Entry #39 – Be Here Now (a.k.a This review took 1000 days to publish, I kid ye not)

Hello from the past.

I’m writing this at the same time I’m typing up the review for Standing on the Shoulder of Giants and normally I would just wait until I’ve done one before I move on to the other. Because the day I’m writing this is 21st August 2020, the 23rd anniversary of the release of Be Here Now.

A particularly infamous album this one, it’s commonly thought of as the killer of Oasis’ momentum, the executioner of Britpop and the symbol of disappointment for many. Loud and overblown, it has gained a reputation

That was the first time I tried to write an introduction for Be Here Now.

And indeed, at the time I did make a God’s honest attempt to listen to this album in full and type up my thoughts and feelings on the most scrutinised LP of the Britpop era. In fact, I’ve made several attempts over the years. The first time my computer crashed midway through Stand By Me which I kind of took as an omen. I tried again some time later but tapped out at The Girl in the Dirty Shirt. It took until the 25th anniversary of the album in August 2022 to finally listen to it all in full, and even then I couldn’t bring myself to finish the review. I’d love to chalk it up to my personal life getting in the way but frankly it’s not true. I just couldn’t be arsed quite frankly.

I want to like Be Here Now, I really do. The trouble is I like my albums snappy and without overstaying their welcome. And at over an hour long Be Here Now certainly does overstay its welcome thanks to the band’s fixation over making anthem after anthem. But this time I’m hoping I can look past that and just enjoy the music for what it is; loud, bombastic, fuelled by white lines longer than your arm. After all, that’s what has appeared to happen over the last 25 years as the album’s reputation has seemingly shifted from bloated to underrated.

Let’s give it a bash, for real this time.

Track #1 – D’You Know What I Mean?

There aren’t many other songs out there that have the sole intention of saying “Hello, f*ckers, we’re back”. I think of all the songs that Oasis have done over the years there are three that you describe as the-band-in-a-nutshell which can be used to introduce newcomers: Some Might Say, The Hindu Times, and D’You Know What I Mean?. Pure ego and bluster, anthemic rock and roll, singing everything about nothing. It’s Be Here Now in a nutshell, and in that regard it is the perfect opener for the album.

All things considered though, I think this song is much better when performed live, and Liam has been doing it justice these last few years during his solo gigs. It being sung in a lower key works in its favour I think.

Track #2 – My Big Mouth

In case you didn’t know that the music of Be Here Now is layered to the moon and back, here’s your reminder. In all seriousness though, this is one of the highlights of the album as it displays the classic Oasis attitude and the Gallaghers acknowledging the silly bollocks they end up saying off the stage. For a laugh I would have released this as a single with Wibbling Wivalry as a b-side. Louder than loud but still a fine addition to the playlist.

Track #3 – Magic Pie

As the old saying goes, if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all.

Opening’s alright.

Track #4 – Stand By Me

Despite Halifax milking this song dry in the post-pandemic world, it does remain one of my favourite singles from Oasis. While we’ll see it on full display later on, we get hints of Liam’s more gentle and sentimental side with a touching performance that includes some higher notes he doesn’t often climb to. It’s a ‘take-a-chance’ kind of song, with the narrator dismissing the future and asking someone to stand by him and make the best out of the present. Very relatable as we grind our way through the twisted twenties.

Track #5 – I Hope, I Think, I Know

Like Hindu Times, this is one that I see a lot of praise for (at least, in comparison to the rest of Be Here Now) but I don’t see the hype. Indeed, in my Masterplan review I suggested that this should have been replaced by Stay Young. This is one of those songs which strikes me as obvious that Noel’s little well of guitar riffs has run dry, as on display we have what I can only describe as a combination of Underneath the Sky and the theme tune to A Question of Sport. It’s a rehash of the standard Oasis swagger we’ve already heard on the first two tracks, the only difference is it’s Liam’s best vocal performance so far.

Track #6 – The Girl in the Dirty Shirt

As I said in the introduction to this review this was the last song I listened to during one of my initial run throughs of the album before I gave up. Maybe it’s because it’s underproduced by this album’s standards, which makes it stick out like a sore thumb and comes across as a bit boring. But then you realise it’s a breath of fresh air, with Oasis finally taking their foot off the gas and adding a bit of 60s-style jangle to proceedings. Not bad but not brilliant.

Track #7 – Fade In-Out

The opening made me imagine the band rocking up into a town with no name in the wild west on horseback. I’ve got that to thank the song for I guess. Unfortunately that’s where the praise ends because while the last track was underproduced, this one was overproduced to the point where the vocals are swallowed up by the noise. Shame because this is a very Beatles-esque track (Helter Skelter namedrop aside).

Track #8 – Don’t Go Away

Sweet is not often a word you’d associate with Oasis but that’s exactly what this song is. In a sneak preview of the next album, the Gallaghers wear their hearts on their sleeves as they plead dear Peggy not to go. If you’ve had a moment where it looked like a close friend or relative may be going forever (shifting off the mortal coil or otherwise) then you’re going to love this one unconditionally.

It also confirms that regardless of the quality of the songs, this album has been the best showcase of Liam as a singer. He knows when to turn on the snarl and yet he can just as easily flip the coin and show the softie underneath. Be Here Now shows he can play both parts with ease. It also signals that Oasis are back on winning form after putting us through nearly 20 minutes of bloat.

EDIT: So this is a week after I finished writing this review for publishing later in the year, and I just have to say that Noel Gallagher is a thieving bastard. I’m listening to Marshmellow Lane by the Real People, one-time associates of Oasis who recorded the album in 1992, a few years before Be Here Now. I get to the song Feel the Pain and we hear Tony Griffiths deliver the lyrics “Don’t go away/say that you’ll stay/forever and a day”. Kind of ruins the heartfelt nature of Don’t Go Away, it suddenly doesn’t feel that genuine as they’re not Noel’s words. That’s really irritated me.

Track #9 – Be Here Now

Genuinely this would be one of my favourite songs on the album, and indeed this reminds me that Oasis were still in that phase of their careers where almost any song they produced would be single-material for any other band. It’s a total throwaway on the level of Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is but it gets stuck in your brain thanks to the attitude in Liam’s vocals and the guitarwork from Noel and Bonehead. There’s just one problem though.

Those noises at the end of the first series of verses, not sure if they’re from the plastic piano or someone whistling into the mic or what but…they sound like the f*cking Clangers. I swear to God. And at the end there’s a flushing toilet. I have a feeling there were more than a few lines snorted when this particular song was recorded. Like D’You Know What I Mean?, this is a song where I prefer stripped down, purely rock driven live versions (See the GMEX and Air Studios performances).

Track #10 – All Around the World

All Around the World has the ingredients to be one of my favourite Oasis songs. The guitar hooks which lead into the chorus are simple yet sublime. The lyrics resonate incredibly well in this day and age. The key changes throughout manage to add extra layers of epic to the song. This could and should be the best song on Be Here Now. So why isn’t it?

Well, it’s just another Be Here Now song. If this were the only one of its kind in terms of production and length then I would have happily called it a pièce de resistance from Oasis. However, by this point in the album it is just same old same old and instead it is reduced to being just another drop in the ocean. That should not take away from the fact that this is still a good song, but I think it’s better appreciated when heard on its own as a single rather than as part of the trip from station to station.

I have to bring up the video aswell. I think the band went all out to create a video that would be cycled ad infinitum on MTV and rake in the gold at all the awards shows, and the final result was their equivalent of the Magical Mystery Tour film. I mean…sausage leg creatures and temple structures being wanked off. That’s not the creation of a sober mind.

Track #11 – It’s Getting’ Better (Man!!)

Is it?

Track #12 – All Around the World – Reprise

That door slam had to have been put in during one of the more lucid moments, surely. What a metaphor.


I think during my latest listen of Be Here Now, I finally got it. I finally liked it. Like I said at the beginning, I like my albums shorter and snappier. And ironically, one of the shortest songs on the album was my least favourite. So how did I finally learn to appreciate Be Here Now?

Well, the simple answer is this: just don’t give a f*ck. Be Here Now blew up in its face because it failed to live up the hype. But let’s be real, no album could have lived up to the hype. Oasis could have made the lovechild of Dark Side of the Moon and Abbey Road and it would have still fallen short. Be Here Now was a half-hearted attempt by a band who were burnt out and in it for the money, who gave us something unoriginal and uninspired. But if they don’t care, why should we? It’s still good music. Just enjoy the good times.

There’s no escaping that Be Here Now is bloated and overdone, it’s a fact. And there will never be a day where it’s my favourite Oasis album. If I ever come back to it again, it will be to listen to it in chunks rather than in one long session. But saying that, I want to come back to it soon, even though I can only really say that I like half of the tracks on offer. As I say, all you need to do is turn off your mind and float downstream.

Entry #38 – Eurovision 2023 (a.k.a 2 hours of my life I am never getting back)

The following entry was all typed up in the immediate aftermath of the 2023 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, prior to the results being fully announced. A quick TL;DR on those results though:

  • France and Switzerland were shafted.
  • Germany did not deserve to be rock bottom.
  • Sweden as winners? I can live with it.
  • I’m amazed the UK didn’t get nul puis again. Mae’s a class act but the song was not.

And now, the review.

It is half past ten on a Saturday night. I thought it might be a good idea to watch Eurovision with the parents. Bit of an error on my part because Christ alive what a dull showing it was this year. When I watched it back in 2021 (See thoughts and feelings here: https://asideglance.com/2021/05/24/entry-28-eurovision-2021-a-k-a-from-bad-to-worse-to-amanda-holden/) there were at least some acts that stood out in terms of musicality, catchiness and occasional cringiness. This year, for better or worse, the most cringy thing we got out of the night came after France performed when Alesha Dixon decided it was a good idea to hype the crowd up with an off-the-cuff rap. I nearly folded inside out.

Everything just felt so samey this year, mostly run of the mill generic pop. It felt like a diluted stereotype of a Eurovision show. When the 2021 contest wrapped up I added a fair few songs to my ‘Open Mind’ playlist (Songs I wouldn’t normally listen to but still to some degree like). This year…there’s probably only one or two songs tops that I might add. Barely anything stood out.

I spent the evening making a couple of notes as we went along and I don’t want to let them go to waste so here is my summary of all 26 acts to perform in Liverpool for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.


Starting with the guilty pleasure of the night, it was catchy enough (saying “Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe” will do that) but got a bit boring after a while. I don’t know if the singer in white couldn’t remember the choreography or if she was deliberately half-arsing it.


Like in ’21, the music was beautifully catchy and I loved the use of the castanets. Subtle and sultry are the two words I’d use to describe it. At this point I was optimistic about how the night might go.


I was even more optimistic when this song was performed. The lyrics and the story told together with the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine meant this was song of the night for me. The only thing that didn’t quite land for me were the autotuned ‘oh’s from the backing vocalists.


Filter overload could not disguise the fact that this was shit.


Graham Norton slaughtered this one on commentary before it even started. As soon as he used the words ‘soap dish’ to describe whatever it was the singer started in, it was dead on arrival.


I thought the singer was phenomenal, she had brilliant stage presence. I’ll always give kudos to anyone who can stand on a podium that high in the air, I’d be shitting myself silly up there.


Another spectacular voice but it was wasted on such a cookie cutter pop song. One of those ones you’d swear blind you’d heard on the radio as of late. It also could’ve benefitted from having some backup dancers to liven things up a bit.


Presentation was alluring but the song got worse the longer it ran on for. Dear God, those high notes were dreadful. In fact Hannah Waddingham managed to hold a better note when she was announcing Albania!


Brought to you in widescreen! In terms of raw singing power this was the best of the night.


“The von Shut Your Trap family” – My Dad.


This guy was a decent singer too. Unfortunately you wouldn’t realise it because he got completely and utterly upstaged by the dancers in the background bouncing on and off those steps.


The first of many acts that earned a mere shrug of the shoulders. Nothing memorable about it whatsoever. If a self-playing piano is your main talking point then you haven’t succeeded this day.


A human centipede? Constipated walking? Nearly decapitating yourself on a wire? F*cking hilarious.


It was kind of them to project the lyrics on the floor for us to read, very considerate. I also thought it was an interesting choice to use footage from the title sequence from The Tomorrow People.


I had high hopes when Graham said they did pop metal. I thought ‘Finally, we get some guitars rather than the generic pop beats’. Bit naïve of me. Apart from momentarily flipping their biscuits whilst doing the middle eight, this was a massive disappointment.

Belgium, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine:

Four straight acts of nowt. I thought Ukraine might bring something decent to the table but no, it was just one long streak of tedium.


The first act I can say I enjoyed after Finland.  Great singing, great music, great choreography, great costumes. It’s in the playlist too.


While I felt the singer was posturing a wee bit too much for this particular genre of music, this was a much needed wake up call. Energetic and red raw vocals when the title was sang. We’re back on winning form.


Never mind, false alarm, back to being dull.


The opening four seconds was the peak of the song. Comparing yourself to a unicorn is a little bit strange. The dance solo was admittedly rather neat.


My kind of music. Seemed like a group of sweet guys.


Absolutely f*cking mental. I loved every second of this.

United Kingdom:

We waited two and a quarter hours for that. I knew whatever we brought out this year was going to pale in comparison to Sam Ryder’s effort from last year but…we might as well have just asked James Newman to do Embers again.

Highlights – The ones you should definitely listen to again:

Switzerland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Croatia.

Entry #37 – Every Bond Song Ranked from Least Favourite to Favourite (a.k.a This is not going to end the way you think it is)

Welp. I’m doing a listicle. It was bound to happen eventually.

Two years ago on this blog I talked about the soundtracks to the James Bond films, picking out some of my favourite tracks from over the decades. While having a good soundtrack is a must for any Bond film, the true jewel of the crown when it comes to their music is of course the main title song. There are two objectives that these songs must accomplish; set the tone for the film ahead, and neatly sync up with titillating visuals provided by Maurice Binder or Daniel Kleinman. I refer you now to the clip of Alan Partridge recreating the opening to The Spy Who Loved Me.

Of course I could just do what I usually do with Sampling Soundtracks where I pick out some of my favourites and briefly blast the ones that make my skin crawl, but this time I have decided that I want to cover each and every single Bond song from over the past 60-odd years. There is something that can be said about each and every one of them, whether it be down to vocal performance, instrumentation or lyrics.

For the record, songs not played over the title sequence and not featuring lyrics are exempt from this list. But if they weren’t then rest assured that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the Bond theme itself would be a shoe-in for the top 3.

Dishonourable Mention – Never Say Never Again

It’s 1983. The Battle of the Bonds. Roger Moore is set for yet another fun romp in Octopussy, but the original Bond himself Sean Connery is returning for Never Say Never Again! Surely this calls for a  bombastic, brassy tune akin to Goldfinger to set up his grand return. Uh-nope. Instead we get cheap 80s synth and lyrics better suited for a parody. Now that I type that, ironically that makes it the perfect fit for the film as it is a cheap 80s knock off of Thunderball. But most certainly not suited for the return of Sir Sean.

Honourable Mention – Spectre

Believe it or not this is the song that spurred me to make this list in the first place, even though it was not an official Bond song. The story goes that Radiohead (Who are no strangers to Bond-esque songs, see Man of War) paused recording of A Moon Shaped Pool to make Spectre, a song which shows Jonny Greenwood terrifically flexing his muscles as a composer and Thom’s lyrics accurately reflecting Blofeld’s status as the author of all of Bond’s pain. Unfortunately the film’s producers turned it down for being too dark and dour, to which I say this: f*cking idiots. The film Spectre is one of the lesser entries in the series but having Radiohead at the top with this song would’ve elevated it in my book. And turning it down for being too dark and dour? You are aware of who Radiohead are, yes?

Anyway, let’s get on with the list proper.

#22 – All Time High

There’s nothing inherently wrong with All Time High, it’s a serviceable song. It’s just that it is the latest in a long line of ballads that were prevalent in the Roger Moore era and is by far and away the blandest. There’s nothing to say about it really, it’s just…there. As soon as the last note fades away you’ve immediately forgotten what you’ve just listened to. You may aswell skip the titles altogether and get straight on with the rest of the film.

#21 – Die Another Day

I rewatched Die Another Day not too long ago and while I had a fun enough time with it, I can’t pretend that I like this song. The opening violins are nice and creepy but that’s the peak of the song as Madonna’s autotuned vocals scrape your eardrums like fingernails on a chalkboard. However, it and everything that comes after are better than All Time High on the grounds that they are, for better or for worse, memorable.

#20 – Another Way To Die

Another Way To Die is a good representative of what is wrong with Quantum of Solace as a whole; it’s too gritty and lacks the elegance of Bond. The film was seemingly made with the sole purpose of being dirty and choppy and the same applies to the song. Jack White’s guitar work is disjointed, appearing to fuse multiple riffs together and create a tune that only barely classifies as a song. Alicia Keys would’ve been great on her own but her and Jack’s vocals clash like green and purple. It’s all just so sloppy.

#19 – The Man with the Golden Gun

It’s got a great glam-style guitar riff and Lulu has proven that she doesn’t give a toss how daft the lyrics are, which I can commend. Doesn’t change the fact the song is a bit shit.

#18 – Writing’s On The Wall

I can’t stand Sam Smith. They are a pretentious, up their own arse, class-A wanker and this song is a prime example of that, boasting at the time about how it only took 20 minutes to write. That’s not an accomplishment, it’s a pisstake. If this were an instrumental though I would absolutely love this song because it does honestly have one of the most majestic sounds of them all. I’ll admit Sam’s choral falsetto is impressive, but it’s just so wet and makes me cringe. I find myself preferring cover versions done on YouTube.

#17 – Moonraker

One-dimensional and I’m willing to bet there is no one out there who considers this even top 10 material. I do find it a perfectly pleasant listen though. It is Shirley Bassey after all, you can’t go wrong with her.

#16 – Goldfinger

Yup, I went there. Look, it’s my personal favourites and least favourites and unfortunately Goldfinger, iconic as it is, falls towards the lower end of the scale. I was going to complain about how loud it is but that bombastic volume does suit such an ostentatious figure like Auric Goldfinger. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, I just happen to like fifteen other songs more. Again though, it is Shirley Bassey, and nothing can take away from what is frankly an awesome vocal performance.

#15 – Licence to Kill

This one actually finds itself being compared to Goldfinger a lot, and I can see why – It is essentially the same kind of song brought into the 80s. Which might be why it’s around the same spot; I flip flop on which is my preferred choice. Today, it’s Licence. Maybe it’s my Dalton bias, those two films of his are personal favourites of mine.

#14 – The Living Daylights

Love me a bit of a-ha, this song is wonderfully serene with a romantic melody. It just lacks a bit of punch that should’ve been present for a debut film.

#13 – For Your Eyes Only

Possibly the Bond song that I find myself revisiting the most, For Your Eyes Only is not one that really gets you pumped and ready for a Bond film but I love the instrumentation provided by Bill Conti (Yes, Bill ‘Gonna Fly Now’ Conti did the score for this film).

#12 – No Time To Die

It took a while for me to work out where to place No Time To Die. I love Hans Zimmer’s instrumentation and after dealing with a year and a half of Billie’s whispery vocals on songs like bad guy, her singing here really impressed me (Truth be told I was not optimistic when she was announced as the singer in 2019). However, it suffers from All Time High’s problem of being the latest in a long line of slow and sombre tunes and comes across as a little tiresome as a result. Maybe I might warm to it more as I get older but for now, like the film it’s part of, it’s firmly middle of the road.

#11 – Diamonds Are Forever

Easily my favourite Bassey rendition, I adore the bassline that runs throughout the song and kicks off the second verse.  It very subtly builds up on itself, with more parts of the orchestra introducing themselves as the song progresses. And of course we end with a Bassey belter of a high note, albeit one that does pale in comparison to Goldfinger’s. But that one quibble doesn’t ruin a great Bond song.

#10 – Nobody Does It Better

Look I’m not trying to piss you off on purpose, I understand why Nobody Does It Better ranks in the upper echelons for most Bond fans. It just has never clicked with me for whatever reason. I can’t deny though that Carly Simon’s performance is arguably the best of the lot, as she sings with conviction.

#9 – Live And Let Die

I’d probably rank Live And Let Die higher if it wasn’t so overplayed. It follows you around like a bad smell. Doesn’t take away from the fact it’s legendary though, and it more than deserves its reputation as one of the best.

#8 – Thunderball

John Barry’s earlier Bond scores has a certain harshness about them that carries into this song, giving it a sophisticated edge that perfectly suits 007. And of course you can’t go without mentioning that last note from Tom Jones which caused him to pass out. It’s clear they’re trying to replicate the success of Goldfinger, but it absolutely works.

#7 – A View To A Kill

The best part about the film for better or for worse. Hip 80s and the lyrics are convoluted enough to give I Am The Walrus a run for its money, but the guitars are absolutely sublime. It’s a testament to a song’s quality when it only takes one strum and a few drumbeats to get you hyped up.

#6 – GoldenEye

Get ready because we’re about to blitz our way through the rest of the Brosnan songs, starting with the first. There’s something so infectiously sultry about GoldenEye that combines with the Goldfinger-esque horns that make it such a quintessential Bond song. It’s very 90s and might sound ever so slightly dated but when has that ever stopped these songs from being good?

#5 – Tomorrow Never Dies

Surrender is better, yes, and in an ideal world would not have been a song relegated to the end credits. But I refuse to allow Sheryl Crow to be completely shoved off to the side, considering she and the rest of the crew only had two weeks to put it all together. Given that small time frame, it’s a miracle we got something as good as this, with some of the best lyrics to be found in any Bond song. Another one I often revisit.

#4 – The World Is Not Enough

I love the concept of doing a Bond theme from a villain’s point of view, with Shirley Manson surmising Elektra King’s ploy to take over the world with Renard and being a cold-hearted manipulative bastard to Bond along the way. Oddly though I actually prefer the version that plays over the film’s title sequence; there’s some trumpet work interwoven throughout that gives the song a touch of majesty and helps bridge the gaps between the verses and the chorus.

#3 – Skyfall

There will never be a day where I don’t like Skyfall. Adele is the Shirley Bassey of today and puts so much energy and conviction behind this song. I still get goosebumps from the opening horns too, takes me back to when I saw this in the cinema for my birthday.

#2 – You Only Live Twice

Bet you didn’t expect this so high did you? This is by far and away the most underrated Bond theme, the guitarwork is such a spine chiller, the overall melody has the suitably melancholic feel of a funeral, and Nancy Sinatra turns in such a delightful performance. You Only Live Twice. Once when you’re born. And once when you listen to this song for the first time.

#1 – You Know My Name

Of all the Bond themes, this is the one I’m guilty of dancing to. Pumped up and re-enacting Bond’s movements throughout the title sequence. Christ I was a weird child. Anyway, while Quantum of Solace was just pure grit, this one perfectly balances the classiness and the harshness of James Bond. The lyrics convey the stone-cold nature of the job (“The odds will betray you/and I will replace you”), the guitars are as spiky as Daniel Craig’s portrayal of 007, and the orchestral work from David Arnold hints at the gent under the iron. Forever and always my favourite Bond theme.

Entry #36 – The Beatles (a.k.a Genre Whiplash)

While this isn’t the longest it has taken me to write a review (I’m still trying to finish Be Here Now), this entry about the White Album has taken a solid month for me to get through. I started writing it in the early hours of December 19th 2022. It is now mid-January and this introduction is actually the last part that I am writing.

A double album like The Beatles was never going to hold my attention for a solid hour and a half because it is a striking mish-mash of songs to say the least. The genres that the band play with over the span of two discs change faster than British springtime weather. And, let’s get the main criticism out of the way, with thirty tracks on offer some of these are going to sound like filler. Songs made for the sake of it to pad out the discs. And with the boys now at the point where tensions were mounting between them, it was hard to keep songs like these in check.

Despite all that though, the White Album is typically one of the first albums you hear about when you touch upon the Beatles’ work. Heck, when I was getting to set to hear the fab four for the first time back in 2020, the White Album was the first I thought of tackling. That is until I saw its runtime and I thought better of it. But it must do something right if it’s one of the more famous efforts.

So, we’re nearly three years on, I’ve grown accustomed to the Beatles in the late 60s trying to flex their creative muscles, and I’ve gone through the White Album bit by bit.

Let’s see what holds up and what doesn’t.

Track #1 – Back in the U.S.S.R

As far as Beatles openers go this one is most definitely a favourite. Jaunty, easy to listen to, evokes the excitement of flying in a plane and preparing to touch down, and the droppings of the title (“Back in the US, back in the US, back in the U.S.S.R!”) aren’t going to leave your head in a hurry. Bonus points for being wonderfully ballsy for the time as I can imagine a song built on Soviet imagery and making the motherland a comparative heaven would’ve gone down like a cup of cold sick for many.

Track #2 – Dear Prudence

Influenced by the Beatles ill-fated trip to India in terms of both musical style and content, about Mia Farrow’s sister who locked herself in a room for days at a time. A relatable topic post-lockdown. Dear Prudence gets progressively tripper with the ‘aaaaah’s in the background, the repeat of “look around” and a brief increase in tempo influenced by the drumming. I feel like it should be a favourite but there’s something about it that feels tacked together, as if you can see the gaps between the pieces of the jigsaw. Speaking of which, Ringo’s not done any drumming yet.

Track #3 – Glass Onion

One book I’ve been reading on and off as of late has been Ian McDonald’s Revolution in the Head, an overview of the Beatles’ songs track by track (Sounds like a familiar way of doing things, dunnit?). During his analysis of the early albums it’s noted at one point that John Lennon didn’t really give a toss when it came to writing lyrics, with his mindset being tune first, words second. With that in mind it makes songs like I Am the Walrus and Glass Onion, songs designed to take the mick out of those who spend their hours poring over the Beatles’ lyrics, all the better. Love the swirly strings too.

Track #4 – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Ah, the infamous Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. I honestly don’t mind this, even as a guy who has a general indifference to Paul McCartney’s music hall-style numbers. It’s catchy but not overly annoying. Not single material though, not by a long shot.

Track #5 – Wild Honey Pie

54 seconds too long.

Track #6 – The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

A good friend of Cul-De-Sac Colin, Bungalow Bill’s story isn’t really a gripping one although I do love the whistles at the end that cement the folky sound of the song. I absolutely hated the applause on initial listen, I thought it was just self indulgent, unowned, and took you out of the moment. But then I discovered that was the point as the song was a derogatory tale about a hunter John came across in India. Felt like a bit of a div after that. Plus, in a meta sense, I guess clapping each other on is heartwarming considering this was when the Beatles were starting to drift apart, a fact that will become increasingly obvious as we go along. On a related note, it is a bit jarring hearing Yoko Ono on a Beatles record. It’s even more jarring hearing her actually sing.

Track #7 – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

On a musical level John Lennon is my favourite Beatle. But on a personal level my favourite is George as he brings a lot of heart and soul into his songs. There’s something fresh about them, the earnest nature of songs such as While My Guitar Gently Weeps seems genuine as opposed to the faux-love present in a lot of early Lennon-McCartney material. Having Eric Clapton play guitar most definitely helps. It’s the highlight of disc one.

Track #8 – Happiness is a Warm Gun

Ok the title aged like milk but the song’s a good ‘un. John can always be relied upon to add grit and depth to Beatles records and here he definitely delivers.

Track #9 – Martha My Dear

The opening few seconds sound like the theme tune to Postman Pat. I couldn’t take it seriously after that. Less so when I read up the fact the titular Martha was Paul’s dog. Even less so when he’s the only credited Beatle who worked on it, again because of the strained relations between the fab four at the time. It all kind of feels like a bit of a pisstake.

Track #10 – I’m So Tired

I’ve talked a couple of times already about how there’s something disingenuous about John’s lovely-dovey lyrics from past Beatles records. This time though he truly means what he says (The way he calls himself a stupid git sums it up) and we get a romantic number about being unable to get someone we love out of our heads to the point we lose sleep over it. I might make it sound melodramatic but it’s sweet, really.

Track #11 – Blackbird

We shift gears a bit and get our first political song since Back in the U.S.S.R, disguised as a stripped back acoustic number. And I love it, for both the tune itself and the double meaning between the call of the blackbird and the show of support for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. Hands down one of my favourite songs from Paul McCartney.

Track #12 – Piggies

In truth, there was no better song to follow up Blackbird than this song, continuing the Beatles’ dipping their toes into late 60s politics by contrasting the clean and elegant Blackbird with the dirty and classless Piggies. As hero worship has evolved over the years this would be a good song to use to take the piss out of them. Unfortunately Charles Manson kind of scuppered that one…

Track #13 – Rocky Raccoon

So far on this album we’ve had Chuck Berry-esque rockers bathed in politics, music hall dashed with ska, a folk pastiche, and now we’ve got a murder ballad to the tune of country music. Talk about a melting pot. Rocky Raccoon is decent, I like the tale it tells and the tune is simple enough that it doesn’t overshadow Paul’s singing. Not for the first time though, it’s a Beatles song written by Paul that I would probably prefer if it was covered by Nick Cave (The other is Maxwell’s Silver Hammer).

Track #14 – Don’t Pass Me By

Sound the filler alarm because holy cow is this a prime example. It was written by Ringo several years prior and it does sound like a throwback to the faux-love lyrics penned by Lennon and McCartney in the early to mid-60s. The carney-style tune is also just plain irritating. Better was to come from Ringo down the line.

Track #15 – Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?

It’s about monkeys shagging. What else is there to say?

Track #16 – I Will

Perfectly pleasant if not a little one-dimensional, and it doesn’t outstay its welcome at under two minutes. I’d say I Will is a step up from the last two songs.

Track #17 – Julia

A heartstring tugger to finish the first disc. While the gradual splitting of the Beatles is often to this album’s detriment, this song most definitely benefits from it. This is John’s song to his Mum and his alone. Just him and his acoustic guitar, pouring his heart out for a few minutes and gently calling out his mother’s name. It’s impossible not to love this one.

Track #18 – Birthday

Let’s see here. Catchy guitar work, a quick and upbeat tempo, and rock-n-roll style scratchy lyrics? This is the right way to open up disc two. Kudos for capturing the excitement of a birthday.

Track #19 – Yer Blues

“Yes I’m lonely/Want to die”. Well tell us how you really feel, mate.

Track #20 – Mother Nature’s Son

The Beatles’ trip to India and all the spiritualism that washed over them while they were there manifests itself in Paul’s sweetest song on the album. Very much one for the hippy wishing to relax in their quest to contact the Earth.

Track #21 – Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

To my relief, not another one about monkeys bonking in the road. To my annoyance, it’s not really one that gives me a lot to talk about. Let’s just move on.

Track #22 – Sexy Sadie

It’s impossible to talk about this one without going over the context, and why the Beatles’ time at the spiritual retreat came to an early end. While Dear Prudence was holed up in her room it was alleged that the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had made sexual advances to sister Mia, leading to John writing the song as he prepared to return home.

Once he calmed down a bit, he swapped the Maharishi for Sexy Sadie and what we get is a cynical song about someone the narrator clearly once thought a lot of but now has nowt but disdain for. With that little bit of energy fuelled by the lingering disgust, Lennon and co. turn in one of the better songs of the second disc.

Track #23 – Helter Skelter


I bloody love this song. It’s that earlier energy from Birthday turned up to eleven and the fab four are firing on all cylinders, most of all Paul screaming his heart out piece by piece with each word. And that final minute of music, what an outro. Dearly wish I could hear this one performed live.

Track #24 – Long, Long, Long

Before listening I was worried that after Helter Skelter this might be an abrupt comedown. Here are the notes I wrote after the song began:

  • Ooh hello, psych rock, how I have missed thee.
  • And some Hammond organ! I’m in heaven.
  • Haunting reverb of Ringo’s drums keeps you on your toes, as does his rapid fire pounding during the last 30 seconds.
  • Nice and spooky. Comedown, yes. But it fits the narrative.

Track #25 – Revolution 1

We’re back to political songs which have been a highlight so far. While the guitar work, both electric and acoustic, is fab as always there is something that is just not clicking for me. Maybe it’s the fact that the lyrics are a bit too on the nose. Think back to Blackbird and its double meaning of the Civil Rights movement and the beauty of the titular animal. Here it’s just 4 minutes of espousing ‘That revolution of yours? Sounds like bollocks’.

Maybe it’s just this version of the song specifically, as there is another version that serves as the flipside to Hey Jude. Once we’re at the end of the album I’ll listen to that and then compare. For now though let’s press on to the end because frankly I’m getting a bit tired.

Track #26 – Honey Pie

Oh God, not more music hall. Why is it that of all the genres that the Beatles have tried their hand at during this album, music hall is the one that we get again? At least Paul is clearly having fun doing his vocals and humbly showing off his range.

Track #27 – Savoy Truffle

The lyrics are beyond daft but I adore the music. If Quality Street was still worth buying then this would be great for an advertising campaign.

Track #28 – Cry Baby Cry

Unremarkable. File under ‘Filler’.

Track #29 – Revolution 9

Honest to God. I have been staring at my computer screen for the last twenty minutes trying to think of how in the hell you sum up Revolution 9. But you can’t. It is indescribable with mere mortal words. So instead I am going to express my opinion in a suitably avant-garde, off-the-wall, stitch-shit-together way.

Through the medium of Internet memes!

Track #30 – Good Night

Aw, Ringo…

Epilogue – Revolution (Single Version)

Oh my sweet God, that opening riff. That scream from Paul. It took exactly 6 seconds for this to become my favourite version of Revolution by a country mile. What was wrong with 1 was that it was missing was a rawness and a slightly faster tempo, it was far too squeaky clean.

Oh, and a bit louder for the folks in the back: THE GUITARS ARE DISTORTED TO F*CK AND IT SOUNDS AWESOME. While my earlier criticism about the lack of subtlety in the lyrics remains, this is absolutely one of my favourite songs that I’ve heard while I’ve been writing this review. And it wasn’t even on the bloody album.


So that’s the White Album. To listen to it, you need an open mind because there are songs that you are going to unconditionally love, and others that will inevitably make you shrug, cringe, gag, question your existence, or all four at once. It’s inconsistent to put it nicely, one minute you’ll be listening to some of the best work the Beatles have ever done, the next you’ll be listening to Wild Honey Pie. I think the problem is that these were songs from the Beatles that were designed to satisfy one man only, and that was whoever wrote that particular song. If it satisfied them, fine, they weren’t particularly interested in the opinion of the bandmates, the production team, or the listeners.

Make no mistake, if the Beatles had come together, conducted some quality control and knocked out the deadwood then this would have been a stellar album up there with Abbey Road and Revolver. Unfortunately, circumstances dictated that this album is ultimately a step down as at this point in their careers they were maturing into musicians of their own accord rather than as bandmates. They were gearing up to leave the nest, and this album was them spreading their wings in preparation. Part of them wanted to stay together and make music, but another part of them wanted to split and do their own thing. And those two parts manifest to create the White Album.

As Roy Walker would say, it’s good but it’s not right.

Entry #35 – A New Morning (a.k.a A False Dawn)

A New Morning is precisely no Suede fan’s favourite album. Upon release in 2002 it quickly developed a reputation for being lightweight, blasé, dull, same-old same-old, all the derogatory terms magazines like the NME and Q Magazine could pull from the dictionary to describe a band running on fumes.

So why am I bothering to talk about it on A-Side Glance?

Well not so long ago I finished reading Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn, Brett Anderson’s second autobiography where he reminisces about Suede’s heyday; the release of the self-titled album, the fraught and almost fatal sessions of Dog Man Star, the call to action that was Coming Up, the meandering mess of Head Music, and lastly A New Morning. Note how I don’t give the latter any real description. The reason is because in the book, then and now, Brett and co. seemed confused as to what the hell A New Morning was meant to be.

Option one was what the title suggested; a fresh, clean start designed to keep the band going in a more positive, poppy light akin to Coming Up but with less bite. Option two was that it was a waste of time that the band were trying to ensure was not a waste of money – The album took over a year to make and the band went through quite a few producers. Option three was that the album was an unofficial suicide pact; something on the level of This is Hardcore designed to deliberately alienate fans and essentially kill them with kindness.

An intriguing idea admittedly, but obviously with hindsight it did the band no favours. Whatever the case, it’s been 20 years since the album’s release and I want to judge for myself if it’s a mere refreshing change of pace for Suede, or if it really is a gun to the head in the guise of a bouquet of flowers.

Let’s have a listen.

Track #1 – Positivity

Here’s a choice lyric that a lot of people harp on: “Your smile is your credit card/And your currency is your love”. It’s a very piss-poor start, and as a lead single it killed a lot of enthuasiasm for the album stone-dead. So if we are going for option three of the suicide pact then mission accomplished right out of the gate. However, this is just one song. There could be eleven better ones down the line.

Track #2 – Obsessions

Brett’s mentioning credit cards again. Guess this is his new obsession to replace gasoline. Anyway in all seriousness this is a step up, and the use of harmonica harkens back to the classic glam rock sound that Suede would chase in the 90s. Maybe not as punchy as it could have been had this album been produced under Ed Buller, but Stephen Street does an admirable job and I think Brett’s lower-than-usual pitch lends the song a bit of extra bite.

Track #3 – Lonely Girls

Lonely Girls comes across as something Ed Sheeran could and would cover. But despite that, I actually kind of like this one? Not sure why. Maybe it’s the strings, makes the whole thing nice and breezy in the same way as Everything Will Flow.

Track #4 – Lost in TV

This doesn’t sound like Suede. There’s nothing definitively Suede about it, save for Brett’s vocals. It just sounds like another song, the kind of thing you’d hear everyday in the shops. Not a fan of the la la’s in the backing vocals either. It seems unnecessary and adds to the generic poppy feel of the song.

Track #5 – Beautiful Loser

I’ve noticed we’re getting a lot more use out of the acoustic guitar on this album. Here it clashes with the electric guitar to good effect. A common criticism of the album is that Brett’s vocals are a bit strained as the drug use caught up with him and unfortunately this is where it is most obvious. The lyrics are fine but much like how Obsessions was Trash 2.0, this is Beautiful Ones 2.0. The problem with the album so far is that not a lot of it sounds original, and what is original is turgid. I’m hoping things change as we approach the halfway stage.

Track #6 – Streetlife

I’m liking the faster tempo, it makes the song come across as Hi-Fi‘s younger, more hyper brother. A bit one dimensional and doesn’t really build upon itself like Lonely Girls did, but it’s still alright.

Track #7 – Astrogirl

In terms of overall sound, this is my favourite so far. Alex Lee is on keyboards this time around standing in for Neil Codling and this is definitely his finest hour with the piano and strings, adding a bit of majesty to proceedings. However, the lyrics are once again weak to the point of daft. Here’s the second verse in full:

“A strange experience has started
Between her molecules and me
It’s like disease between us forming
From obsolete technology
And it’s calling you
It’s calling me
It’s calling everyone to be”

That means nothing. Those are just words.

Track #8 – Untitled

Catchy title. Brett singing in isolation at the start made me think this was going to be him channelling what David Bowie was doing around this time on Heathen but sadly not. Once again though I find myself liking the sound. Up until this stage of the album I’ve found myself thinking that Suede are just going through the motions, but there’s a bit of extra effort behind this which I can commend.

Track #9 – …Morning

Ok, no word of a lie, I want to set this as my alarm. I know that would never have been Suede’s intention but goddammit it’s gentle and on the nose enough for me to want to wake up to Brett and acoustic guitar.

Yeah, if you can’t tell I’m struggling to take things seriously at this point, it all sounds OK or occasionally decent but frankly it’s all just going straight through one ear and out of the other. There’s nothing memorable.

Track #10 – One Hit to the Body

A proper electric guitar riff! It’s only been 7 tracks since we’ve had one! Side note, if you were to play a drinking game whilst listening to New Morning where you have to take a shot every time Brett says the word ‘sky’, you’d be absolutely shitfaced by this point. I miss credit cards. Anyway, song’s boring, moving on.

Track #11 – When the Rain Falls

Again, boring. But then again so is any rainy day where you’re stuck indoors so I guess this strikes the right tone? Oh I don’t know at this point, let’s just hear the final song.

Track #12 – Oceans

Ok this is more like it, lyrically this is a massive step up. After all the optimism and saccharine romanticism of the preceding songs, we get a song with the narrator acknowledging that there are oceans between himself and his partner. It’s all falling apart but it’s too late to really do anything about it. Stephen Street’s production has been a bit lax since Obsessions but here there’s a few extra background noises that elevate the song; the familiar grey sounds of life on the radio and the telly.

Right, I’m finally enjoying A New Morning, let’s have some more…oh wait. That’s it.


It can certainly be said that this is a Suede album like no other. It’s sounds light and lives up to the title of sounding like a new morning for the band, seemingly invigorated and eager to take on the 21st century. Plus, you will never hear as much acoustic guitar on a Suede album as you will here.

Unfortunately, it’s not one that would win over any regular fans of the band due to how much of a departure it is from the days of the anthems for the outcasts or the brutal recounts of nitrate-fuelled domestics. Nor is it going to win any newcomers because of how boring it is. If you were to introduce someone to the band with this album, chances are they aren’t coming back for seconds.

On that note I’d like to bring up the front cover because…God I hate it, it’s shit. How are you meant to catch the eyes of the public, how can you go from the striking artwork of Dog Man Star and Head Music to a disc and a splodge of pink?

Here’s a quote from Brett’s book that sums it up:

“Whereas previously we had created record covers that triggered our looming, polar themes of sensuality and sadness, the sleeve to A New Morning was soulless and blank and oddly corporate, bereft of any real personality of human content, perhaps a strangely appropriate reflection of the majority of the songs it clothed” – Brett Anderson, Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn, 2019

Suede had well and truly lost their way by this point in their careers. After Head Music, they had a choice: to go back to the classic sound of their 90s output, or lean further into that album’s tone in an attempt to remain relevant. Drug-free, they were never going to achieve the former. And if they truly did have option three in mind, then doing the latter would be the quickest way to self-immolate. This is an album that sounds like it was only made for the sake of it, by a band who were exhausted and wanted to get out of their record deal, not a band wishing to make a fresh start.

A New Morning was a flop, and rightly so. Apart from Obsessions and Oceans, there’s nothing of value to those except for the most dedicated Suede fan. The following year’s breakup was inevitable. And I’m so glad better was to come in the 2010’s, because what a sad end this could have been.