Why an Oasis reunion is a media-fuelled fantasy

On Thursday July 9, Liam Gallagher threw kerosene on the constantly crackling fire of the Oasis reunion rumour mill, flames that have been fanned by the world’s media ever since the UK rock band called it quits nine years ago. He did this with a seemingly out-of-the-blue tweet addressed to his brother and former bandmate Noel asking to get “the big O” back together. The ‘could-it-really-be’ gasps of fans could be heard worldwide as music writers pounced on the story, seamlessly tying it into the established narrative of the feuding siblings who would eventually, it was presumed, put their differences behind them and return to the business of being the biggest band in the world.

There’s a lot going on within that presumption, and it has more to do with giving the media something to write about than it does the reality of the situation. Sure, Liam’s tweet is backed up by numerous interviews where he states that he would love to be in Oasis again, but this has been a consistent headline-making issue for the entire almost-decade that the band have been broken up. Prior to that, many of the same publications were printing stories with a similar regularity declaring that Oasis were on the verge of imploding. The drama between the two frontmen is part of what made them seem dangerous and interesting, in both a musical and public relations sense, and their constantly goading-yet-approachable attitude to the media has always made for killer content.

 

“I forgive you now let's get the BIG O back together and stop fucking about the drinks are on me,” read Liam’s tweet. After waiting a day, he added, “I’ll take that as a no then.”

 

 

 

Understandably, this gave the papers something to write about, particularly in the UK where the band is still largely revered as modern gods. NME, the formerly print-based and now solely online pop/rock focused publication, published 41 articles on their website the month of the tweet tagged with ‘Oasis’. The site brings up 345 articles mentioning Oasis when you search the term. Alhough NME is certainly the most Brit-pop-focused outlet around, in 2015 The Guardian described “a continuing, insatiable public appetite for all things Gallagher.” Closer to home, a quick look at Tone Deaf, which is probably the Australian NME equivalent in terms of style and content, has posted 19 Gallagher-related articles so far this year.

 

So why does the music media continue to follow so closely the story of a band that have not played a note together since Justin Bieber was 15 years old? A video of Liam making tea backstage went viral as, in typically dry form, he complained about having to make his own beverage, when back in the ‘90s there would have been a team on hand for the task. Through the lens of nostalgia it is easy to view the Gallaghers as the last of a breed of traditional rockstars who didn’t need social media to connect with their fans and benefited from massive major label budgets. The somewhat aloof and untouchable image that was possible when Oasis were at their peak no longer exists within the marketing plan of any major pop or rock artist, and in that way no one has really filled the gap they left.

 

Furthermore, Liam won’t leave the issue alone. On August 5 via Twitter, he again reached out to Noel by sharing a picture of his family on holiday and saying, “Had the best family holiday ever cmon [sic] Noel Sara Anais Donovan [S]onny you know you want to get involved.”
 

 

The biggest flaw in the reunion idea, other than the fact the two frontmen won’t speak to each other, is that it probably wouldn’t be very good. The constant stream of news pieces and updates based around anything the pair do in public is used to tap into a nostalgic and baseless notion that if they were to miraculously reform, it would be as they were in the mid-‘90s when they were amongst the most loved acts on the planet.

 

The fact that the quality of their output dipped noticeably by the turn of the century and reviews of their shows focused more on antics and bad tempers rather than the music has somehow been happily ignored by this media campaign, as if the nine years apart will revert them to the brilliance with which they first appeared at the ages of 20 (Liam) and 26 (Noel) when Definitely Maybe was released 25 years ago. Stereogum described the second half of Oasis’ career from 2000’s onwards as “a series of middling releases only existent for a core (yet still rabid and quite large) fanbase.”

 

Add to that the fact that after the first two albums – the only ones remembered fondly by the general public – the lineup changed completely, and the next question is, who would be part of this reunion? The blokes who made Definitely Maybe, or Dig Out Your Soul?

 

Liam again made NME headlines recently when he stated that Noel was “begging” to play Glastonbury, after an interview where the senior brother was asked if he was interested in performing at the UK’s biggest festival and he responded positively. This followed a tweet where Liam all but confirmed that he had been booked to headline the event next year. For now, it seems that seeing the two Oasis stars on the same festival bill will have to satiate fans, but their legacy is destined to live on in the era of clickbait.

 

Feature image via A24 (Oasis: Supersonic).

 

 

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