Wednesday, 26 September 2018
Oasis - The Masterplan (1998)
Released November 1998
This album was a compilation of 'b' sides and unreleased material mainly aimed at the US market which contained a quality of songs that many artists would have given their eye teeth to have in their canon. Indeed, it can be likened to as a perfectly credible album and many would argue it is the superior collection of work to its official predecessor 1977's bloated and somewhat indulgent "Be Here Now".
The album has not been remastered, but, via the wonders of digital technology, if you have the first three albums in their 2014 remastered "deluxe editions", you can cherry pick the tracks to make up a 2014 remastered version of "The Masterplan". Most impressive it sounds too. Not as bombastic as the original masterings, with some subtleties in percussion and bass brought to the fore.
Highlights are the solid, rocking blast of "Acquiesce"; a raw live version of The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus"; the jaunty psychedelia of "Underneath The Sky"; the plaintive, acoustic, Paul Weller-influenced "Talk Tonight"; the surprising Burt Bacharach-inspired "Going Nowhere". These are all excellent tracks worthy of positions on regular albums. "Fade Away" rocks frenetically, but no amount of remastering will cure its raucous sound, however. Therein lies much of its grungy appeal, though. "The Swamp Song" is an excellent instrumental too. "Listen Up" has a great bass sound and clear, sharp percussion. "Rockin' Chair" has echoes of The Jam, for me. Maybe that's just me, but there is something about it. The tuneful, emotive "Half The World Away" and "(It's Good) To Be Free" both sound excellent in their remastered formats.
Just check out "Stay Young". Maybe the best track on the album. Solid anthemic Oasis rock at its finest. Their rock is never particularly fast, or slow. It is always just solid. "Headshrinker" has a real seventies-style guitar intro and a punk feel to it. Again, it forcefully chugs along. Noel Gallagher reckons the acoustic, bassy and orchestrated "The Masterplan" is the best Oasis song he ever wrote. When it breaks out into the full band bit, it is easy to agree with him.
All the material is good on this album, let's be honest. It exists perfectly credibly as a bona fide Oasis album.
- September 26, 2018