Oasis: Be Here Now

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Oasis

Album: Be Here Now
Label: Epic

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After the huge worldwide success of 1995's oft-excellent (What's The Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis encountered many of the pitfalls of fame: overexposure, backlash, and internal rancor that almost broke up the group before Be Here Now could be recorded. And more pitfalls are on their way: With commercial tides changing, it may be difficult to build a long-term career as a self-proclaimed biggest-rock-band-in-the-world, especially one with such a familiar sound and volatile nature. On the surface, bandleaders Liam and Noel Gallagher don't do a lot to help their case with Be Here Now: There are strong future singles, to be sure ("My Big Mouth," for one), but far too many songs suffer from cumbersome overlength. At 71 minutes and about a six-minute per-song average, Oasis tries too hard to turn Be Here Now into a grand, career-defining statement; its best songs in the past ("Roll With It," "Live Forever," et al) have been ideally compact and concise. Here, there are bloated piles of whistles, bells and endless instrumental jams, with four minutes stretching into five, six, seven or even eight. Immodest ambitions aside, there's no shortage of strong, swaggering material, and even a small handful of ballads in the spirit of "Wonderwall" ("Stand By Me," Don't Go Away"). It's hard to fault Oasis for modifying its songwriting approach, especially when you realize that the length of the songs and the busy nature of the arrangements are about the only things that have changed. Still, if there are future albums, the group would do well to think about paring down the excess.

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