NME’s resident Oasis super(sonic)fan Tom Howard revisited every single song recorded by the Manchester rock gods. Here is his definitive, ultimate, can’t-be-disputed list, from worst to best.
Maybe? Definitely! Every song Oasis ever recorded ranked in order of greatness
It was, I think, my friend Hamish who I once spent some time pondering the improbability of a band like Oasis existing. You’ve got these two brothers, sharing a room in a council house in Manchester, in the late ’80s and early ’90s. There’s Noel, on the top bunk, oblivious to the fact that the annoying little twat underneath him is the best singer of his generation. There’s Liam, on the bottom bunk, oblivious to the fact that the annoying slightly older twat above him is the best songwriter of his generation. And then somehow, because of fate or luck or magic or witchcraft, they work it out, and they form Oasis. What, actually, are the chances of that happening? One in a million? One in a trillion? One in a billion? No idea. But thank God it did, because I have no idea who else would’ve guided me through life from my mid-teens onwards. It’s sad, obviously, that Liam and Noel don’t talk anymore. But look at everything they’ve done and said and sung and drunk and snorted and played and filmed and sold together. Maybe there’s only so much intensity one relationship can handle. Their legacy, though, is epic. Untouchable maybe. Except these very bottom ones, which we’re going to run through very quickly…
Magic Pie (1997)
Most of the bad things people say about ‘Be Here Now’ are wrong or misunderstood (it’s too long! It’s overproduced! The songs are bad! Cocaine had a negative influence on the album!), apart from on ‘Magic Pie’, which is bobbins.
Dodgy cover of David Bowie’s finest moment that popped up as a ‘D’You Know What I Mean’ b-side. Do not add to playlist.
Those Swollen Hand Blues (2009)
Oasis never ever, ever sounded more like The Beatles than they do on this largely pointless ‘Falling Down’ b-side.
Takes 1.33 minutes to get to Liam singing. Too long, baby, waaay too long.
The Quiet Ones (2005)
Gem Archer wrote it, Liam sung it, everyone forgot it.
The Nature Of Reality (2008)
Andy Bell’s post-divorce, post-therapy meditation on life, love and atheism. Squint and it sounds a bit like Liam doing new vocals for The White Stripes’ ‘Ball and Biscuit’, with Meg on drums and all.
A Quick Peep (2002)
Waiting For The Rapture (2008)
Hung In A Bad Place (2002)
Merry Xmas Everybody (2002)
A strangely joyless Slade cover. Come on Noel, it’s Christmas. Recorded for the charity album ‘NME In Association With War Child Presents 1 Love’, though, so it gets some For A Good Cause points.
I Believe In All (2008)
An unremarkable ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ bonus track for the Japanese edition. Possible prototype for ‘You Better Run’ from Liam’s ‘As You Were’, which is an updated and improved version.
To Be Where There’s Life (2008)
Some late era Oasis songs could do with being deleted. This, written by Gem Archer, has the lyric that inspired the title of the album it lives on: “dig out your soul, cos here we go”. Which is something, I suppose.
(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady (2008)
A slice of plodding honky-tonk that was originally demoed for 2002’s ‘Heathen Chemistry’ and six years later found its way onto ‘Dig Out Your Soul’. It’s possible it took Noel that long to realise how good it is. It’s also possible that by the time Oasis’ seventh and final album came along he wasn’t that arsed anymore.
Force Of Nature (2002)
Written for a the film Love, Honor And Obey starring Jude Law and Jonny Lee Miller, ‘Force Of Nature’ is a tune that rips the beat from Iggy Pop’s ‘Nightclubbing’ and everyone thinks is about NG’s ex-wife, because of lyrics like “It’s all over town that the sun’s going down on the days of your easy life”. But Noel says he’d never do anything so undignified.
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (1995)
Beatles cover. Probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
If We Shadows (1997)
Released in 2016 on the reissue of ‘Be Here Now’, ‘If We Shadows’ is hardcore acoustic Noel introspection, as a lot of his ‘97 tunes were. “All the feelings I got inside / nobody knows what’s wrong,” he goes, then: “everything I do is wrong / but I always sing my song, in my own way”. Never believe him when he says his lyrics don’t mean anything.
Who Put The Weight of The World On My Shoulders? (2005)
A dreary little thing that, somehow, ended up on the soundtrack to the film Goal!. The violins from the 3.20 mark are quite good, to be fair.
Thank You For The Good Times (2002)
No no no Oasis, thank you.
I Will Believe (1993)
Described as “shoegazer shit” by Dave Scott, the sound engineer at Oasis’ Pink Museum sessions in Liverpool in 1993. And his dim view of the song turned out to be a stroke of genius, as he talked the band into jamming a new instrumental instead, which swiftly turned into ‘Supersonic’.
Hey Hey My My (2000)
Noely G is a long-standing Neil Young fan, and so it was that Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My’ was played 34 times on the ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ tour, and officially released on their live album ‘Familiar To Millions’. “Hey hey my my, rock ‘n’ roll will never die” is a very Oasis mantra, but this jam is laboured and strained.
Sunday Morning Call (2000)
One of two long, bleak and pessimistic Noel-sung tunes on Oasis’ fourth album ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ (the other: ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?’) about which, Noel once said, “people who used to always turn up on my fucking doorstep, at ungodly hours of the morning – proper well-off rich, famous people – and run you through their drug and booze and hell… and you’ll be going, ‘Get a grip of yourself, man.” After the euphoria of everything the band did, said, released and recorded in the mid-late ‘90s, both were a bit of a shock. That’s what kicking a hearty cocaine habit will do to ya.
Where Did It All Go Wrong? (2000)
Part Of The Queue (2005)
Aka the one that sounds like ‘Golden Brown’ by The Stranglers.
See The Sun (1991)
Guigsy’s finest moment. Ignore how much of a Stone Roses rip-off this is, and let the pure vibes of his bass guitar flow through you.
Comin’ On Strong (1992/1993)
In ‘92/’93 Oasis recorded a woozy and punky demo called ‘Comin’ On Strong’ with Liam on vocals which, in 1996, became a woozy and dance-y Chemical Brothers song called ‘Setting Sun’ with Noel on vocals. The vibes are very different but, impressively, the vocal melody shines brightly on both, and is the best thing about each track.
My Sister Lover (1997)
‘Stand By Me’ B-side that was bumped off ‘The Masterplan’ for ‘Going Nowhere’. Correct. Confusingly, a demo version was first recorded in ‘92 and called ‘Lock All The Doors’, which Noel then rejigged and re-released as a High Flying Birds single in 2015. It’s done the rounds.
Full On (2000)
This, you suspect, was the song that became ‘You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’. It’s a dark and doomy stomper, and it’s a hell of a lot better than the song it was a B-side for (‘Sunday Morning Call’).
(Probably) All in The Mind (2002)
I love Oasis more than I love my own children (probably a joke!), but there are some songs I just cannot be arsed with. This is a bad version of ‘Who Feels Love?’, which isn’t exactly a classic. Liam doesn’t even sound good on it. So what is the point? A fact, though: it was first demoed by Noel and Andy Bell immediately after they’d finished a session with Paul Weller for a track of his called ‘One Times One’.
Colour My Life (1992)
Stone Roses homage co-written by Liam and Bonehead. In a review of ‘Colour My Life’ in the Christmas 1991 issue of Manchester listing mag City Life, Liam was described as sounding “a bit nasally… sort of like Dermo [lead singer] from Northside [a baggy Manchester band around at the time]”. Needless to say, LG had the last laugh.
Liam wrote the words, Bonehead wrote the music, and I guess he’d been listening to The Smiths a lot. It’s quite charming, really: “She always comes up smiling, and playing with her hair.” Although Noel did describe it as “pish” in a 2001 interview with Sky Box Office. Probably just jealous.
Let There Be Love (2005)
Imagine this song without Liam singing it. Horrendous!
I Will Show You (1992)
On which a 19-year-old Liam sounds every inch the Ian Brown fanboy.
Take Me (1992)
That bass! A little ripper of a Liam and Bonehead co-production, written before Noel joined the band. In a July ‘95 Q interview NG said he wished they’d record it, but they wouldn’t. Too busy getting wankered weren’t they.
Strange Thing (1993)
Dear The Stone Roses. I love you. I have stolen John Squire’s guitar playing from the song ‘Love Spreads’. Hope that’s cool. Love Noel Gallagher.
A Bell Will Ring (2005)
“The world’s as wide as your life is thin, so entertain your goals” is an amazingly – perhaps even admirably – bad lyric, but this Gem Archer jam has an otherwise trippy ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by The Beatles vibe.
Shout It Out Loud (2002)
Go straight to the two minute mark to hear Noel getting his Pink Floyd on. You can get away with that sort of thing on a B-side.
Must Be The Music (1992)
Trippy, rhythmical, danceable – a good warm up for ‘Columbia’.
Won’t Let You Down (2004)
Written by Liam, sung by Liam, acoustic guitar probably not played by Liam, but the lyrics are very Liam: “Won’t you say? It’s time that you came out and played / Let’s get out of our minds, won’t waste your time.”
The Turning (2008)
This, according to Noel in the October 2008 issue of Q magazine, is “The [Stone] Roses doing The Stooges with a nod to The World Of Twist.” That, plus the lyric “shake your ragdoll, baby”, make it worth exploring.
Turn Up The Sun (2005)
The good thing about having Liam Gallagher in your band, is that even if the bassist writes a dodgy tune for your new album there’s every chance he’ll rock up in a good mood and save it with some quality vocals.
Ain’t Got Nothin’ (2008)
Written a few months after Liam’s 2002 bar brawl in Munich, ‘cos he was annoyed with everyone saying it was Oasis who started the fight in which he had two teeth knocked out: “I don’t care what they say anymore, all I want is the truth”. The six year delay in releasing it reduced its potency somewhat, but hey ho.
Mucky Fingers (2005)
Yeah yeah, it’s ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ by The Velvet Underground. And yeah yeah, it needs Liam on vox.
I Can See A Liar (2000)
It’s pretty bad. Okay, it’s very bad. But one of the most intriguing things about Oasis around the year 2000 is that even though Noel’s songwriting had dipped a tad, Liam was still in his peak. Top hair, solid burns, good clobber, voice from the gods, made iffy tunes listenable on the regular. A prime example from The David Letterman Show:
John Lennon, 1980: “When ‘Help’ came out, I was actually crying out for help. I didn’t realise it at the time. I am singing about when I was so much younger and all the rest, looking back at how easy it was. I was fat and depressed and I was crying out for help.” Throughout January and February 1998 Noel played this Beatles cover 14 times, then kicked his cocaine habit later that year. Maybe he was trying to tell us something.
The Cage (2002)
Half an hour after ‘Better Man’ comes ‘Heathen Chemistry’’s very zen (and very ‘Fade In-Out’-y) instrumental secret track, ‘The Cage’. Five minutes later it ends, and your mood has probably improved. Strangely it made its way onto the ‘The Big Bash! NME Awards Nominations Album 2003’ alongside other year-defining classics such as ‘Supergyrations!’ by The Datsuns and ‘Sun Child’ by The Vines. Life is weird sometimes.
Put Yer Money Where Your Mouth Is (2000)
Dodgy song with dodgy lyrics elevated somewhat by amazing vocals. Brilliantly, though, ‘PYMWYMI’ was used as the intro music for season six of the Canadian version of Dragons’ Den.
Eyeball Tickler (2005)
It’s probably a coincidence that for 10-ish seconds this ‘Lyla’ B-side resembles ‘Fuck Forever’ by Pete Doherty’s Babyshambles, came out in the same year as it, and goes on to feature lyrics about a “shocking junkie suckin’ on your veins”, but you never know. I’m calling it: this is the best Oasis song Gem Archer ever wrote, and it would’ve rocked live.
Better Man (2002)
Liam’s idea was to write a song with a similar groove to John Lennon’s ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier’, and you know what? Decent effort.
Sittin’ Here In Silence (On My Own) (2005)
There’s a bit in the 2016 Supersonic film where Noel explains they ways in which he is a cat, and Liam is a dog: “Cats are very independent creatures, they don’t give a fuck. Right bastards. Dogs, it’s just fucking, ‘Play with me, play with me, please fucking throw that ball for me. I need some company.’ It’s as basic as that. I’m a cat, OK. That’s just what I am.” This, like ‘Talk Tonight’ or ‘Going Nowhere’, is a Noel Is A Cat song: playing on his own, singing about being on his own.
Helter Skelter (2000)
IMHO Noel Gallagher’s voice does not sound good when he is shouting. If only he knew a guy who was brilliant at that sort of thing…
Undeniably charming, if only for how young Liam sounds. The guitar work at 3.30 is absolutely classic Noel.
Carry Us All (2000)
Hidden away as a ‘Sunday Morning Call’ B-side, ‘Carry Us All’ seems to be a pep talk from born-to-Irish-Catholics Noely G to believe in yourself, rather than a God of any kind. “Everybody’s gone for quick, sure fire solution / But faith in any god will only bury us all”, he goes. “No-one’s gonna fight in a ten-bob revolution /Have faith in what you’ve got and it will carry us all”, he continues. Worked out pretty well for him, didn’t it.
You’ve Got The Heart Of A Star (2002)
A theory: could this slow, warm acoustic ‘Songbird’ B-side be about the eldest Gallagher, Paul, and how strange life must be for him? Some lyrical evidence: “Cos you can only be what you are / and you’ve got the heart of a star / but the light never hits ya.” Hm yeah, maybe. Some more lyrical evidence: “So be all you can / and just hold up your hands / someday you’ll understand why life never kissed ya.” Hmmm yeeeeeah, maybe!
Better Let You Know (1992)
Tony McCarroll doubters be gone. His loose and lithe ways are perfect on this tune inspired by the Cartouche’s house banger ‘Feel The Groove’, back when Oasis were still influenced by dance music.
Life In Vain (1992)
If Liam re-recorded this little acoustic gem, with all the Ian Brown twang taken out of his voice, it’d sound right good on one of his solo albums.
Bag It Up (2008)
A dirty rocker, and a salve for everyone who’d always wondered if the moment Liam singing “hee-bee-gee-bees” would ever come.
Boy With The Blues (2008)
A Liam-written ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ cast-off that became a ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ cast-off and then a ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ bonus track and then the title track of an EP released in 2009. As Noel correctly pointed out to NME in 2005, the “Come all together / If we come all together / We’ll come all together for you” has a Spiritualized kinda vibe.
Keep The Dream Alive (2005)
There is a quiet majesty to this gently optimistic Andy Bell jam. It builds and it builds, and it steadies your mood. Reddit wizards have noticed a secret high-pitched sound at the 4.33. If you can’t hear it: best see a doctor.
Falling Down (2008)
Sort of famously, before Noely G released his debut solo album in 2011, he made and then popped in the bin an album with psychedelic space-rock dudes Amorphous Androgynous. The origins of that almost exciting collaboration can be found in AA’s 22 minute panpipe-heavy remix of this single from ‘Dig Out Your Soul’. It’s a good trip.
Little By Little (2002)
Makes more sense the older you get. Once, I heard it while shopping in Topps Tiles, and this bit in particular really spoke to me: “And all the time I just ask myself… Why am I really here?”
The Meaning Of Soul (2005)
Liam’s best Oasis tunes always got there quickly. Here are 97 seconds of rapid rock ‘n’ roll, probably about himself: “I’m different bleach and an Armani elite, I’m ten out of ten all night.”
Idler’s Dream (2002)
Get this: this is the only Oasis song with no guitar on it, just Noely G and a piano. Get this too: it’s one of only three Oasis songs that don’t have any drums or any other form of rhythmical accompaniment on them (the others, you will already know, are ‘Married With Children’ and ‘Sad Song’).
One Way Road (2000)
Noel left it off ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’, then decided it was actually brilliant so played an acoustic version of it on a radio show in Toronto in 2005. Better than the original, without a doubt:
Can Y’See It Now? (I Can See It Now!!) (2005)
Mostly instrumental bonus track for the Japanese edition of ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ which, intriguingly, made it into a compilation CD called ‘Brand Neu!’ that celebrated the influence of German krautrock heroes Neu. A cynic might suggest Oasis were chosen for the compilation so they’d sell more copies. Someone more optimistic might say that no, here are the seeds of some of the more playful moments in Noel’s solo career.
Love Like A Bomb (2005)
When Liam Gallagher falls in love, he falls in love hard. “I’m seeing a whole other world in my mind / Girl I feel it I’m breathing a love all the time,” he goes. “You turn me on / love’s like a bomb / Blowing my mind,” he continues. “Yeah I’m seeing, a whole other world in my mind / Girl I’m feeling we’ve been in love all the time,” he concludes. A good example of his charmingly straightforward songwriting.
Born On A Different Cloud (2002)
The bit where it goes “talking to myself again, this time I think I’m getting through” – very good.
Bonehead’s Bank Holiday (1995)
Bonehead, to Mojo, in 2005: “Liam takes me down the pub and we come back at midnight, legless, and there’s Noel and Owen waiting for me to record my vocal. I’ve got Liam holding me up, holding the lyrics in front of my face. We’re making up the words. Everyone’s crying with laughter. Months later I got a cassette through the post. It just had ‘BBH’ written on it – five hours of outtakes of ‘Bonehead’s Bank Holiday’ from Owen. I still play it a lot.” Someone tell Bonehead to get that on YouTube pronto.
Who Feels Love? (2000)
An unusually trippy Oasis tune (and their weirdest ever single?) that peaked on July 22 2000 when Liam turned up arseholed to the second of two Oasis gigs at Wembley Stadium and changed the lyrics to: “I thank you for the sun the one that shines on everyone who deals drugs / Now there’s a million years between my fantasies and fears, I’ve got drugs.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the man’s a genius.
Guess God Thinks I’m Abel (2005)
Liam, in the June 2005 issue of Mojo, about writing this song: ”It’s Biblical innit. Cain and Abel… it’s me and our kid. Or me and you. Two people who are the opposite, who become one. I love him, I adore him, more than anyone else in the fuckin’ whole wide world. But we also don’t speak that much. It’s like, shut the fuck up, give respect and you’ll get respect back. Life, brothers and sisters, that’s what we all want isn’t it, respect?” A sidenote: it’s sweet that Liam’s best songs are his tender ones.
Pass Me Down The Wine (2005)
Liam doing some good, dark songwriting. A fact: the only Oasis song with the f-word in the lyrics (“and to all the fathers who are sick and fucking tired”). Should’ve been on ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’.
She Is Love (2002)
Noel’s ‘Songbird’. Very cute despite the slightly strange “she is love and I believe her when she speaks” line.
(As Long As They’ve Got) Cigarettes In Hell (2000)
“I don’t mind not going to heaven, as long as they’ve got cigarettes in hell,” goes Noel. Sold.
Lord Don’t Slow Me Down (2007)
The trouble with ‘Lord Slow Me Down’ is there’s the official version, with Noel singing, and an unofficial version with LG on the mic. We all know who’s winning that fight. Both cuts kinda sound like the brothers doing Bob Dylan Going Electric karaoke, which is something well worth hearing.
Soldier On (2008)
The last track on Oasis’ last album, written by Liam. Here’s Noel being nice about it in a 2008 issues of Q: “It would have been easier, and more obvious, to put an uplifting song at the end of the album. When I hear it I imagine a guy with a big fucking rope and lump of concrete on his back: as if someone has told him right – there’s your baggage. Take it through your life, that’s why it was last on the album. I really, really love that song.”
It’s Better People (1995)
‘Wonderwall’ with different, and actually brilliant, lyrics. “It’s better people love one another / ‘Cause livin’ your life can be tough.” 100% accurate. But not, it must be said, Noel’s attitude when it comes to his little bro.
‘All Around The World’ B-side that, somehow, avoids the distinctive sound of ‘Be Here Now’. It’s big and it’s loud, but it’s also measured, has a jaunty chorus, and crucially and most endearingly there’s a whistle solo.
Just Getting Older (2002)
Released as a ‘The Hindu Times’ B-side but written in the ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ doldrums of 2000, ‘Just Getting Older’ is the sound if Noel Gallagher facing his demons (“I’m halfway up to the bottom of another bottle”), his life that he no longer likes (“I can’t be bothered making conversation with the friends that I don’t know”) and his mortality (“I bet that this is how life turns out when you’re finally grown”). But Noel is tough and Noel is wise, so he gets his shit together: “You’re not cracking up, you’re just getting older”. As if to prove the power of the message, YouTube commenter GamingTutor writes: “This song saved my life. I went through a really dark time when I had really bad depression in my teens and this literally saved me.” And you cannot argue with that.
I’m Outta Time (2008)
The only ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ tune that Liam plays in his solo sets, which says it all. Keep reaching for those high notes LG.
Some Oasis songs don’t make perfect sense until they’re played in front of 60,000 people and given the Liam Changes The Lyrics treatment. I give you ‘Lyla’ at the City Of Manchester stadium on July 3, 2005. Liam’s adaptation goes like so: “I waited for a thousand years for you to come and fuck me out my miiiiiiind.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the man’s a genius.
Digsy’s DInner (1994)
“These could be the best days of our li-iiiiiiiiiiiiiives” – amazing.
Angel Child (1997)
Noel-sung ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ B-side written during his summer of ‘97 writing sessions on the private Caribbean island of Mustique. Classic melody, good lyrics, should’ve been on ‘Be Here Now’ instead of ‘Magic Pie’, and was briefly resurrected by Noel for two solo gigs in 2012.
Another Noel homage to Stone Roses’ guitarist John Squire, especially his heavier escapades on ‘The Second Coming’. The lyrics are very much classic early Oasis, with lyrics about “a new day dawning” and needing shades “‘cause the sun is blinding”.
The Girl In The Dirty Shirt (1997)
General consensus is that the reason Noel dislikes ‘Be Here Now’ so much is because much of it is about his ex-wife Meg. Here he is speaking to Q in September 1997: “You guessed it. Meg is the girl in the dirty shirt. We were doing a gig in Brighton, just before Meg and me were going out. She was at the hotel ironing a dirty shirt because she hadn’t brought enough clothes with her. I know it sounds a bit soft. Liam will read this and say, You fucking wanker! Because he thinks all the songs are about him. He even thinks Wonderwall is about him.” So songs like ‘The Girl In The Dirty Shirt’ get sort of forgotten, because Oasis never played them. Tune though.
Take Me Away (1993)
Solo Noel, acoustic, in the style of his heroes Burt Bacharach and Harry Nilsson, singing about a better life: “cos me and my soul we know where we’re going / we’re going where the grass is free, the air is clean and the good times are growing.” Classic early NG. One take. Easy.
Roll It Over (2000)
A textbook Noel cocaine comedown song – and the sad but grand finale to ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ – on which he takes a “look around at all the plastic people, who live without a care / try to sit with me around my table, but never bring a chair”. Liam gives it some necessary edge, and NG gets his very best Pink Floyd on at the 3.15 mark.
Little James (2000)[Text Wrapping Break]Liam Gallagher. For much of the mid-late ‘90s, a man both celebrated and despised for his wild, reckless, loutish behaviour, and a man who was not necessarily known for having a caring side, or for handling the big emotions well. ‘Little James’. A song written by said man for and about his stepson James, and his then-wife Patsy Kensit. There is a lot of heart, love and soul in this song, and there is a lot of //gratitude// in this song. He loved that kid. You can hear it. And that’s why ‘Little James’ is amazing.
The Hindu Times (2002)
Check out this demo version of ‘Heathen Chemistry’’s lead single: The sound is better, the lyrics are better, the pace is better and the vibe is better. Obviously Noel’s a genius, but he did make some weird decisions.