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(Credit: Matt Crockett)

Music

Noel Gallagher’s regret about ‘The Masterplan’

Noel Gallagher has written a number of great songs, and he’s written a number of bad songs, and that’s life. His judgement hasn’t always been as finely tuned as it could be, but as is his right as an artist, he calibrates it accordingly to bring out a view of the world at large. But it’s hard to empathise with him when he’s written ‘The Masterplan’ and decides to put it on the flipside to ‘Wonderwall’.

Typically, the song presents something of a grand example of misjudgement for the singer-songwriter, who likely put it down as his way of giving him the chance to sing on a track.

Back then, Noel would typically sing one song on an album, although this would change in later years when he would sing three or four songs on a record. But in 1995, he would traditionally sing on the flipside to the propulsive anthems his younger brother would belt out. So, the only reason I can speculate as to why he put ‘The Masterplan’ on the B-side was to show off his vocal abilities. In effect, the song demonstrates a tenderness that allows Gallagher to become something more angular in his ambition and exhibition.

“Alan McGee said it was too good,” Gallagher confessed. The Oasis guitarist shrugged it off (“I don’t write shit songs,”), but later acquiesced and realised that it had the potential to be a strong single for the band. Personally, I don’t think the song would have suited the turbo-charged, frenzied Be Here Now, but Standing on The Shoulders of Giants? Interesting.

It certainly would have belonged on a more pastoral-sounding album, and the acoustic textures would have added to the milieu of the album, which was frequently confessional in its resolve, demonstrating a weirdly far-reaching view of the complexities and nuances that showcased the demons swimming in his camp, whether it could hang on a tune or not. What it lacked was an obvious chorus, which is something ‘The Masterplan’ has in spades.

It has a soaring guitar solo, a pounding piano line, a towering vocal delivery and a bellowing horn line, laced together by a strong chorus line. And so it goes to show that the song was too good to be a B-side. In fact, it was much too good to be a B-side, as has been shown in concert, which features one of his strongest vocal performances.

Suddenly, the song created a new passion and pathos that stemmed from his interest in the material in question. The song is one of his strongest performances and stands as one of the best songs any band has issued as a B-side.

But maybe Noel was following in the footsteps of John Lennon, a man who felt his best work was put on the flip side of Paul McCartney’s more lightweight work. Inexplicably, ‘I Am The Walrus‘ was issued as a B-side, despite boasting one of the best exercises in vocabulary heard in pop to date. Says it all.

See Noel Gallagher discuss his regrets, below.