“All Around the World” by Oasis

Oasis were possibly the greatest of all the Nineties Britpop bands, but their third album, Be Here Now, while well-received at the time of its release, has somehow acquired a reputation as a massive disaster in the intervening years. This song, one of two UK Number One hits from the album, receives a particularly strong level of antipathy these days, due to being the most severe exemplar of the two not-entirely-unjustified complaints leveled at the album as a whole: excessive repetition (it is the longest track on the album, and basically spends its last six minutes repeating its chorus ad infinitum), and headache-inducing levels of overproduction.

That said, the song itself is easily the best thing on the album from a purely compositional perspective…it was written around the time of their far superior first album, Definitely Maybe (indeed, it was reportedly the first thing the band’s primary songwriter wrote after their formation), and underneath those layers of bloated production excess, the actual song itself is a superb pastiche of Sixties Psychedelia that sounds fully comparable to an actual Beatles composition. Some have complained that the band’s punkish vocals make the song’s sentiments sound sarcastic, but if you actually listen to the verses (which include phrases like “You’re lost at sea/well, I hope that you drown” and “The lies you make me say/are getting deeper every day”), it becomes obvious that this was the intent all along.

There exists a demo recording of the material from Be Here Now that was included on a deluxe rerelease of the album and that mostly avoids the production problems that plagued the album proper, and while pretty much all the tracks sound better there than on the actual album, the demo version of this song is a revelation. Trimmed down from nine-plus minutes in length to merely six, and freed from its insane levels of overproduction, the demo version gives us a glimpse of what the song might have sounded like had they just included it on Definitely Maybe, and it becomes clear that it would easily have been a major highlight of that already superb album.

Verdict: Not entirely successful in the actual album version, to say the least, but it’s well worth tracking down the demo version to see what might have been.

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