Oasis: Noel Gallagher (vocals, guitar, E-Bow, piano, Mellotron); Liam Gallagher (vocals); Paul Arthurs (guitar, piano, Mellotron); Paul McGuigan (bass); Alan White (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Paul Weller (guitar, background vocals); Tony McCarroll (drums).
Recorded at Rockfield Studios, South Wales, United Kingdom.
"Wonderwall" was nominated for 1997 Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
The state of English popular music in the mid-'90s will be looked back upon as a time when groups like Blur, Supergrass and Oasis rode the UK charts with a style (nicknamed Brit-Pop by that country's press) that fused the 1960s pop aesthetic of the Beatles, Kinks and Small Faces with the flamboyance and cocksuredness of T. Rex and the Buzzcocks. But (WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? is a more tempered follow-up to Oasis' 1994 debut, DEFINITELY MAYBE, the band having gone from enfant terrible to dreamy romantic this time round. Oasis has also crossed the Atlantic this time; (WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY has made the band a major U.S. success.
Toning down the brattiness, Oasis guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher brings minimal orchestration into the mix, while still mining for inspiration in the past. A buzzing amp cues up the opening cut, "Hello," before giving way to a thunderous rocker that credits Gary Glitter as a co-writer by way of a line lifted from his "Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again." The innovative use of strings on songs like "Cast No Shadow," "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back In Anger" avoids any mawkishness, leaning more towards a melancholy sheen. Such ambitious chance-taking turns "Don't Look Back In Anger" into a grand epic that has singer Liam Gallagher sounding like Ian Hunter to brother Noel's Mick Ronson.
All these external tools do nothing to detract from Oasis' ability to play rock and roll with a religious fervor. The first version of "The Swamp Song" (the untitled track 6) is a bluesy, instrumental rave-up complete with a wailing harmonica that sounds unlike anything they've done before. It's followed by "Some Might Say," a sweeping epic layered with chunky riffs. While new pal Paul Weller's guitar lends some grit to "Champagne Supernova," the best song on MORNING GLORY is "She's Electric," a '90s equivalent to "Itchycoo Park" with the end-chorus of "With A Little Help From My Friends" grafted onto it.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (1/25/96, p.41) - Tied for #7 in the 1996 Critics' Poll.
Rolling Stone (10/19/95, p.147) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...Oasis...borrow shamelessly from...artists like the Rolling Stones, T. Rex, the Kinks, Small Faces and, especially, the Beatles without losing their own snide identity..."
Rolling Stone (p.105) - 5 stars out of 5 - "While their debut was an up-tempo pop roar, this one showed that they were just as talented with rock ballads..."
Spin (9/99, p.160) - Ranked #79 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s."
Entertainment Weekly (10/06/95, p.64) - "...An earnest, relaxed undertaking that is less about making a splash and more about making a point."
- Rating: A-
Q (6/00, p.86) - Ranked #8 in Q's "100 Greatest British Albums" - "...A wonderful, often beautiful album, which single-handedly spoke for a generation of slobbishly dressed inarticulate men. It was a complete album..."
Q (12/99, p.84) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."
Q (10/01, p.105) - Ranked #5 in Q's "Best 50 Albums of Q's Lifetime"
Q (2/96, p.63) - Included in Q's 50 Best Albums of 1995 - "...a latter-day classic..."
Alternative Press (12/95, p.92) - "...the first truly convincing rock'n'roll album of the '90s....You liked the first album? Then you'll love this one....This is the business, the real thing....it's bloody great."
Melody Maker (12/23-30/95, pp.66-67) - Ranked #3 on Melody Maker's list of 1995's `Albums Of The Year.'
Musician (11/95, pp.85-86) - "...as exciting and chock-full of insta-classics as their wake-up call of a debut....Clever production tricks and chord changes are [Noel] Gallagher's passions. His lyrics flit between inane and ingenious...but every last one fits snug as a puzzle..."
Village Voice (2/20/96) - Ranked #10 in the Village Voice's 1995 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
Mojo (Publisher) (p.59) - Ranked #61 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "The heady bravura of the Britpop era still resonates in the album that elevated Oasis to superstar status."
NME (Magazine) (12/23-30/95, pp.22-23) - Ranked #2 in NME's `Top 50 Albums Of The Year' for 1995.
NME (Magazine) (9/30/95, p.52) - 7 (out of 10) - "...their second LP...sends them off in an altogether different direction; away from the conscience-free overloaded hedonism towards an understanding of its consequences..."