When it comes to Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, what can you say that hasn’t already been said? It remains one of the greatest albums ever recorded, one of the most important albums to come from the ’90s, and it defines the Britpop era with its incredible run of hits.
For those who weren’t around at the time, it almost feels impossible to gauge the importance of an album such as this. It was a breath of Britpop-tinged fresh air in an era when grunge was still dominating the rock scene, and helped to bring Oasis onto the well-deserved world stage.
That’s not to say that Oasis wasn’t already a globally-recognised outfit. After all, their 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe, was an instant smash, becoming the fastest-selling debut album in the United Kingdom at the time. With such hype behind them, the average music fan would’ve been forgiven for thinking the group might fall into the dreaded sophomore slump, especially given the massive publicity given to the Battle of Britpop behind Manchester’s working-class Oasis, and London’s seemingly-bourgeois Blur.
However, when “Some Might Say” rolled onto the airwaves not even eight months on from the release of Definitely Maybe, there was no maybe about the group’s momentum. Eventually, October of 1995 saw the release of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, and the story that adorned the pages of the musical press was one of amazement and praise.
The stories surrounding its release are well-known, of course. It broke sales records at the time, it won countless awards, it topped charts globally, and it transformed Oasis from a bunch of musicians who’d made a strong debut into an outfit whose place in the history books was cemented. Even their famous Knebworth House performance remain almost mythical events, with 125,000 people attending each date of their two-night residency – a minuscule portion of the 2.5 million that reportedly applied for tickets.
But does the album still hold up a quarter of a century later? Sadly, the Oasis that brought the album into the world all those years ago no longer exists. Ultimately, the group would split just one week on from the 15th anniversary of Definitely Maybe, with the ubiquitous Gallagher brothers – that is, Liam and Noel – continuously at loggerheads in regards to whether a reunion could, would, or will ever take place.
What does remain though, is the music, and in honour of their iconic album’s anniversary, a special vinyl reissue was unveiled earlier this month to coincide with the record’s original release. Packaged on a two-disc silver vinyl package (silver being the traditional 25-year gift, of course), the release is a faithful recreation of the original issue, albeit through the Big Brother label rather than the sadly-defunct Creation.
From the moment that needle meets disc, there’s an almost nostalgic feeling at play; almost as if the listener has been transported back to that moment 25 years ago when the record first graced turntables. As the opening notes of “Hello” slowly seep out of the speaker, and Liam Gallagher’s inimitable nasal vocals welcome the listener back thanks to the familiar lyrics of Gary Glitter, it’s clear that everyone listening will agree, it is indeed “good to be back” once again.
Truth be told, it’s nearly impossible for a reissue of a classic album to feature any faults outside of any potential packaging or pressing issues. Truly, the record is helped along by the inclusion of its iconic tracks, as “Wonderwall”, “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, “Some Might Say”, “Morning Glory”, and “Champagne Supernova” showcasing exactly why it is that Oasis’ work deserves such a reissue years down the line.
Of course, a vinyl version of this record plays directly into the hearts of the diehard Oasis fan, with “Bonehead’s Bank Holiday” – a vinyl-only track that was intended to be guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs’ Ringo Starr moment – making its well-deserved return to the tracklist.
In fact, the only potential detriment that the package has towards the album’s stunning quality or legacy lies within the quality of the press. Though reports of some surface noise across the discs has seen some music-lovers dock a few points off the reissue, it seems as though such claims are few and far between, leading to the 25th anniversary of the album to be one of the most vital in the band’s back catalogue.
Could the silver anniversary of the record’s release have been improved? Undoubtedly fanatics would call for unheard material, B-sides, rarities, or live cuts to help round out the product (as the accompanying deluxe CD edition has done), but the old adage of “if it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind. How exactly do you improve on one of the greatest albums ever released? Truly, it’s impossible, and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – in its original, unaltered form – will forever stand tall as Oasis’ finest hour.
The 25th anniversary edition of Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is out now in a variety of different formats.