Saturday, 17 July 2010

Oasis 'Roll With It'

Chart Peak: 2


'Roll With It' was Oasis's 3rd big UK hit single of 1995... It was a No. 2 smash in August as the follow-up to the chart-topping 'Some Might Say'

A lot's been said about this record but I think I might be able to add one entirely original observation: the riff at the start sounds a bit like 'I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow' by Hank Williams. Well, I thought so anyway... Hey, have you heard the one about the Oasis soup? You get a roll with it!!!

Oh alright, please yourselves. There are two things that stand out about the sleevenote there. One is that they're stretching a point somewhat by claiming this as the band's third hit in 1995 ('Whatever' entered and peaked in December 1994, although it continued to sell well into 1995 and beyond). The other is that it entirely ignores the most famous part of this single's history, the famous/notorious/legendary chart battle with 'Country House'; mind you, I do notice they've taken the precaution of putting that Cast track in between the two of them so further hostilities didn't break out. I didn't really mention that aspect much in the post about the Blur song, partly because I'd found so much else to say about that one, and partly because I didn't want to fall into discussing this track before I'd got to it. I was also slightly reluctant to overplay the matter in any case because, after all, there was so much hype at the time and much as some of us enjoyed getting sucked into it at the time, it wasn't really that important musically. Certainly, I don't recall that much serious dispute down here between rival fans: most people I knew liked both bands even though they'd probably have a favourite between them (and of course the overwhelming majority of the world's population had no opinion at all on the matter). I know I didn't buy 'Roll With It' at the time, but I can't remember exactly how pre-meditation a decision that was: in any case, I did pick up a copy in the Woolworths bargain bin a while later and I went straight from school to buy (What's The Story) Morning Glory? the day it came out.

If there was a reason why I didn't rush to buy the single, it might have been because it was more expensive, or it might just have been because I didn't like it very much. I agreed, reluctantly, with the consensus that neither act went into the fray with their best material, but whilst I liked 'Country House' quite a bit then and am still fond of it now, I considered this the worst Oasis single ever, and if that's no longer the case it says more about how much worse they got than about any hidden strengths here. This was the point where all the Quo-asis jokes started, but the sad fact is that now I'm a grown-up I don't even think this is as good as Status Quo. Yes, the song itself is harmless if simplistic, but it suffers from unimaginative arrangement and performance which make it sound like the work of a tired and jaded band going through the motions, rather than the lead single from one of the most anticipated albums of the decade. I can't blame the American record company for deciding to release 'Morning Glory' as the single over there instead.

The uninspired promo video for this track seems to sum it up somehow, and an uncharitable person might suggest that it implies a certain arrogance, as if everyone involved was so confident they didn't really put enough effort in. Perhaps that's harsh, but knowing what we do about the band, perhaps not. A more charitable explanation might be that this was their first recording with Alan White on drums and it took him a while to get settled in, which isn't implausible: there are certainly better Oasis tracks from this era. But this one isn't even as good as the Cast record. Yeah, I said that in public.

I think the CD single is in my mum's attic now (hence no photo), but when I bought it I preferred the acoustic B-side 'It's Better People'.

Also appearing on: Now 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 38, 52, 53, 54, 61, 62
Available on: Time Flies 1994-2009

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