Top Ten Best Oasis Songs According to Luke

In my quest to come up with the ten greatest Oasis songs of all time I used only one indicator of a song's greatness: how much I like it... so maybe this list is a bit subjective, but any list any where is usually completely subjective so cut me a bit of slack. These are ten incredible songs and they are the ten (eleven?) best oasis songs in my opinion. I attempted to pick at least one song from each album, but in the end I did leave Heathen Chemistry completely off of the list, despite the fact that it is a pretty good album.

Anyways, have a read and enjoy.

10. Stand by Me

The lone representative from Be Here Now, Stand by Me continues to be the only song Oasis continues to play live off of the album. It might suffer from sharing a title with an iconic song, but the general tenderness of the song elevates it to a fantastic level with one of the most sing-along-able live choruses of any Oasis song. It perfectly captures one of Noel Gallagher’s greatest talents: the ability to transcend the audience-artist divide and make the listener feel at one with the band, the song, and the emotions present.

9. Gas Panic!

Another sole representative from an Oasis album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, Gas Panic! is one of the most electronically experimental Oasis songs ever produced. It is built upon the same famous “Oasis Chord” that also features in Wonderwall, D’Ya Know What I Mean, and several others, the Em-add9, though it’s presence is barely distinguishable behind the wall of intricately programmed white noise, bleeps and blips, and fantastic atmosphere. The song itself is a bit weird in a Noel Gallagher songwriting sense in that there is no bridge and really no chorus, but the song is a powerful interpretation of Noel’s cold-turkey kicking of cocaine, heroine, and acid.

8. Wonderwall/Don’t Look Back in Anger

This might be a bit of jip, counting two songs as one, but Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back in Anger, the band’s two most successful US singles, are inextricably linked in my mind and probably the minds of everyone who was between 10 and 30 in 1995/1996. We all know the songs and if either one is ever played at a bar we all sing them at the top of our lungs, even if the notes outreach us. There is really no explanation necessary as to why they’re on this top ten list, but one might be necessary to explain their low ranking, and that is simply that there are better songs… believe it.

7. Cigarettes in Hell

A b-side from the Go Let It Out single, Cigarettes in Hell, shows why Oasis is such a special band: even their b-sides are classics. Many Oasis fans and non-fans probably don’t understand why Cigarettes in Hell is this high on the list, or even on the list at all, but it really is a fantastic song which is among the most psychedelic things Oasis has ever done. It intertwines backwards guitars, a rousing Noel vocal, and a slightly modified Dear Prudence guitar solo with one of the most Rock and Roll sentiments ever expressed:

I don’t mind not feeling immortal,
Cause it aint all that as far as I can tell,
And I don’t mind not going to heaven,
As long as they’ve got cigarettes in hell.

6. Cast No Shadow

Written for Noel’s good friend, former Verve frontman, Richard Ashcroft, Cast No Shadow is a magnificent combination of slide guitar, interesting lyrical content, and a vocal delivered pitch perfectly by Liam. The shuffling drums provided by Alan White elevate the song past any previous Oasis epic/ballad by replacing Tony McCaroll’s punky inconsistency and framing the song with sentimental beautiful. It is simply a perfectly executed, gorgeous song about the difficulties of expressing oneself through song.

5. The Importance of Being Idle

One of two songs off of this list from Oasis' most recent studio effort, Don’t Believe the Truth, The Importance of Being Idle is exquisite proof that Oasis have not only lost its touch, it has actually improved and become more interesting. The song is unlike anything in the Oasis catalogue before it, a stirring, drum scuffling freak-out about laziness with more layers of interesting sound than an Earlies album. Noel’s mixed falsetto soars above the song with power and bravado, one of his best vocal efforts ever.

4. Cigarettes and Alcohol

Although the first guitar line is lifted from a T-Rex song, Cigarettes and Alcohol is the ultimate statement song for Oasis. It’s unthinkable to hear a song today off of a debut album with so much swagger, confidence, and presence. Liam’s snarling voice gives what could actually be a bit of a laugher of a song, intensity and enough attitude to knock the wind out of Johnny Rotten. How can a song with the following line not be great:

Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job,
When there’s nothing worth working for?
It’s a crazy situation,
But all I need is cigarettes and alcohol.

3. Guess God Thinks I’m Abel

The second song on this list off of Don’t Believe the Truth, Guess God Thinks I’m Abel is the only song on my top ten list written by Liam, although Love Like A Bomb is so close to cracking the top ten it’s crazy. Liam is no longer simply the drunken, Grizzly Adams beard wearing singer anymore, he has proven himself as a fantastic songwriter, and Guess God Thinks I’m Abel is all the proof anyone needs. It has a great groove, relying on hand percussion for its rhythm and among the best melodies in the Oasis catalogue. It is simply a show stopper.

2. Slide Away

Slide Away is the ultimate Oasis rock/epic/ballad, the kind of song Oasis will be forever remembered forever. Coming off of Definitely Maybe, Slide Away simply blows the listener away with slick guitar lines and the patented Oasis wall of guitars as well as what I think is the greatest Noel written chorus of all time. Whereas Live Forever captures the “us against the world” attitude present in many of Noel’s songs, Slide Away layers the sentiment with crying guitars and lyrics which start quite downhearted but end with the most tender and gorgeous final thoughts.

1. The Masterplan

Noel himself believes The Masterplan to be the greatest song he has ever written and I would dare to say that anyone who hears this b-side off of Wonderwall would almost assuredly agree. There is little that can be said for the song other than it is the apex of Noel’s songwriting aspirations, with the verse, bridge, and chorus combining seamlessly with Noel’s phenomenal lyrics. For a band that go from gentle to punk in a matter of seconds between tracks on an album, Noel manages to perfectly capture each aspect of the band’s personality in one phenomenal song on The Masterplan, starting out with the slow building verse and ending with the crescendo of the chorus and outro. All the while the overriding Oasis sentiments of “us against the world” and “we can do anything” are summed up in one of Noel’s best and most intense choruses:

So dance if you wanna dance
Please brother take a chance
You know they’re gonna go
Which way they wanna go to
All we know is that we don’t know
How it’s gonna be
Please brother let it be
Life on the other hand won’t make us understand
We’re all part of a masterplan
-Luke Barnard



Jameson said...

I really need to delve further into the Oasis catalogue, and this post has inspired me to do so.

In related news, two strong efforts by Mr. Barnard in the past week...looks like i need to get cracking.

Also, in late March im going to Bloc Party show in the Detroit area, and Albert Hammond Jr. is the should look into it...that is if you are ok with a night of strokes-lite, followed by adrenaline fueled guitar rock.

Luke said...

I finally got my writing shit together here, haha.

That bloc party show does sound interesting. Might have to get some tickets.

Z. said...

Glad to see 'Cigarettes in Hell' on your top10. Strong selection.

Not happy about Gas Panic--I think it's one of the weaker SOTSOG tracks. You should've considered Sunday Morning Call ...

Poor form to leave 'Hung in a bad place' off the list .... showcased in a Victoria's Secret advert even.

How different it would've been for Oasis had they released Acquisce instead of Wonderwall in the UK ...

D'yer wanna be a spaceman?