Oh they love Oasis at my gym, yes they do. It may have something to do with the fact that the guy in charge of the music is probably Mancunian in origin, but there’s no chance you’re ever going to get through a whole session of bicep curls without hearing one of the Gallagher brothers sneering through the speakers. Usually when you’re forced to listen to a band over and over again, you start to resent their very existence and hate them more every single time. The opposite thing is happening to me with Oasis. It almost seems as if now that they’ve properly kicked the bucket and spawned other terribly named bands (Beady Eye), their tunes keep on getting more traction on the musical race track of my brain.
Take ‘Married With Children.’ It’s the last song on Definitely Maybe, definitely not the most grandiose or epic considering that this is the album that also has ‘Live Forever’, ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ and shit, ‘Supersonic’on it, but it’s my favourite thing in the world right now. There’s nothing flash about it, it’s a simple statement about how much other people sometimes suck and that’s completely wonderful. It’s a quiet jewel hiding in the chain of an otherwise blinged-out band; even ‘Wonderwall’ is designed to beat you around the head despite being driven by acoustic guitars and cellos and whatnot. For me it’s the British equivalent of when Red Hot Chili Peppers got Flea to perform ‘Pea’ solo on One Hot Minute, a similarly small anthem that railed against the morons. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not Noel singing this song to Liam, or vice versa. “Your music’s shite it keeps me up all night,” could certainly have more weight to it if it represented yet another element of an ongoing brotherly spat.
When Britpop was good, it was really bloody good. Albums like Definitely Maybe are an anomaly now, they hark back to a time when the end of an album was as engaging as the first few notes, and it’s telling that the only record to outsell this one in terms of first week sales in the UK was the Arctic Monkeys’ debut twelve years later. ‘Married With Children’ is the best kind of defeatist anthem, the kind of thing that they play in a pub when you’ve stayed way past closing time and there’s nothing left to do but sit there and feel sorry for yourself. It’s the wearied sound of the weight of the world with a diabetes problem, articulated perfectly in that kind of ‘fuck off’ Oasis attitude that has never really been replicated. “I hate the way that even though you know you’re wrong, you say you’re right…” Strumming, singing, some well-placed guitar noodling above and a laidback ride cymbal below, ‘Married’ is probably how Oasis wrote most of their songs to begin with and it remains a curious blueprint for what was to come. There is so much soul in this little ditty, and warmth too, even though they’re dedicating the whole thing to solitude and peace and quiet. Everyone always accuses this band of shamelessly ripping off The Beatles, but hell, they did it a lot better than most of what we’re hearing now.
Get a beer, yell at the neighbors and turn up the fire.
Oasis – ‘Married With Children’
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