Friday, 1 May 2009

Oasis 'Wonderwall'

Chart Peak: 2


An even older record than 'Jesus To A Child' (though it outlasted it in the chart), this was originally released as a single in November 1995 and had therefore already been missed from two volumes in the Now series. Indeed, the next Oasis single, 'Don't Look Back In Anger' is on Now 33.

Of course, we can probably attribute this to record company politics. But just as Box Music must have felt they were coming late to this track, I feel it's a bit late for me to start reviewing 'Wonderwall' now. What can I possibly add to the reams of commentary about this track? When I listened to it attentively for the first time in ages, the thing that really caught my ear was how well-produced a record it is. That tends to be a bit of a faint-praise description, but it really struck me how good the acoustic guitars sound at the start of the track. And I've always liked the way the busy percussion helps to keep the energy of the recording up: it's a great flaw of most cover versions that I've heard that they tend to drift into the flat and maudlin. Perhaps this is the closest I'll get to an insight here, regarding my own conflicting feelings about the record, and about Oasis as a whole. I don't think it's the greatest song ever written, and I don't think it's as good as I did in 1995. But maybe I don't like it any less, and not only because I know how much worse the band can get. It doesn't arouse particularly nostalgic feelings in my either, perhaps because it's never really gone away. It just seems to exert a special power of its own, and not only on me: it recently sold its millionth copy, more than 11 years after release, and is at time of writing just outside the iTunes Top 200.

The pedant in me wants to point out that the single version here omits the brief acoustic reprise of 'Supersonic' at the end of the album version. One final observation from the video: stand-in bassist Scott McLeod clearly wasn't hired for his darts-playing ability. We used to have a good old laugh at that.

Also appearing on: Now 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 38, 52, 53, 54, 61, 62
Available on: Stop the Clocks

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