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Be Here Now ()

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Arriving with the force of a hurricane, Oasis' third album, Be Here Now, is a bright, bold, colorful tour de force that simply steamrolls over any criticism. The key to Oasis' sound is its inevitability -- they are unwavering in their confidence, which means that even the hardest rockers are slow, steady, and heavy, not fast. And that self-possessed confidence, that belief in their greatness, makes Be Here Now intensely enjoyable, even though it offers no real songwriting breakthroughs. Noel Gallagher remains a remarkably talented synthesist, bringing together disparate strands -- "D'You Know What I Mean" has an N.W.A drum loop, a Zeppelin-esque wall of guitars, electronica gurgles, and lyrical allusions to the Beatles and Dylan -- to create impossibly catchy songs that sound fresh, no matter how many older songs he references. He may be working familiar territory throughout Be Here Now, but it doesn't matter because the craftsmanship is good. "The Girl in the Dirty Shirt" is irresistible pop, and epics like "Magic Pie" and "All Around the World" simply soar, while the rockers "My Big Mouth," "It's Getting Better (Man!!)," and "Be Here Now" attack with a bone-crunching force. Noel is smart enough to balance his classicist tendencies with spacious, open production, filling the album with found sounds, layers of guitars, keyboards, and strings, giving the record its humongous, immediate feel. The sprawling sound and huge melodic hooks would be enough to make Be Here Now a winner, but Liam Gallagher's vocals give the album emotional resonance. Singing better than ever, Liam injects venom into the rockers, but he also delivers the nakedly emotional lyrics of "Don't Go Away" with affecting vulnerability. That combination of violence and sensitivity gives Oasis an emotional core and makes Be Here Now a triumphant album. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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