Even if you hate the Gallaghers. Even if you’re a die-hard Blur fanatic. Even if you’d rather stick a needle through your eye than hear a busker wail ‘Wonderwall’ on a packed high street, you have to admit that Oasis’ first two albums are quite something. Love them or hate them, 1994’s Definitely Maybe and 1995’s What’s The Story Morning Glory are two of the most important rock albums ever to emerge from the UK. The music of Oasis not only sparked the Britpop movement, but it also echoed the entire history of UK pop, blending the classic songwriting of The Beatles and The Kinks with the high octane riffs of glam and the no-fucks-given attitude of punk.
Alas, it wasn’t to last. Even Noel Gallagher admitted that he eventually ran out of steam. The decline in Gallagher’s songwriting is audible from Be Here Now onwards. In 2011, Gallagher told Spin: “From the start of Be Here Now to Don’t Believe the Truth I didn’t know what I was doing, songwriting-wise. I didn’t have any particular inspiration or direction. I was writing songs for the sake of it and just waiting for something to happen. Then I wrote ‘The Importance of Being Idle’ and ‘Lyla’ and it went up from there.”
‘Lyla’ marked a burst of new life for Oasis. You might go as far as to say it was the group’s last breath. Released in 2005, the track soared to number one, making it the group’s seventh hit single. The song’s success should have been a relief for Oasis but only served to heighten tensions between the band and their label, Sony. After self consciously modelling themselves on The Beatles during their rise to fame, Oasis were now suffering the same business conflicts the fab four experienced with Apple ahead of their split.
The video focuses on a female protagonist who, fed up with the antagonistic presence of her boyfriend and his sloppy mate, explodes in a fit of rage, pushing them out of the flat. As the chorus hits, a series of clumsy CGI transitions lead her into an extravagant party, where Oasis are performing onstage. Liam was not impressed with the video. Discussing the visual with Spin in 2011, the frontman said: “Some of the videos we did were fucking shocking. ‘Lyla’, for example – we look like fucking Culture Club on shit acid.” From the group’s costumes to the shoddy Eyes Wide Shut aesthetic, the ‘Lyla’ video is indeed a fairly cringy affair: “It was meant to be a rock ‘n’ roll circus thing, like the Stones,” Liam told NME, “But it turned into some Culture Club shit.”
‘Lyla’ joins The Darknesses’ ‘I Believe in A Thing Called Love’ and Panic At The Disco’s ‘Lying Is The Most Fun’ as one of the most gloriously cheesy music videos of the 2000s. It truly was a decade like no other.