Definitely Maybe


Epic Records, 1994

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Let's face it, you're probably not going to like A Tribe Called Quest, Pavement or Bob Dylan if you first listen to them in your early teens. Some music, you eventually grow in to. To demonstrate this, allow me to use Oasis as an example.

In 1994, I thought they were a bunch of smartass Brits who ripped off the Beatles. I hated the fact that the lead singer wished AIDS on a member of the band Blur. Now, I can't stop listening to Definitely Maybe, their major debut statement, precisely because they are a bunch of smartass Brits.

Mainstream music is having such an identity crisis that record label gurus are actually having to put their entire faith in Omaha, Nebraska to become the next vital music scene (and hopefully make a Singles-type movie out of it as a result). But Omaha is so saturated with emotional rockers that it is being dubbed EMO-ha. The Strokes and the White Stripes are amazing, but they're almost overly modest to the point of madness.

That's what makes Definitely Maybe sound more fresh and vital now than it did in 1994. In the current age of fear and anxiety, it seems amazing that a band could actually get away with opening their album with a ridiculously silly ditty called "Rock 'n' Roll Star." Liam Gallagher snarls odes to cigarettes, alcohol and other substances throughout my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Definitely Maybe, but he sounds so passionate, it makes the declarations of debauchery seem profound.

Definitely Maybe makes me want to get shitfaced, do a few lines of coke and have unprotected sex the night before a major job interview. That's what the best rock music does: provide an escapist outlet for things that you would never do in real life. It's a horribly self-indulgent album: the song "Shakermaker" has a dumb chorus of "Shake along with me," but Gallagher's slurry delivery makes it seem like he's telling the listener, "I should looooove me."

Like most great rock albums, Definitely Maybe is stacked with skyscraper-tall guitar riffs from Noel Gallagher and Paul Arthurs. The duo's guitar work makes virtually every song on this album extremely catchy. That is especially evident on "Up in the Sky" and "Columbia."

There are also great moments of vulnerability. "Live Forever" is enduringly sweet, if a tad over the top, and "Slide Away" is also moving. However, much of Definitely Maybe is packed with enough boastful declarations to make Jay-Z envious. Bragging is only as compelling as the bragger, and Liam Gallagher's soaring vocals make it a compelling listen.

It also doesn't hurt that Definitely Maybe is packed with sarcastic humor. In the intellectual anthem "Cigarettes & Alcohol," Gallagher laments, "Is it worth the aggravation (pronounced aggraviassssssshhhhiiiiioooonnnnn) to find yourself a job when there's nothing worth looking for?" Not exactly relevant in today's job market... In the hilarious "Married With Children," Gallagher lays some serious disses on a wife/girlfriend: "you're not very bright," "your music's shite, it keeps me up all night," before conceding that he will still go home to her.

I guess the reason Definitely Maybe speaks more to me now than it did in 1994 is that there's more of a desire for escapism than in 1994. In 1994, I was in college, rent was divided four ways, leaving plenty of room for CDs, beer and video games, and the comfy womb of college kept me warm and safe. No credit card debt and I only needed a part-time job. It was one year before Oklahoma City and a slowly rebounding economy with 2,000,000 jobs ready to be unleashed.

Fast-forward to 2003. You don't need a recap on world events. I am out of college and am paying the debts for my carefree days. Does Oasis' album serve as a carefree reminder of days gone by while still rocking hard enough to teach the newer bands of today how to write a killer song?


Rating: A

User Rating: B


© 2003 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.