“Supersonic”, a new documentary about Oasis that was released in late 2016, shows the legendary dysfunction between the Gallagher brothers in their band, Oasis. They were very different as individuals and they didn’t get along – not even a little bit. Band chemistry was poor, and the media couldn’t get enough of the drama. Said dysfunction and their penchant for candor made the brothers Gallagher great interview subjects during their heyday. And I don’t mean to undersell the music either. Oasis was unquestionably one of the biggest bands in the world for a few years. They impacted culture.
The film does a good job of telling the story of the band and its impact on pop culture. Oasis had two chiefs, brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher. Noel wrote the songs and, while in my opinion was not a musical genius, is obviously smarter than most of those around him. His brother Liam sang the songs and, in his own words, “just stood over there looking fucking great.” With participation from band members and other core associates, this documentary is a solid chronicling of the band’s rise from humble beginnings to worldwide fame and eventual burnout. If you visited the cul-de-sac of BritPop in the mid to late 1990s, Oasis could not be ignored. They were huge, and they obnoxiously let everyone know it. In the end, the notable thing is not what they did and said but how success found this band despite their frequent episodes of genuine bad behavior and limited musicality.
I don’t love or hate the music of Oasis. I’m somewhere above indifference. I appreciate their existence, but they are not a personal influence. If pressed, my opinion would be that Oasis trended towards being heavy handed and derivative - both sonically and lyrically. Basically, better music can be found elsewhere.
Personal critique of the music aside, I see Oasis as kind of a rock and roll blessing. On the surface the band didn’t seem very interesting: typical four-on-the-floor rock with a pedestrian look and a borrowed hook. Their broad appeal at times reflected a hooliganism that could overtake anything likable about them. But, there is more to the story, morning glory.
“Supersonic” doesn’t shy away from the band’s collective shit personality. But the warts and all approach also opens the lid on the band’s humor, emotion, and hey, they were productive enough to constitute a real rock and roll minute. And thank goodness for that. Rock music began a slow and steady decline in the 1990s. Oasis fought the good fight by saying what they felt, and in the process eliciting laughter and something/ anything in way of passion from its audience. They at least kept things interesting.
My takeaway from “Supersonic” is that Noel and Liam Gallagher made damn sure that rock and roll was not going to die on their watch. You didn’t have to like them. They didn’t have to like you. Take it or leave it. But, the tension and antagonism implied in such an agreement between artist and audience saves this particular band from being a pop music cliché.
“Supersonic”, the documentary about Oasis, is 122 minutes and a solid watch.
SLP Rating: 5/6 beers. That’s four beers for the subject and quality of filmmaking, and an extra beer for the Rock.