1960s and completely by about ‘Exile on Main Street’.

And so it came to pass that when Oasis and Blur ran neck and neck thirty years later there was a strange similarity at work. Again, certainly for a year or two, I enjoyed output from both but it eventually became clear that Oasis, despite hoping to ape the Beatles, were really the reincarnated Rolling Stones and that Blur were in one important respect, the new generation’s Beatles. Basically all Oasis singles are similar, just as the Stones’ were and it is to their credit that they managed to create so many good tunes out of such a narrow remit but there’s no getting away from the fact that they hit on a formula and stuck with it. After all it did Status Quo no harm…sort of.

Blur were never quite the ‘new’ Beatles but they did inherit one important aspect of their makeup: their knack for experiment. You always knew that the next Blur single would be just a bit different from the last and possibly in a different style altogether. Witness ‘Parklife’, ‘The Universal’, ‘Beetlebum’, ‘Go 2’ and ‘Tender’ to see how different they could be. In the sixties I was a ‘Beatles’ man and in the nineties I was a ‘Blur’ man. It figures.

The best thing Noel can do now is have a stonkingly good solo career and blow his old heritage away, just as Paul Weller did. It makes an artist of you.


Jayne said...

That is a great blog post. I totally agree - how very funny that Oasis turned out to be the new Stones rather than their idols The Beatles! It just goes to show you cannot manufacture anything, it all falls into its natural path. Oasis were fated to be the Stones, how ever many times Noel and Liam wore 'John Lennon' glasses.

On another note I think Paul Weller was exceptionally creative - The Jam, The Style Council and then solo... a successful triple whammy! How many others have done that - Paul McCartney (although not sure how many hits he has had solo), mind's a blank!

musicobsessive said...

Jayne - I'm not surprised that your mind's a blank because there just aren't that many. Eric Clapton perhaps (Yardbirds, Cream, Derek & the Dominoes, Solo). Most of the others tend to be solo from start to finish. Seems that the most talented musicians are just not that collaborative!

YourZenMine said...

Like you, I'm a Beatles fan (in fact, one of my first musical memories is of a Beatles song). I don't think Oasis could spell 'experimentation' let alone actually commit any (okay, perhaps I'm being a bit harsh but this clearly shows the depth of my dislike for them).

Great post!

musicobsessive said...

YourZenMine - That makes two of us (at least)!