Title: (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Americans will never understand just how huge Oasis were for a while there in Britain. The brothers Gallagher were working class rockers who emulated the Beatles with their candy-coated, drug-fueled, pop rock. Liam was the voice and Noel was the writing talent, and when Wonderwall broke in 1995, it was huge. (WtS)MG? does what every artist wants in a sophomore album. It hones and doubles down on their sound. It pushes on their boundaries: Noel sings lead on a few songs--including a single--the album has two untitled instrumental fills, and then there's the seven-and-a-half minute closer. The songs are very earwormy, and I adore Noel Gallagher's lead guitar work. His fills are melodic and dynamic, but they're not overly flashy and the counterbalance nicely against the vocal melodies. They never shred, but they never sit still either.
It's slightly more ballad-y than their previous album. After the raucous openers Hello and Roll With It, the album settles in for lighter with Wonderwall and Don't Look Back In Anger. It picks up a little with the mid-tempo rockers Hey Now and Some Might Say before dipping again for Cast No Shadow, which is a decent song and also the least memorable, in my opinion. It picks back up for the bouncy She's Electric and the hard-rocking Morning Glory, which is my favorite and probably also the most brazen, teasing an unidentified party for being hungover after a cocaine bender. Then it lilts away with Champagne Supernova, an epic which somehow got cut down into a radio single.
This was the peak of their success in the US. The follow-up Be Here Now was dull and indulgent, and the band was soon better known for the family feuds between Noel and Liam than for their music. But for a little while there Oasis was everywhere.
Further listening: If not for my one-album-per-artist rule, there's a very good chance their debut Definitely Maybe would also be on the list. Yes, it's a little rough around the edges and yes, Shakermaker borrowed some melodic elements from that Coke commercial, but Live Forever and Supersonic are excellent, anthemic songs, and Married With Children is just a good time.