Oasis’ third album has gone down in history as an Ozymandias-size monument to rock-star folly – the kind of studio monstrosity that just can’t happen without a rare cosmic convergence of money, ego, hostility, dripping nostrils and guitar overdubs. Be Here Now was hyped in 1997 as the magnum opus of Britannia’s (and the world’s) biggest band, yet it turned out to be a crashing comedown from the arena-stomping glories that made the Gallagher brothers the toast of their homeland on the classics Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory. This deluxe three-disc reissue gives it an affectionate salvage job, even if it still comes on like a classic Nineties cocaine album – all the songs way too long, mixed in the red, with a dippy nine-minute anthem called “All Around the World.” The original album has its oafishly grandiose charms, with three certified great Noel Gallagher songs: “Be Here Now,” “The Girl in the Dirty Shirt” and the brilliantly titled seven-minute ear-bleeder “It’s Gettin’ Better (Man!!)”
The reissue is loaded with worthy extras: the B-side “Going Nowhere,” a Bacharach-style ballad that tops anything on the actual album; a stark Exile-style demo of “Fade Out-In”; Noel’s live-in-L.A. lament over John Lennon’s “Help!” plus “The Fame,” where he poses the quintessential Noel question: “Is my happening too deafening for you?” Most intriguingly, there’s his solo acoustic version of his Chemical Brothers collabo “Setting Sun” – a techno banger that became one of the defining hits of late 1995, a signpost to a psychedelic genre-busting rave-core future never quite reached. But there will never again be a rock bomb quite like Be Here Now, and as such its memory should be honored.