Twenty years ago this week, Oasis released (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, the band's second studio album --12 tracks, just over 50 minutes of music -- and thereafter, the world was never the same.
Well, that's not true. The record did catapult the perpetually cranky alt-Britpoppers from relatively low-key indie act to worldwide critical and commercial success. It sold 347,000 copies in its first week, spent 10 weeks at #1 on the UK Albums Chart, and hit #4 on the Billboard 200. As of 2011, it had sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. It's a very, very good album.
But let's be real: the biggest and most lasting impact WTSMG has had on pop culture was birthing, nurturing and encouraging a neverending supply of doofy 19-year-old dudes who recently learned to play guitar and want to know if maybe you'd like to go back to their room to watch them perform their heartfelt cover of "Wonderwall."
I've often fantasized about creating a compilation record, a sort of spinoff from the unstoppable Now That's What I Call Music! series, called Now That's What I Call Music That One Guy From Your Freshman Dorm Is Always Playing In the Common Area, Taking It Really Seriously With His Eyes Closed and Everything, Trying To Impress a Different Girl Every Time, No Really Dude You Should Learn Another Song. The album would have 12 tracks that are all just "Wonderwall."
It's understandable that this song, in particular, attracted such a specific following. The chord changes are relatively simple, the vocal range not terribly demanding. But the specific sneer in Gallagher's throat coupled with the bittersweet lyrics, the almost cinematic drumming, the interplay between guitar and the swell of the string section -- they're all necessary, and it's a tougher song to replicate well than you might think.