Years ago, I interviewed Andy Bell, who joined Oasis in 1999 after the original lineup fell apart in a mess of cocaine, lager, and indecipherable insults.
He said that on the day Oasis’ debut album Definitely Maybe was released, Noel Gallagher sat down in their label’s office with an acoustic guitar and played Bell – who was in shoegaze favourites Ride at the time – all the songs, in order, for what would become the band’s second album, the mammoth (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?.
The Gallagher brothers may give off an air of uncontrolled chaos, but it is clear that Noel thoughtfully crafted each of his albums: the fact that he had such a remarkable collection of songs ready to unleash on the world certainly explains his confidence levels around that time. I’d be telling people I was the greatest songwriter since Jesus too, if I knew I had the likes of ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Cast No Shadow’ and ‘Some Might Say’ in my back pocket.
The demo of ‘Some Might Say’ shares an identical arrangement to the album version, but is notably slower; it feels like wading through waist-high water with jeans on. It’s rather hypnotic too: the fact Noel recorded this demo in Wales using The Verve’s gear no doubt accounts for the laconic feel. Those lads were well into psychedelics, and I can’t imagine Noel abstained during these sessions.
The most interesting thing about Oasis demos – aside from falling into a parallel universe where Noel is the lead singer of the band – is how fully-formed they are. Gallagher is a master craftsman, with each chord change, melody line, and lead part carefully considered. Of course the lyrics are pure gibberish, as is often his way: “The sink is full of fishes, she’s got dirty dishes on the brain” follows the tradition of psychotropic nonsense set by Lennon in ‘I Am The Walrus’.
Noel may speak his mind more than most, but, strangely enough, he rarely reveals his heart in lyrical form. For that reason, when songs like ‘Wonderwall’ quietly declare, “I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now”, it seems like a stark revelation from a man who learned to suppress his softer emotions on the rough council estates of his youth.
More than any other band, Oasis are all about capturing a feeling – and even in demo form, this shiiiiiiines through clearly.