Oasis: Talk Tonight
ake me walking to where you played when you were young…
Oasis’ Some Might Say EP was not the first musical item I ever bought, but it is the first item I purchased as a regular record-buyer. If I remember correctly, I bought a handful of Queen and U2 cassettes when I was nine or ten, but quickly tired of the process of buying and playing full-length albums and singles. By the time I reached thirteen, though, I became hooked again—an addiction I haven’t managed to shake off in the following nine years.
It was during the Summer of ‘95 that Britpop first came to my attention. It was the first time that a musical “scene” sprung up that I connected with—I had never previously felt that there was a particular area where records would be released which would consistently possess qualities that I would find appealing. Oasis were, of course, the best-known of all the Britpoppers. I was never compelled to take sides in The Blur-Oasis feud, though—it was an entertaining event that heightened the sense that I could be part of something current and newsworthy. It only served to increase my interest in both of the bands.
The highlight of the Some Might Say EP is not the lead track, though (although it is still one of the top Oasis tracks). The real gem is the ballad “Talk Tonight”—the second song. It's a Noel-sung number, which usually relegates Oasis tracks to the "avoidable" area of their catalogue, but his is a worthwhile exception. Oasis usually excel when they are melancholic in a rousing, inclusive sort of way. They're an event band. This song does have an air of melancholy, but it's more personal and downbeat than usual.
Of course Oasis indulged this quieter, first-person melancholy to the max on "Standing on The Shoulder Of Giants"—and it didn't come off particularly well. This song succeeds because it was created at a time when they were a coke-addled, monstrous stadium-beast. It's Noel taking a short breather from grand, emotional epics and quietly evoking the sadness that fame has brought him. When you make an entire album of this stuff (as they later did), it sounds ungracious. When you take time out from frantic rock'n'roll to record a sweet, low-key b-side like "Talk Tonight" it becomes arresting.
I can remember the day I bought it. I went into Dublin City with three friends—one was John, who I'm still close to. Then there was John's little brother, who I rarely speak to these days. And then there was Carol—who this song most reminds me of (a he—it can be used as a boy's name sometimes). We were close at the time, but would fall out completely in a matter of months. He later left school, became a cocaine-addicted drug dealer, and ended up fleeing the country.
I was in a Dublin pub called Bruxelles recently, which had a jukebox that contained a copy of Oasis’ Masterplan album—a collection of their best B-sides. Someone (not me) selected the song, dredging up all these memories again. In fact, I think I had forgotten about the song entirely prior to that night. It had never occurred to me before that night that it was the start of my musical “journey”. But it certainly played a big part—teaching me that sometimes great music needs to be found, rather than given (by radio or otherwise).
By: Kilian Murphy
Published on: 2004-06-30