In the summer of 1994, Oasis exploded on the rock n’ roll scene with ‘Definitely Maybe’, a record that challenged the current flow of rock music at that time. Purposefully old fashioned, blissfully optimistic, and sporting enough edgy coolness to make the rock bands from Seattle think twice about the amount of flannel they were wearing, Oasis represented a direct shift in the popular music narrative back to status that U2 had left it. There was nothing that could’ve stopped this band at this point in time. Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher represented a certain longing for something that was so missing at this point in popular culture and they were obviously acutely aware of this fact. What resulted from their ambition was something that changed the course of popular music for the better for years to come.
The opening track on this record is “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”, a song that carries itself with enough charisma and strut that it hardly needs to even justify its own intentions. This is rock music at its coolest and the band know it. Noel, who wrote all of the record’s lyrics, has always had an untamable tint to his songs and his personality. His indelible charm and flawless execution of his own ascensions are second to none and the self-awareness that accompanies all of this is simply the icing on the cake. All of these qualities carry right over into the following track, “Shakermaker”. An interesting component to this record lies within its cocky strut. Knowing what we know about the relationship between the Brothers Gallagher today, isn’t it quite so that you can sense those conditions in this music? Isn’t this record just a little too cocky to maintain? The band prove that they can rock right alongside the grunge bands on “Up in the Sky”, even if they don’t take themselves as seriously. Truthfully, this attribute has always been one of the band’s strongest elements. When analyzed thoroughly, it becomes quite clear that the cocky strut of the band was never something that they took all that seriously. These guys always believed that they were destined to become the biggest band in the world and with songs like “Slide Away”, it’s difficult to come up with a sound argument as to why they wouldn’t have been so confident. This is the kind of ballad that gets stuck in your head and stays there for the rest of the day. The fact of the matter is, regardless of your opinion of grunge, Oasis was precisely the band the world needed at this time.
This debut record from the band that, as Noel once put it, were “the last and the greatest”, is definitely one of the greatest. These snotty, working class boys came along and restored the greatness of what rock n’ roll had always meant in a more traditional sense. There is absolutely nothing negative you can knock this record on. Filler free, this record is just too damn confident and cocky to get much of a contrary opinion in edgewise. The infectious spirit and attitude of this record is one of the most powerful, potent statements that the power of pure rock n’ roll music has ever unleashed upon the world. You’d have to be one miserable sap not to get behind this record? This is a shining example of that most wonderful of moments, a band captured on record at the peak of their abilities, truly unhindered, hungry, and out for blood. Is this the best rock n’ roll record of the ’90s? Maybe. Were Oasis the greatest rock n’ roll band of the ’90s? Maybe. (Probably, in fact.)