EDITORIAL:Oasis’s upcoming film (and why the ‘90s lives forever)

ARMY OF ME - The Philippine Star

Whatever rule or trend cycle you choose to follow, pop culture appears to have reached a point of fond longing for the mid- to late-‘90s.

Created by the team behind last year’s Oscar-winning Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy, the upcoming film about Oasis charts the British band’s epic rise and chaotic reign, from their beginnings in 1993 to their legendary two-date concert at Knebworth Park in 1996, where they played to a total of a quarter of a million people.

Titled Supersonic, after their 1994 debut single, it features original archive material and interviews. If this ambitious project is anything like the song’s lyrics (“I know a girl called Elsa / She’s into Alka Seltzer / She done it with a doctor / On a helicopter”?), fans should be in for something raw and peculiarly quirky. According to the Guardian, the notoriously quarrelsome Gallagher brothers, Noel and Liam, remain on such bad terms that they recorded their voiceovers separately.

Based on its trailer, the documentary is a brilliant blast of ‘90s nostalgia. It will be fascinating to see footage that captures the ambition and hedonism of the pre-Internet music world. Supersonic hits theaters in the UK on Oct. 2.

Britpop Revisited

The Manchester-based rock outfit ruled Britpop’s imperial period, which began 20 years ago — with the release of “Parklife” by so-called rival band Blur in April 1994 — and lasted until August 1997, bookended by the release of Oasis’s third studio album “Be Here Now.” Since then, the now three-piece went on to produce four more records, the last being 2008’s “Dig Out Your Soul,” before Noel split from the group the year after. The ex-lead guitarist/songwriter formed his own band, aptly called Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, in 2010.

Bands tend to be associated most with the eras that birthed them. While Oasis has achieved legendary status — even winning the award for Best Brit Album of the Last 30 Years at the 2010 Brit Awards — they seem to be especially relevant again now since the influence of the ‘90s still looms large today. The spring/summer 2016 issue of British GQ Style, for instance, devoted a page of products to help readers capture Noel Gallagher’s signature style, from parkas to polo shirts. British Vogue, meanwhile, heralded the return of Oasis-inspired tracksuits and bucket hats in March, in anticipation of Supersonic. Liam Gallagher was indeed wise to establish his own clothing label, Pretty Green, in 2009.    

Trend Cycles

It seems enough time has passed, and it somehow feels right to revisit the moment when the recording industry — still liquid at this point — threw contracts at bands that were clearly not prepared for anything close to a career. There are apparently certain explanations behind this déjà vu.

In 2011, the New York Times referred to this inevitable glance back at the past as “the 20-year cycle of resuscitation.” On the other hand, in 2012, Entertainment Weekly stated “it typically takes about 12-15 years for the nostalgia life cycle to kick into effect.” Whatever rule or trend cycle you choose to follow, pop culture appears to have reached a point of fond longing for the mid- to late-‘90s.

In an interview with British GQ in March this year, Noel Gallagher alluded to Supersonic by talking about their infamous nights at Knebworth. “We have all this footage from behind the scenes leading up to the gig, most of which can’t be used as there’s just monstrous drug taking. We shot the gigs using 16 cameras and we forgot about it. It feels like the last great gathering before the Internet; youth culture’s last great stand. A sort of ‘you had to be there’ moment. Nothing like that will ever happen again.”

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