- February 1, 2023
The song was so long and drawn out that even the artists who produced it expected to have the introduction edited, but because their status in Britain was so huge at the time, nobody asked. Maybe it helped that there were references to the Beatles in it (“The fool on the Hill,” and “I Feel
The song was so long and drawn out that even the artists who produced it expected to have the introduction edited, but because their status in Britain was so huge at the time, nobody asked.
Maybe it helped that there were references to the Beatles in it (“The fool on the Hill,” and “I Feel Fine”) and Bob Dylan work (“Blood on the Tracks”). All seven minutes and 42 seconds worth. And it’s called “D’you Know What I Mean.”
By the bold and brash and Brit band Oasis, of course.
I thought I would share some thoughts about this song, the first single of their album “Be Here Now” released on July 7, 1997. Yes — 21 years ago! It came during the band’s pinnacle; things went awry (downhill) pretty much after. So pay close attention and let’s compare notes.
Whether or not you liked music by Oasis (“Wonderwall,” “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” “Champagne Supernova”) it was really beside the point. It was being constantly played. Brothers Liam (now 50), and Noel (now 45) Gallagher bickered and feuded and ranted so much that their decline was inevitable.
They made headlines in the tabloids each week with their spats (on and off stage), and wild lifestyles that included plenty of booze and partying. But, find me a popular group who doesn’t indulge in young groupies in hot tubs, drugs, alcohol, flashy cars and trashed hotel rooms, and I’ll show you an honest politician. That hard.
Some background — the band Oasis formed in 1991 in Manchester, England, but by 2009 they were history.
In between, they left a memorable mark on the music scene. Love them or hate them (they seemed to hate each other) they powered their way to the top of the charts.
The album “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” became one of the best selling albums of all time in the U.K. at 22 million copies. In 1996, Oasis performed two nights at Knebworth, with an attendance of 125,000 each night! 2.5 million people tried to get tickets for the shows. It’s been said both shows sold out in almost 15 minutes!
Oasis supposedly had an “obsession” with the Beatles, which heavily influenced their music. Comparisons to the Fab Four were inevitable, and Sir Paul McCartney wasn’t exactly thrilled over it. They still remain a strong catalyst in British music and culture and are now recognized as one of the most acclaimed bands of the 1990s.
But, man oh man, those brothers loved to argue and berate each other. Several times to the point of hitting each other over the head with tambourines or cricket sticks. They made a scene. That, however, was actually part of their scene.
I think if you take the time to review (several times) the video of “D’you Know What I Mean,” we can have some fun and make analogies and/or assumptions about the group at that time and what they were trying to say. In other words — do you know what I mean? Onto the video.
First off, lead singer Liam takes a front and center stance and looks like a modern day biblical character (in olive green military parka and custom sun shades) to extoll the virtues in a post-apocalyptic world. Amidst burned out and desolate buildings, and camouflage choppers buzzing overhead (dropping off hordes of young listeners and worshippers) they perform this song.
Of the song itself, Noel Gallagher once said, “I (expletive) love that line, ‘coming in a mess, going out in style.’ We were a bunch of scruffs from Manchester going out in a Rolls Royce.”
Did Oasis predict their own demise? Was this masterful music video a precursor to doom and gloom for the band? I mean it was the end of being the crystal vase on the top mantle amongst British bands; it was ready to fall and smash into pieces as many other bands have done. But, what can we learn from this song and video?
One line particularly strikes a chord (no pun intended) with me. “No one can give me the air that’s mine to breathe.” Interpreted, I think Oasis is telling us no one (no matter how hard they try) can live your life for you. We live, love and learn within our own personal places and spaces. It’s about living your life as you see fit — and others be damned.
Pretty evident as the smug, confident (cocky?) lead singers face stares at the sky and proclaims, “All my people right here, right now…yeah, yeah.” Even his 1990s attire is cool suave. Simple, but strong. I like it.
Another potent line, “Get up off the floor and believe in life, no one’s ever gonna ask you twice, get on the bus and bring it on home to me.”
My take? Only when you realize and harvest your full potential can you share it with others the way it was meant to.
For a small time in the late 1990s, this smug band who sold out constantly to hysterical fans could do no wrong. The pinnacle. Some people actually thought this song was a proclamation to the Beatles brigade; it was to mean — The Beatles are history. We are the here and the now!
To my valued reader base who think I have nothing better to do these days than slice and dice music videos and lyrics till they make some sense is only partly true. I detest painting fences and watching weeds grow.
No, there’s a lesson to be leaned with this song and video (either the original or the 2016 remastered version). Before their success, the Gallagher brothers were deadbeat losers. This song is their anthem about not only seizing an opportunity, but it’s also about seizing the good life. Even though they were bad. Got that?
Thus, when Liam says (asks), “All my people, right here, right now, D’ you know what I mean?”
The answer is — definitely, maybe.