wed 18/09/2019

Reissue CDs Weekly: Oasis | reviews, news & interviews

Reissue CDs Weekly: Oasis

Reissue CDs Weekly: Oasis

Aural vandalism inflicted on ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’

Liam and Noel Gallagher in 1995. They'd cover those lugs if they knew what would happen to '(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?' 19 years onPhoto: Stefan de Batselier


Oasis: (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?Oasis: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

Adding anything to a story so familiar, so raked over and one played out in public is tricky. Most probably, there are few revelations left about the Oasis of 1995, the year they released their second album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? In its slipstream they racked up a set of mostly unbroken records: it sold 347,000 in the week of release; 2.6m  applications were made for tickets to their Knebworth shows.

A large proportion of the latter figure must have bought the album, begging the question of whether it’s worth buying again 19 years after its original 2 October 1995 release. The new Super Deluxe Box Set edition, selling for £100 on the Oasis website includes a book, 7-inch single with an exclusive track, replica promo cassette, repro promo cigarette papers, the music on both CD and vinyl, and will presumably be for fans wanting the ultimate souvenir of this era-defining album.

Those happy with the music alone will look to the standard, book-bound 3CD edition which collects the album itself (Disc One), 14 B-sides and extra tracks (Disc Two – the live at Glastonbury “Live Forever” from the "Roll With it” CD EP is not collected) and demos and live cuts (Disc Three). But please heed this health warning before hitting the buy button. The new chapter in the Oasis story is not a happy one.

Oasis 1995The album now boasts a remaster so hard on the ears it makes you instantly reach for an original pressing to check if it sounded this harsh and undynamic. It didn’t. This new version has virtually all its levels pushed to the highest in the same way as CDs from the Loudness war which peaked in the 1990s. The album now has few dips from the high end, hardly any space and the loudest passages of full-on performances like “Some Might Say” are aural mush demanding a visit to the bathroom for a rinse of the ears. It really is that awful. The opening passages of “Morning Glory” are as if heard from the end of a wind tunnel while the remainder of the song is akin to bees massed in a jar. The subtle outro of “She’s Electric” loses all impact in this remaster. Even the relatively sparse, instrument-light sections of “Champagne Supernova” are pushed to the limit. The original vinyl album shows it was not this way in 1995 – there was a dynamic which enhanced the songs and their performance. For proof, buy one. They’re around £40 from internet sites and kick this horrible new rendering into a ditch. (Pictured left, a happy Oasis in 1995. Photo by Iain Roberston)

Perhaps this new version is a oblique prequel for a reissue of their then-sludgy, then-stodgy sounding next album Be Here Now? Does whoever had sign-off on this release have issues with their hearing? In terms of rewriting history, the net result is similar to the absurd situation with Iggy & the Stooges' Raw Power where, until the 2010 package, previous reissues on CD employed a mix made subsequent to the original release – unless a first pressing was found, the album as originally intended was unavailable.

All of this becomes even more of a pity on arrival at the also terrible-sounding Disc Two as it includes fine songs now harder to find in their original form. “Acquiesce” repeats the wind tunnel/bees coup. It was not thus on the original CD EP (I made the comparison). The always-wonderful “Rockin’ Chair” has been similarly sullied (I made the comparison there too – although originally mastered with high levels it had peaks and troughs, and had not been taken to the all-plateau limit).

Which means this flawed release is entirely about the third disc of previously unheard material. How much are those five demos, nine inessential live tracks, a booklet compiling mostly vintage, cut 'n' pasted quotes alongside photos and images of handwritten lyrics worth? According to Amazon, £14.99.

Comments

Reading this made me laugh! Seriously, if you want to slate the re issue of this album with such quotes as "bees massed in a jar", then original also deserves similar derogatory terminology. Albums such as this were released at a time when the loudness wars were at a peak. Reading this 'review' would make one think that the original is vastly superior and silky smooth in it's production... Well it isn't! All of the Oasis albums sound rough and raw, it doesn't matter if it's the original or a re issue, the original mastering was right on the 0db peak and very heavily compressed. Anyone with a half decent Hi-Fi and healthy ears could tell you that all of these albums sound far less than perfect. They were never meant to be perfect. That's not to say the musical content isn't excellent, it is! However the sound quality is and always has been dire. So you feel that £15 is too much for a 3disc box set with dodgy cut and paste photos and song lyrics? £15 hardly buys a round of drinks these days, it's nothing. Simply peanuts, I think it's worth buying if you are a fan who want's the extra tracks on here which are otherwise unavailable or hard to find now. I also like the handwritten song lyrics, yeah they are copied (obviously) it wouldn't be possible to supply originals now would it?? It's a nice touch and the photos are a nice trip down memory lane of those days when we all bought this album as a teenager and we remeber Oasis as they were then and how Oasis and us as fans and people have all evolved nearly 20 years later. The fact an album of this era is still important enough to be remembered and remastered/reissued speaks volumes. It isn't perfect and it never was. This in no way detracts from the original issue, it's a worthy tribute to an album that played a big part in people's lives and will always be remembered.

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