Noel Gallagher - Reuters - 20th November 2006
Rock icons Oasis release their greatest songs album on Tuesday capturing more than a decade of hits, but the band's main songwriter Noel Gallagher says his best-known tunes are not so great.
For many Oasis fans, three songs -- "Wonderwall," "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Champagne Supernova" from the blockbuster hit 1995 album "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" -- were the defining moment for the band.
For Gallagher, the album was overrated.
"Morning Glory, I don't think it's the best-sounding record we have ever done," Gallagher told Reuters in an interview. "Some of the songs are not as great as people think they are."
As for the notion that "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Wonderwall" captured the spirit of British optimism of the mid-1990s, Gallagher puts much of it down to timing.
"There was always going to be one defining British album that came out at that time, it just so happened we put ours out at the right time and the songs, being about hope and love, just struck a chord with people," Gallagher said.
"I don't much like 'Wonderwall,' but the effect that song has on people, I can't deny it," he said. "Great music is in the ear of the beholder."
"I still don't know who this chick Sally is," he said of the heroine of "Don't Look Back in Anger."
"I wrote the thing and I don't know what it means, but for some reason, for (fans) it means the world to them," he said.
"All those lyrics, like 'Champagne Supernova' and that, they were just nonsense ... you can think about those lyrics for the next 500 years and they still won't mean anything."
As Gallagher reviews the 18-song, 2-disc "Stop the Clocks" compilation, he says the band's first album "Definitely Maybe" from 1994 remains his best work.
"People are still hailing it as one of the greatest albums of all time," he said, calling it on a par with the seminal punk opus "Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols."
Absent from the album, which includes some of the band's famed B-sides, is anything from their third effort, 1997's "Be Here Now," when the band came close to imploding under the weight of their own success and a blizzard of cocaine.
"As soon as you get involved in cocaine, it all goes out the window because you think that every note you play on the guitar is ... monumental," Gallagher said.
Now 39, Gallagher is more relaxed that at the height of his fame and drug abuse when he notoriously wished Blur frontman Damon Albarn death by AIDS before later apologising.
"It's shallow," Gallagher said of the life of drugs he gave up in 1998 after a moment of clarity.
"Back in the day, I was prone to making sweeping statements," he said, adding that he has no real regrets. "It was a time for heroes, it wasn't a time for being reserved and concise about our success. We were ... bigger than Jesus."
Now having completed a six-album record deal with Sony Music, Gallagher says he has no plans because for the first time since 1994, Oasis are without a recording contract.
"It's quite a liberating feeling," he said. "I'm sitting back at the minute and saying, 'I couldn't be bothered, I've achieved everything I ever set out to achieve.'"
"But on the other hand, Oasis is such a fantastic thing, you could never walk away from it, ever," he said. "While you still have breath in your lungs and could still stand up and weren't bald, you couldn't walk away from this."