photo & text by nacrowe
BE HERE NOW (CREATION, 1997) is often critically derided as the moment OASIS, and by extension the BRITPOP movement, lost the script and jumped the shark. i dont believe that is entirely true or fair. to me, BE HERE NOW represents a new batch of songs written post-FAME, as the first two seminal records, DEFINITELY MAYBE (CREATION, 1994) and WHAT'S THE STORY (MORNING GLORY)? (CREATION, 1995) were essentially written by NOEL GALLAGHER concurrently and stockpiled over a lifetime of private attempts.
given such restraints, BE HERE NOW is a bit MEANDERING at times with tracks such as "MAGIC PIE," "DON'T GO AWAY," "BE HERE NOW" and most famously "D'YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?" all not having that focus and MELODIC and compositional potency of their earlier material. i think such a critique regarding those specific songs is warranted, but my favorite material from the record including tracks like "STAND BY ME," "ALL AROUND THE WORLD" and "MY BIG MOUTH" are as CONSISTENT as anything off the first two records. and i think such achievements get lost in the shuffle.
and maybe the marketing is to blame for such. i remember being stateside on summer break at a relative's house in NEW JERSEY when this record came out and seeing the "D'YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?" video on rotation on MTV. the song sonically felt EPIC, probably due in part to the pseudo-wartime visuals of slow-motion helicopters and COLORFUL flairs in a post-apocalyptic dreary factory setting that made LIAM GALLAGHER look even more undeniably cool in his green parka and signature sneer behind a pair of sunglasses. but the song was SUBPAR and over time i found myself listening to BE HERE NOW less than the previous two records.
i believe what saved this record were subsequent live records that showcased the POWER of some of these songs. in summation there are no bad OASIS records, but BE HERE NOW is probably not their peak. NOEL has admitted such in years since. he's definitely learned the lesson of the consequences of excessive DRUG USE while in the studio. the DAMAGE is allowing some uninspired and seemingly INCOHERENT material from seeing the public light of day. its a mistake id argue he has not repeated in an otherwise outstanding discography before and since.