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Every Oasis album ranked from worst to best

Oasis
(Image credit: Michel Linssen/Redferns)

Oasis were more than a band, they were a cultural phenomenon.

You probably know the story of the rise and fall of the brothers Gallagher at this point; from gatecrashing an empty Glasgow King Tuts in front of Alan McGee (on this day in 1993) to two sold out nights at Knebworth within three years, Noel Gallagher establishing himself as rock's finest songwriting magpie whilst his brother Liam channeled John Lennon and Johnny Rotten simultaneously, the fights, the quips, the tabloid outrage, the onstage break ups, the backstage brawls... and a collection of some of the most perfect singles of any band in history.

Following Oasis certainly had its ups and its downs; when they were great, good lord, were they untouchable, when it went bad, did they ever stink. But which of their albums shines... sorry, shiiiiiiinnnnneeees the brightest? We've ranked them all here, from worst to best.

As you were.

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8. Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants (2000)

The lowest point of Oasis’ career by some distance, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants is a mightily bizarre album for a number of reasons. Firstly, it actually starts really well, with the opening instrumental Fuckin’ in the Bushes still used as Liam Gallagher’s intro music to this very day, and lead single Go Let It Out featuring a proper earworm chorus, but the crash after that is quite astonishing.

Two sloppy, AOR plodders fronted by Noel back-to-back (Where Did It All Go Wrong and Sunday Morning Call) and the pedestrian glam of I Can See a Liar are bad, but nothing the band ever released comes close to the horror of Liam's infamous, saccharine Little James. The inclusion of this terrible song alone cements SOTSOG’s place at the bottom of the pile here.

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7. Dig Out Your Soul (2008)

The final Oasis album, released only 10 months before an infamous backstage altercation between Noel and Liam in Paris that led to the split of the band, is a rather sad way for the band to go out. Like all of their albums, Dig Out Your Soul features a couple of decent singles, The Shock of the Lightning is an obvious highlight and clear lead single and opening track Bag It Up sets the bar reasonably high.

But the most damning thing you can say about the album is that the majority of it just passes by unnoticed: for a band who were used to being a national obsession, that is nowhere near good enough.

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6. Heathen Chemistry (2002)

It’s not massive praise to say that Heathen Chemistry marked a clear upgrade from the disastrous Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, and the album does have its fair share of problems, the most obvious ones being that the band should never, ever have been left to self-produce themselves, and tthat here are least two too many ballads here.

But, Heathen Chemistry scores high for a including a set of hugely anthemic singles; Little by Little, Songbird and the excellent Stop Crying Your Heart Out might all be a bit schmaltzy, but they manage to tug at the heartstrings in the intended manner, and the garage slink of The Hindu Times feels like Oasis by way of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Chuck in the enjoyable Hung in a Bad Place and Better Man and this is a decent album overall.

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5. Don’t Believe The Truth (2005)

The best album by the non-classic line up of Oasis by some distance. Don’t Believe the Truth is the closest Noel and Liam ever came to putting out a record that gets close to the consistency of their earliest material.

Lead single Lyla, a fantastic stomping, strutter of a tune, was a good place to start getting people back onside, but Noel going full Dylan on Mucky Fingers, the punky The Meaning of Soul and the dreamy pop of Andy Bell's Keep the Dream Alive all back it up brilliantly. Then we also get The Importance of Being Idle, a song many have claimed is the band’s final great moment. It’s a great song, undeniably, and a good shout for being their last hurrah, but there are plenty of moments here that are its equal.

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4. Be Here Now (1997)

Notorious for its length, its pomposity, its excess and its expense, Be Here Now has become the classic cautionary tale for any band who hit it big to keep their feet on the ground. It’s a fair message, as this is a record that is often laugh out loud hilarious in its OTT nature, but, listening back to it today, it’s actually aged rather well.

D’ya Know What I Mean is an absolutely, monumentally huge opening statement, the chorus to Stand By Me remains iconic, the likes of My Big Mouth and I Hope, I Think, I Know are fantastically underrated, careering rock and roll songs and, although they’d hate the comparison, Oasis sound like a larger fuelled Bon Jovi on Fade In-Fade Out. Which is a compliment by the way.

We still have no idea why the mad bastards made All Around the World nearly ten minutes long - actually, we do, it's called cocaine - but it doesn’t detract from the fact that Be Here Now is much better than you remember.

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3. The Masterplan (1998)

Yes, yes, we know, The Masterplan is not an Oasis studio album, and usually B-sides and rarities collections would not be included for consideration on a list such as this. But such was the prolific nature of Noel Gallagher’s songwriting prowess in the band’s early years that it feels insane not to include a set of songs this good here.

The fact that the likes of Fade Away, Half the World Away, Talk Tonight and the title track are as well-known and beloved as pretty much any song in Oasis’ back catalogue says it all. Plus, it opens with the sublime Acquiesce, a song that not only might just be the finest of the band's entire career, it feels like the perfect encapsulation of Liam and Noel’s individual strengths; the creative push and pull between the two brothers that was so key to the alchemy that made them essential, all surmised in four and a half stunning minutes. 

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2. (What’s The Story) Morning Glory (1995)

Naming the best two Oasis albums is something of a cliché at this point, but it’s a cliché for a reason, they really are, comfortably, leagues ahead of the rest of the band’s discography. … Morning Glory was an absolute smash when it arrived, breaking records for sales and chart positions in the UK and giving us a set of songs that have crossed over into the lexicon of British culture to the point where you can’t imagine meeting someone who doesn’t know all the words to Wonderwall.

To be fair, pretty much every track sounds like a single, and deeper cuts like Hello and Cast No Shadow are just as good as Don’t Look Back in Anger or Some Might Say. It’s album closer Champagne Supernova that really is the superstar here though, a song with a breadth and ambition way beyond anything the band had attempted up until that point, they’d never get as close to it again either. Cultural monolith, sure, but this is a great album first and foremost.

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1. Definitely Maybe (1994)

So, what could come above one of the best-selling albums in UK chart history? Only one of the greatest debut albums in history.

The debate between which is the superior of the first two Oasis albums has raged for decades, but in our opinion, this is something of a no brainer. Where … Morning Glory had a couple of songs that were good but not great, the weakest moment on Definitely Maybe is still a minimum 8/10, and the majority of it is 10/10 perfect.

Seriously, can you name another album with a heavy hitting, bar setting opening trilogy of Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, Shakermaker and Live Forever? That’s the first three songs on your first album and a pretty strong shout for the most staggering introduction in the history of rock. And that’s before we even get into Supersonic, Slide Away, Columbia, Up in the Sky, Cigarettes and Alcohol... There are bands who have had careers lasting multiple decades with greatest hits collections that look puny, irrelevant and full of filler when put next to these songs.

Definitely Maybe is a timeless, ageless classic album, comprised solely of huge rock and roll tunes, Godzilla-sized choruses and lyrics that make you feel like you’re the centre of the fucking universe. It turned its creators into the hottest band on the planet and it’s the best album Oasis have ever recorded.

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Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.