ALBUM: Oasis - The Masterplan (1998)

Exactly 20 years ago today on 2 November 1998, Oasis released their classic B sides compilation 'The Masterplan'. 

You can listen to the album in full below via YouTube. If you appreciate the music, we encourage you to support the artists by buying their music digitally or physically online or from your local record shop.

The flipside to an astonishing era in British music, The Masterplan documents some of the highlights featured on the band's singles from 1994 to 1998. 

It's almost what could've been if Noel Gallagher had saved up these tracks for the third album rather than casually throwing them onto the b sides of the singles. He obviously thought the magic streak would never end. Instead it did (for a while anyway), and the band were left with the songs that ended up as Be Here Now.

It's an LP that exhibits every side of Oasis and proves them to be more versatile and dynamic than many claimed they were. Opener 'Acquiesce' kicks up a storm with its fierce guitars and brilliantly effective duet between Liam and Noel that perfectly encapsulated their fire and water combination. 'Underneath The Sky' is an upbeat, carefree sounding tune that skips along pleasantly, but as well as a dose of that unmistakable attitude, there's something weird and psychedelic going on in there somewhere. 

The tender, acoustic 'Talk Tonight' was written by Noel after he left the band on an American tour, on the verge of walking out for good. British music owes a big favour to the woman who took him in for a night and inspired him to change his mind... Written before superstardom but recorded at the height of Oasismania, the wonderful 'Going Nowhere' demonstrates why Noel's voice was necessary for the more graceful moments. It's also a song that reminds us that dreams can come true, and that anything is possible. 'Fade Away' rages with that fierce energy that brought the band to people's attention, a thrashy edge that's also noticeable on the powerful 'Listen Up', and then there's the heaving, snarling cover of 'I Am The Walrus'.

There's the sublime Bacharach-like 'Half The World Away', where the yearning qualities of Noel's vocal embellish an exquisite bit of songwriting. The wonderful 'Roll With It' flipside 'Rocking Chair's demonstrates the thuggish vulnerability that Liam's vocals added to the more introspective moments and shows his more tender side. In direct contrast, the vicious 'Headshrinker' features LG's most exhilarating and ferocious performance of all time, spitting out the words with venom as punk rock riffage and supercharged intensity rip through the song. Meanwhile 'It's Good To Be Free' is a seismic, swaggering monster designed to make you feel ten feet tall, and the joyous, life affirming 'Stay Young' is a snapshot of the Manchester giants at the peak of their powers. Why it was left off 'Be Here Now' remains one of rock music's biggest mysteries.

It wouldn't be complete without its title track and grand finale. To class 'The Masterplan' as B side material is laughable. It is in fact a majestic piece of work that stands tall as one of Gallagher's strongest compositions.

These songs may have just been extra tracks on CD singles, yet became more massive and ingrained in our culture than many chart hits of the time.


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