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Ranked: Oasis’ Discography Inclusive of Studio, Live and Compilation Albums

Apr 06, 2021
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For years I have stood firm that Noel Gallagher didn’t have more than two substantial Oasis albums in him: Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?. The Masterplan, a collection of B-sides and non-album singles would be the third, but Noel believed he had so many great songs, these could be relegated to the B-list.

It’s a painful stretch to cobble together a fourth album from the odd song buried here and there in the remaining five studio albums and later B-sides the iconic group released before imploding in spectacular fashion. The visceral and unifying impact of the debut album and its quick and even more impactful follow-up made the predictability and uninspired subsequent albums all that much more disappointing.

This is coming from someone who is a firm “stan.” Between Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? I lost my sister. The Oasis songs on those albums, and their B-sides made me feel supercharged. Noel’s and Liam’s mouthy confidence and swagger-filled presence made them seem immortal—something that was very attractive to me at a time when mortality was all too real. While their presence grew larger than life, the music didn’t follow suit. Still, I clung to the one or two songs per album that didn’t suck and counted on the brothers for that immortality factor, knowing it would persist, even if the music did not.

Here are the Oasis albums—studio, compilation and live—ranked in order of personal preference. Not included is the infamous interview “album,” which arguably could be considered an exceptional product from the two central figures of the band. —Lily Moayeri

1.

Definitely Maybe (1994)

The hackneyed phrase, “All killer, no filler” applies to this explosive debut which blatantly rips The Beatles and T Rex and doesn’t pretend otherwise. Every song on this album is a self-assured statement, bordering on arrogance, but instead of being off-putting in its bluster, it is bold, ballsy and aspirational. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star,” “Live Forever,” “Columbia,” “Shakermaker,” just listening to Definitely Maybe is enough to get your heart rate up.

2.

(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)

Released a year after Definitely Maybe, Morning Glory exhibits maturation in arrangements, exploration of instrumentation and a range in Liam’s singing abilities, plus the global smash, “Wonderwall,” and the song for proms across the world, “Champagne Supernova.” Noel still borrows liberally from those who came before, but at least now he gives them some credit, e.g. Gary Glitter has writing credit on the opener, “Hello.”

3.

The Masterplan (1998)

This should have been the third Oasis album, not the travesty that is Be Here Now, which Noel himself told me he rushed through as he couldn’t take drugs during its recording and he wanted to finish the album so he could go back to caning it. The Masterplan is a masterpiece with songs like “Acquiesce,” “Underneath the Sky,” “Fade Away,” “Headshrinker,” all of which have the same bite as Definitely Maybe. Even the songs Noel is singing, normally not my favorites, are winners, particularly “Going Nowhere.”

4.

Stop the Clocks (2006)

Ah the “greatest hits” compilation album, except that it’s not only the “hits” that are collected on this collection which arrived a scant three years before the group’s demise. Instead, Stop the Clocks is a good “how to Oasis” highlighting, obviously, songs from the first two studio albums and The Masterplan. It’s laughable how absent songs from later albums are, only making up around 20% of the 18 collected here. Stop the Clocks is a great way to trick novices into thinking this is a rock and roll band with some teeth.

5.

Familiar to Millions (Live) (2000)

This live album has the sense to leave out the majority of the forgettable songs released up until this point. Liam’s stone-cold rock star presence aside, Oasis are not known for being the most dynamic of live bands. While the visual is static, the audio-only version of their live shows is a noisy experience with an overabundance of guitar jangle. Removing the live element, Familiar to Millions serves as a decent Oasis playlist with songs like “Supersonic” and “Shakermaker” back-to-back, “Live Forever” and “Champagne Supernova” tumbling into each other and ending on the life-affirming “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star.”

6.

Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (2000)

Such a lofty title for such a basic album. It’s not even that this album—which marks the halfway point for Oasis—is necessarily terrible, it’s just so very predictable. Halfway through singing along with one song, suddenly you’re singing a song from one of the early albums. The everpresent Beatles references are so much more at the surface on “Go Let It Out” and “Who Feels Love,” two of the standouts on this album. What brings the album down even further is Noel singing far too much.

7.

Heathen Chemistry (2002)

It’s a challenge to remember any one of these songs, even after you’ve heard them multiple times. A collection of utterly forgettable revisits of copped ideas (this one takes additional cues from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) that were completely wrung out within the first three years of Oasis’ existence, there is simply nothing left for Heathen Chemistry. Interestingly, the lyrical content, which has always been a struggle for Noel, is slightly elevated on this album with some actual substance behind its rhyming dictionary-dependent lines, cases in point, “Hindu Times,” “Songbird” and “Little by Little.”

8.

Be Here Now (1997)

The Oasis album with the best name is one of the worst they released. “D’ You Know What I Mean” starts off Be Here Now with promise. The title alone indicates the self-assuredness is unwavering. Plus, just listen to all those clever backwards sounds, very “Tomorrow Never Knows,” the song that Noel is trying to write over and over. “All Around the World” is almost saved by Liam’s diligent efforts to inject some universality, but there’s only so much he can do with “nah-nah-nah-nyah.” A collection of Oasis rehashes, which themselves are rehashes of others, each overblown song comes out a grainier and more indistinct copy of the last.

9.

Don’t Believe the Truth (2005)

Things are progressively getting worse in the songwriting department. “Lyla” sounded kind of vibrant when it was first released but upon retrospective listen, it should end at the two-minute mark before it starts grinding every nerve. The rest of the album is simply mediocre. At this point in the band’s career, they’re way past heritage act, only performing songs from the first two albums with the very occasional one thrown in from subsequent albums, with diminishing returns on every release.

10.

Dig Out Your Soul (2008)

There is not one redeeming song on this unwitting swan song of an album. All the digging and not only is there no soul on this bunch of song but all the efforts at psychedelic experimentation, which have been going on for the last handful of albums are falling flat. Even more flattened are insertions of electronics, which just make things messy and do nothing to save this thoroughly dismissible piece of work.

Bonus:

Time Flies… 1994-2009 (2010)

One last squeezing of the Oasis milk cow with this posthumous compilation which doesn’t represent the best of the band. A collection of 27 singles released in the UK, whether or not they were hits, or, in fact, any good at all, it’s really a last gasp for the record label, not Oasis, as Stop the Clocks already did a solid job of collecting the best they had to offer. This one fits uncomfortably between Familiar to Millions and Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.

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