Foreword Intro: A speck of dust in a football stadium 1. Earth 2. Water 3. Fire 4. Air Postscript: Quintessence Reading and Watching Notes
A brilliant study of Oasis' debut album, highlighting the band's massive cultural impact and the raw, positive power of those early songs.
Alex Niven is a writer from the north-east of England. He has written for publications such as The Guardian, LA Review of Books and The Quietus, and his first book Folk Opposition was published in 2011.
As well as an accomplished assessment of an underrated album from
an overrated band, the book is a salutary example of how to
interpret politics through culture, and culture through politics.
-- Rhian E Jones * Los Angeles Review of Books *
It is a credible thesis, borne out by the history of the band and its music ... As Niven argues in his introduction, literature on Oasis has thus far tended to treat its subject either fawningly or dismissively, not critically. Niven's book plugs that gap. -- Joseph Charlton * Times Literary Supplement *
The 33 1/3 series is a unique opportunity for writers to take a single album, examine it in greater depth ... It's set a very high standard which Niven more than meets here, offering a smorgasbord for thought for Oasis scholars and watchers. He leaves no song unturned, subjecting each to the sort of breakdown and appreciative analysis they've rarely enjoyed, his scrutiny yielding fresh insights .. I'd recommend this book to anyone but the person I'd recommend it to above all is Noel Gallagher. -- David Stubbs * Review31 *
Niven is right to identify Oasis as the most culturally central, and in that sense the most important, voice of the period. -- Harry Stopes * The Oxonian Review *
Niven does a remarkable job summing up what made Oasis so special in that moment - while also hinting at the demise that would follow. It's a fantastic book, and if you care about Oasis, you should read it. * Stereogum *
I still respect the amount of research beyond the band itself that had to go into writing this book. Knowing the climate in which Oasis was created is as necessary as the songs when one wants to talk about the importance of the band. On that, I am with [Niven] ... [This book] gave me a lot to think about, and the discussion and study of Oasis is one of my favorite subjects. -- Sara Habein * Perspehone Magazine *
[Niven's] documenting an era that was considerably well-documented - this was the last great gasp of the music newsweeklies, after all - but he's uncovering necessary truths that were hidden in plain sight and need to be remembered. Reading this 33 1/3, all the nostalgia surrounding the 20th anniversary of Britpop fades and all the exciting turmoil of that fleeting time comes into sharp relief. -- Stephen Thomas Erlewine * Stephen Thomas Erlewine's blog *
I've often said that the goal of a 33-1/3 book is to get the reader to enjoy and appreciate the album more after reading the book. Niven agrees, as from the first paragraph he makes clear that this is what he set out to do. By this measure, Oasis' Definitely Maybe (the book) is a wild success ... [It] is a great addition to the 33-1/3 canon. * 2bit Monkey blog *
Sometimes it can be invigorating and even instructive to disagree with an author. Reading Alex Niven's spirited defense of Oasis' 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe, there were moments when I shook my head and devised mental rebuttals against, for instance, his comparison of the band's pop-history scavenging with hip-hop sampling. And yet, he makes his arguments with such insight that for a while I did come to think of Oasis as a bunch of leftist revolutionaries reconceiving pop music as a vehicle for working-class liberation. -- Stephen M. Deusner * Pitchfork *