Perhaps one of the reasons we Picky Bastards rarely agree on anything is that we simply don’t remember things in the same way. In this new series, we’re going to take some classic songs and talk about the recollections they provoke. We’re kicking off (in more than one sense of the phrase) with Oasis’ first single, “Supersonic”. Let us know in the comments what you think about when you think about that song.
FRAN: Honestly, relistening to Oasis’s ‘Supersonic’, the first thing I remember is joy. Followed by obsession. I was ten-years-old when Oasis released this, their debut single, and I can’t claim to have any memory of it coming out. Not at all. In fact, my love for Oasis wouldn’t develop for a little while yet – not until my eleventh heady year. But they became my band. The first band I fell in love with, the first band I went to see live, the band with which all of my musical loves over the following decade had to compete. I don’t really listen to Oasis anymore, but I will always be thankful for the way they swept me into music. Because they really, really did.
‘Supersonic’ wasn’t the one for me at first, either. It was the popular gems with the sweeping, singalong choruses – ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger.’ What ‘Supersonic’ reminds me of more than anything is the coolness it exuded, and how cool it made me feel as I got a little bit older and started to wrap my head around what lyrics such as ‘I know a girl could Elsa/she’s into Alka Seltzer/She sniffs into through a cane/On a Supersonic train’ really meant.
Once I realised that this band I loved were bad boys of rock, and not just amazing balladeers. I existed on a diet of rebellion in many of my teenage years, a desire to stick two fingers up at the bastards who wanted to tell me what to do, and Oasis were the fuel that sustained me through it. ‘Supersonic’ felt like the biggest ‘fuck you’ of them all.
NICK: I remember having a really visceral reaction to Supersonic when I first heard it in the summer of 1994, and most of it was contempt.
Before I get to that though, I’ll confess that dislike was not my very first reaction. In that very first instant – of the absolutely immense kick drum’s intro – I had a sensation I can only describe as falling, as it was obvious in just a few seconds that this sound, and this band, were going to be huge.
It was a sad realization that something as bold as this, with its completely unshakable confidence, was going to blow the music scene wide open. After at least a decade of increasingly, painfully introspective music setting the standards, Oasis, in one stroke, were going to throw that notion of quality out the window.
In its place, Supersonic made a statement that I could see would be hard to dismiss – and that’s what I hated about it. It was arrogant. It was brash. It was a massive Fuck You to pretty much everyone. It goes against the something I think music should be always be about: connection.
Rather than try to get us to connect with them, Liam’s unaffected stare at the camera for about 30 second, in silence, while Noel played a lumbering big chords solo just said to me “I’m better than you”. And when you eventually peel away the production and the haircuts, Supersonic is just a very basic, old time rawk song. All the circus around the brothers since then has only proved my point, but I could tell from this first song they would also be no more than hot air and bravado.
Matt: Anytime I think of Oasis these days I think about one night. That was the one and only time I saw them live. 2009 at Benicàssim. It was the opening night so everyone was full of beans and ready for good night. And largely it was okay, but most of the positive parts of the night were from the crowd. If you take away the excitement from being at a festival with the energy of all those people, we were left with a band that barely acknowledged each other and just plowed through the hits as quickly as possible.
Supersonic was a particularly strange moment. It came straight after Wonderwall, during which there was technical problems just after the song started. So most of Wonderwall was sung by only the crowd. It was actually a really cool moment. But once they fixed the sound and Oasis were up and running again we pretty much went straight into Supersonic, so we didn’t really get the bands rendition of the song. And after having the whole crowd singing in unison it just felt a bit of a comedown. You could feel crowd deflate after that. The end result was one of my worst gig-going experiences.
Maybe this was all a sign. The following day there was a hurricane and most of the day got cancelled. Then a month later oasis didn’t exist.
Fliss: The first ten seconds of Supersonic are enough to inspire a giddy nostalgic buzz. I could be in the queue for the loos at Satchmo’s in Stoke circa 2001, hear those drums and sliding screech (what is that?) and have to leg it back to the dancefloor. Supersonic is Monday indie nights, swigging pints of lager and having college the next day. It is teenage swagger and pleasing lyrical nonsense that makes total sense singing to and with a circle of mates. My group of pals all had their songs and Supersonic was one of mine. I just loved it and to this day think it’s a cracking tune.
Also, I fancied the pants of Liam Gallagher in the video. I thought, exclusively in that video, he was the ultimate in sexy arrogant beautiful cool. At that time the young men of Stoke-on-Trent uniformly modelled themselves on LG and I was easily seduced when a very handsome and authentically laddy one nonchalantly asked me out. We dated. I was besotted. He gave me Bridget Jones on VHS for Christmas and then dumped me in the new year. I was thankfully thus cured of any real life Liam Gallagher type longings. I still think he’s fit in that video though.
Words by Fran Slater, Nick Parker, Matt Paul and Fliss Clarke.