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“The Liam Gallagher U2 Comment: Is it Inspired, or is it Nationalism, or Peer Pressure?”

It seems these days Oasis are a veritable lightning rod for press coverage: every time Noel Gallagher throws his Futureheads record across the room cursing it, it seems to make a news story. Also, so many are vocal AGAINST Oasis, probably more for their he-man, bravado-laden personae, mind you, than for their music, that it seems natural that they’d tally up some verbal spitfire to throw back.
Still, it is always disconcerting when somebody you artistically respect, and whom you’re trying to personably respect, lashes out in classless trash talk against another. It’s especially upsetting when artists do this to each other, for that matter (unless of course you happen to agree with them, I guess), and one thing I learned from Tony Fletcher’s Perfect Circle: The Story of R.E.M. is that arguably one of the band’s most important skills was a sort of (he called it “Southern”) good-ol’-boy ability to keep their mouth shut and withhold negative commentary on others in the music industry (Jane Austen would refer to it as “holding your porridge,” something she in fact cites as a basic survival mechanism) [1].
My first impression when I read on the Facebook feed “U2 Tour Fans” that Liam Gallagher claimed “U2 has never done anything for rock and roll” were, oh blimey, fu** that dude. I’ll look somewhere else for my power pop greatness the rest of this year [2]. Frankly, I think, per the amount of stress and repetition we’re all subject to every day, I think it’s the first inclination of all of us to overreact to something like this, to expect the perfection out of others we perceive as being expected of us.
Something hit me, in fact, when I was back on Facebook today and I came back across this “U2 Tour Fans” thing, which honestly I have no idea how I got on the thread of, and which isn’t really even an actual U2 thing. I’m not saying they fabricated the account, but the tertiarity of this very entity sort of internalized the bulbous number of parties involved in something like the rock press, to where, when Liam Gallagher is talking, he surely has a perhaps underestimated number parties in mind TO WHOM he was talking.
Now, Oasis is from Manchester, which is a city situated in the North of England, and which also claimed home to Morrissey during said artist’s youth. From what I read of the Smiths biography, Manchester certainly sounds to be a pretty rough, blue-collar, fighting-type place, the type of place where you have to fit a mold or be severely ostracized and bedraggled. Per the excellent U2 / The Definitive Biography by John Jobling, “On more than one occasion, U2 was forced to defend themselves against a barrage of heckles and the odd flying bottle courtesy of the Black Catholics, who referred to them as ‘dirty, stuck-up Proddies.’” What we have here, then, is a recipe for the perfect storm: the ability of these gnashing grey masses to completely ignore U2’s musical accomplishments [3] and take exception to them on principle for their very knack for standing out in a crowd [4].
Now, it’s possible, as well, that nationalism plays a part in this whole deal. U2 is Irish, allotting the great city of Dublin as their home base, and as we all know Britain and ol’ Blighty aren’t exactly historically real chummy. You would have to look at history to discern the truth on such a discussion: to be honest I took back my Van Morrison memoir to the library because it was due, and I can’t think off the top of my head of any England/Ireland MUSICAL rivalries (the most ardent detractor of Oasis has probably been PJ Harvey, who hails from England’s rural north and made the comment “Hate them with a passion” in a Pitchfork review, again, I’m guessing, for their machismo more than their musical strategies, given some slight lack of climax and dispositional variety, perhaps, in the latter, such a caustic binary of course bespeaking a more mainstream/underground struggle).
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[1] As I know I mention often on this blog, Nirvana probably could have learned a thing or two from this tenet.
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[2] I might not be as stupid as you think to be paying attention to the Gallagher brothers in 2017: most Oasis reunions are pretty noteworthy (they can’t be any worse than Noel Gallagher’s Flying Birds) and Liam’s band Beady Eye crooned out a most listenable cluster of fuzz-pop in 2013 by the name, simply, of Be. Also, indie rock has been probably a slight disappointment this year, if not an exorbitant one, per the “efforts” of Real Estate, the New Pornographers and the Arcade Fire.
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[3] For anybody still stupid enough to doubt U2’s artistic greatness, listen to their own “One Tree Hill” and then My Morning Jacket’s “Gideon”: they’re the exact same song.
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[4] Having grown up in an overwhelmingly Christian environment, the members of U2 often took flak, according to Jobling’s book, for what was seen as their extravagant amassing of self-expression.

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