Trying to file a musical artist in a specific genre in 2023 can be an eminently frustrating experience. Things can get especially weird when you start factoring in punk and its offshoots, as a recent Washington Post analysis of the increasingly fraught term “emo” by Chris Richards demonstrates. Even so, there are a few artists who likely don’t come to mind when the word “punk” comes up – and you’d think that Oasis are one of them.
Brit-pop? Sure. Retro? Undoubtedly. Rock? Absolutely. But Oasis’s Definitely Maybe is unlikely to make anyone’s list of notable punk albums released in 1994 — a year that also saw the release of Green Day’s major label debut Dookie and Rancid’s Let’s Go, among others — except for, well, at least one member of Oasis.
That member is Noel Gallagher, who made the claim in a recent conversation with Mojo. “Definitely Maybe was the last great punk album in many respects,” Gallagher explained. “We were a punk band with Beatles melodies. We had no effects, barely any equipment, just loads of attitude, 12 cans of Red Stripe and ambition. If you listen to that and Never Mind The Bollocks, they’re quite similar.”
Later, Gallagher went into more detail about his feelings on his band’s debut. “It’s an honest snapshot of working-class lads trying to make it,” he said. “It’s about shagging birds, taking drugs, drinking and the glory of all of that.”
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The entire piece is…well, it’s something. If you’ve ever wanted to read Noel Gallagher talking shit about nearly every other British band of any prominence in the 1990s, you’ve come to the right place. His comments include metaphorical swings at Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Echobelly and Felt — among many others.
But it also begs the question of what Noel Gallagher thinks punk actually is. He argues that both Oasis’s debut and that of the Sex Pistols were about the experience of being a teenager at the time that their albums were released — but by that logic, Brian Wilson’s description of Smile as “a teenage symphony to God” would also file the Beach Boys in the punk rock canon, which seems wildly off base.
Still, it’s not like this is the first contentious thing Gallagher has done. And hey, what could be more punk rock than arguing about whether or not something is actually punk?
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