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The first album Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders ever bought


We all have those first records that mean the world to us. Just as you’re getting to know yourself, likely in the nascent days of your teenage years, you start to carve out your personality and what defines you as a person, with music being a major element to your identity. Often, the first record you ever buy with your own money sticks with you – whether it’s good or bad – as an indicative measure of who were are and where you’re going.

For Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, it was more a case of continuing what he already knew he liked. During an interview with Paste Magazine, Helders describes how he was, like a lot of youths in the early to mid-1990s, a big Oasis fan. But his first record wasn’t either of the band’s first two classic albums. Instead, Helders got stuck with their most notorious LP.

“I probably bought Be Here Now because I had an older brother and he’d already bought everything else,” he said. “So I just used to listen to his CDs. So actually, it was probably quite later on so it was probably the third record. I obviously had the first two records of Oasis as well, but like I said, I was sharing in those days.”

We all have the long list of CDs handed down to us from family members. My early collection proudly contained albums like Counting Crows’ August and Everything After and Dave Matthews Band’s Crash, two records that I will vehemently defend the merits of until my dying breath. Being cool is overrated anyway. Want proof? Look at Be Here Now.

There really wasn’t anywhere to go but down after (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?. It’s just math: you can’t sell 20 million copies of something and expect to do it again. That’s once in a lifetime zeitgeist stuff right there. Add in liberal amounts of sibling rivalry, writer’s block, cocaine consumption, and you get a nearly unlistenable slog of an album that is at least 30 minutes too long and portably 60 minutes too long if we’re just whittling it down to the good ideas present on the LP.

No one was cooler or more on top of the world than Oasis in 1996. Knebworth is commonly cited as the zenith, and indeed it works as a wonderful metaphor about scaling the mountain of success, looking around, and not knowing where to go afterwards. But the truth is that the world was still ready for more Oasis as 1997 approached, and since most critics ripped (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? to shreds, a notable contingent course corrected by heaping loads of praise on the turd that is Be Here Now.

It’s probably easy to see Helders quickly pivot to indie rock once the 2000s became closer and closer. The Monkeys collective debt to The Strokes is well documented, but let us not all forget the indie rock landscape that Oasis pioneered in the decade prior. They were so big that the entire rock and roll world agreed to judge Be Here Now before ever hearing a note of music. That’s the kind of power you can’t buy.

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