Although it’s from the, uh, “deeply flawed” third album Be Here Now, it’s tempting to point to “All Around The World” as the song that best sums up the first few years of Oasis. It has all the ingredients, from the meaningless-yet-trying-to-be-meaningful lyrics (“All around the world/You gotta spread the word/Tell ‘em what you’ve heard/Gonna make a better day” goes the chorus, headnoddingly unaware of its own nonsense), the 1960s-referencing arrangement and production (Only a band so amazingly in love with the Beatles could’ve come up with this) and, perhaps most importantly for this period of the band in particular, a complete inability to know when to stop. The album version of this song is over nine minutes long, and there’s actually very little of that time that isn’t spent repeating an earlier part of the song (I dread to think how many times the chorus is sung, and even the fade out is around three minutes long, for no immediately explicable reason).
And yet… there’s a song here, despite all of that. The melody is easy enough to sing along with, and agreeable with, that it’s a song that can win you over despite everything that’s “wrong” with it, even if you find yourself thinking “Shouldn’t this song be over yet?” more than once while listening to it. It’s unoriginal, of course, but originality was never Oasis’ point; this is a song for people who think that the 1966-1968 output of Paul McCartney has been unfairly maligned but find themselves wishing that John Lennon had done the lead vocals for most of them anyway, as with so much of Oasis’ output. Being one of those people, I find myself listening to it and thinking “You know, there’s something to this. If only they’d learned how to self-edit back then.”
There was actually a single edit of this song, the third single off Be Here Now. As with most single edits, it exists to make the song shorter, punchier and more appealing to people hearing it for the first time sandwiched between DJ chatter, but such was the cocaine-fuelled arrogance of the band at the time, the single edit is still over five minutes long. That, right there, feels like a great way to sum up the problems with Oasis circa this period.