They may have fizzled out rather than burnt away, but before tensions and brotherly arguments got the better of them, Oasis were the biggest band of their generation. After arriving on the scene with their incendiary debut Definitely Maybe, they ruled the charts with hits like Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back in Anger. Although they never bettered their first two albums, their releases continued to top the charts until they eventually disbanded in 2009. To date, they’ve sold over 70 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. Here’s how we rank all the Oasis albums from worst to best.
8. Dig Your Soul Out
During an interview in 2008, Noel Gallagher described Dig Your Soul Out as “colossal” and “rockin’.” Some critics agreed, with Billboard claiming that it moved Oasis “back to its stripped-down rock roots.” Others were less enthusiastic, calling the album generic and bland. They had a point. Oasis didn’t often ‘do’ beige, but here, they painted the entire album in it. Their experiments with psychedelia sound less groovy than lifeless, while the tracklist is an exercise in mediocrity. It may have given them commercial success (the album debuted at No. 1 in the UK and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in the US – their highest charting position since 1997’s Be Here Now) but it was a disappointing swansong, none the less.
7. Heathen Chemistry
By the early days of the millennium, Britpop was officially dead. Bands like The Strokes had emerged, and with them, rock and roll had lost its cocky swagger and gained a brain. Oasis’ response was Heathen Chemistry, an album that attempts to keep up with the times but falters at the first hurdle. The opening track, The Hindu Times, is sensational. The moment it fades out, things go downhill rapidly. The few decent songs are provided mainly by Liam Gallagher, who contributes the slender but lovely Songbird and the sneering, swaggering Better Man. Other than those few moments, it’s an album without swagger, without sparkle, and without a trace of the magic that propelled Oasis to glory with Definitely Maybe.
6. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Described by What Culture as one of Oasis’ most experimental records, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants isn’t short on great songs. The Beatles’ inspired lead single, Go Let It Out, is a particular highlight, while Sunday Morning Call and Where Did it All Go Wrong? are as gripping as anything in the band’s canon. But the album doesn’t quite gel. The experiments are puzzling, rather than mind-blowing, and the more conventional fare (such as Liam Gallagher’s first writing credit, Little James) seems at best pointless and at worst like the work of an Oasis tribute band. For all that, the album was a success – released in February 2000, it became the 16th fastest-selling album in UK history, selling over 310,00 copies in the first week alone and debuting at No. 1. It’s since been certified double platinum.
5. Be Here Now
As Far Out notes, Be Here Now is Oasis’ transitional album, catching them in the middle ground between blistering departure and fateful destination. The days of Britpop were numbered, and while it was inevitable that Oasis would have to move on at some point, here, they sound like they haven’t yet decided where they’re headed. The songwriting is strong, especially on tracks like Stand By Me and Don’t Go Away, but the music that surrounds it lacks energy. Despite a lackluster critical reception, the album was a commercial success, becoming the fasting selling album in chart history and reaching No .1 in 15 countries.
4. Don’t Believe the Truth
After several consistently bad records in a row, Oasis were in need of a showstopper. They were still shifting as many albums as ever, but the days of people expecting to find the next Wonderwall or Don’t Look Back In Anger on them were over. 2005’s Don’t Believe the Truth wasn’t exactly a showstopper, but it did at least find them in better shape than they’d been in years. It doesn’t break new ground, but tracks like Lyla, The Importance of Being Idle, and Let There Be Love are all solid enough to stand up to (if not compete with) their earlier material. There’s a little too much filler, but compared to what had come directly before (and what would come directly next), it’s a very decent offering.
3. The Masterplan
The Masterplan is a compilation album consisting of B sides that had never made it onto an album before. Why Oasis choose to hold them back is a mystery. As The LA Times said, almost all of the tracks are good enough to have made it onto one of the group’s regular studio albums, and a few are expectational enough to rank alongside their finest moments. After reaching No. 2 in the UK and the Top 20 in numerous other countries, it eventually certified triple Platinum.
2. What’s The Story (Morning Glory)
Oasis may have lost their mojo after What’s The Story (Morning Glory), but the album itself gives no clue as to what was on the horizon. Their second album is a blazing, blistering piece of Britpop with more hits than most bands can muster over an entire career. From Champagne Supernova to Don’t Look Back In Anger, the entire album is indelibly printed on the minds of an entire generation. It turned Oasis into a worldwide sensation; even now, it still stands up as one of the best albums of the last 30 years. Released in October 1995, it spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the UK Albums chart and reached No. 4 on the US Billboard 200, becoming their US breakthrough. It’s since been certified 4 x Platinum in the US and 16 x Platinum in the UK.
1. Definitely Maybe
Definitely Maybe announced the arrival of Oasis in no uncertain terms. There was no hesitancy, no shyness about the band’s debut. Before the first copy had even been pressed, in their minds, they were the biggest band of their generation. Once it hit the stores, they became it. It’s rare for a band to arrive so fully formed, and so utterly justified in all their cocksure arrogance. It was the album that kickstarted Britpop, that provided the backbone to Cool Britannia, and that remains the soundtrack to a generation. Released in August 1994, it shot straight to the top of the charts in the UK, eventually certifying 7 x Platinum.