Is D'ya Wanna Be A Spaceman the best Oasis song ever?
Back in 1994, Oasis released their second single, Shakermaker - a song that would later appear on their seminal debut album, Definitely Maybe.
As would soon become the norm for Oasis, the single had three other songs (B-Sides) on, which often could be argued were actually better, or of equal measure, to the single itself. I have never been a fan of the song Shakermaker anyway (bit ploddy and not very exciting), and the B-sides on this particular Oasis single consisted of a demo and a live track, which were not hugely interesting to me. However, the magic track that still to this day reverberates around my head on an almost weekly fashion, is the acoustic song, D'ya wanna be a Spaceman
Not only was this the best track on that single, I seriously believe it is one of Noel Gallagher's best songs he's ever written. The simplicity of the music and the production dances in perfect step with the innocence and optimism of the songs lyrics. A purely acoustic affair, that is driven by what sounds like a 12-string acoustic guitar, the song's sentiment is of growing old and forgetting about the dreams you had as kids. The imagery is so clear and full of colour that it vividly paints a picture of someone reminiscing about their childhood.
"I haven't seen your face round since I was a kid
You're bringing back the memories of the things that we did.
Hanging round and climbing trees pretending to fly.
D'ya wanna be a Spaceman and live in the sky?"
The melody sings almost like a nursery rhyme, conjuring up a youthful and playful texture that suits the lyrics of youth and wonder like a tailored suit from Carnaby Street. But the real magic appears when the story turns to looking back at what could have been after real life kicked in - Kids, bills and adult responsibilities. Such lyrics, mixing with the childish and innocent music and melody, establishes a melancholy that is both beautiful and crippling sad and it pours out from every note sung.
"You've got how many bills to pay and how many kids?
And you've forgotten about the things that we did.
The town where we're living has made you a man.
And all your dreams are washed away in the sand."
Of course we are dealing with The Chief here and if old Noely G is good at one thing it is making positive and affirming songs that let hearts across the world sing out, which is exactly what he does with the choruses in D'ya Wanna be a Spaceman? The melancholy evaporates and hope, beleif and a sense of wonder is once again restored.
"But it's alright. It's alright. Who are you or me to say what's wrong or what's right?
Do you still feel like me?
We'll sit down here and we shall see.
We can talk and find common ground.
We can just forget about feeling down.
We can just forget about life in this town."
Sonically the recording sounds like it was done in a bedroom - very lo-fi, with little to no trickery- and the vocal work from Noel Gallagher sounds so young and fresh but with a hint of reserve and control. Remember this was a year before he stepped centre stage and sung Don't Look Back In Anger, so he was still trying to find his voice. And this is the charm of it - You can hear a slight accent as he sings, his vocals are wistful and subtle and the backing vocals from his younger brother Liam are the sound of a nightingale chirping: Utter bliss.
I play this song on my guitar still to this day and I regularly have it running around my head. I love it. I love how when I was 13 years old it meant everything to me and how, as I get older it means more and more to me. I love how, as the years pass, it becomes increasingly more relevant and I love, more than anything, the purity and simplicity of it, for the most simple sounding songs are the ones that are invariably based in a real, pure emotion that is not easy to connect with. I would honestly go out on a limb and say, D'ya wanna be a Spaceman, is the purest and one of the best Oasis songs ever written. Bold, statement but hard to argue with, huh?!
What do you think of this Oasis B-Side? Let me know in the comments below!
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