For a band to release a compilation of B-sides and it be considered one of the best albums of the 90’s, it stands testament to show how Oasis are one of the United Kingdom’s greatest musical achievements. 25 years on, it is still hard to believe that the songs featured weren’t deemed good enough to make the albums and only found their way onto the B-Sides of the band’s even greater songs. Compiling tracks from the early days, up until post ‘Be Here Now’, ‘The Masterplan’ is a collection of Oasis and Noel Gallagher’s peak years in song writing and performance.

Released in 1998, ‘The Masterplan’ was never intended to be sold in the UK. It was originally meant to be an exclusive to Japan and the USA due to how hard it was to find the singles in the respective countries, but that was decided against and it was released worldwide. It reached no.2 in the UK charts, sold over 2 million copies worldwide and features some of Oasis’ greatest work.

From the punky, manic sounding ‘Headshrinker’ to the soft and emotional ‘Half the World Away’, ‘The Masterplan’ is a testament to the versatility the band had. Liam Gallagher’s early, raw sounding vocals are shown on tracks such as ‘Fade Away’ and ‘Rockin Chair’ which run in contrast to the softly sung Noel Gallagher tracks such as ‘Half the World Away’ and ‘Going Nowhere’. It’s hard to believe that ‘Half the World Away’ and ‘Fade Away’ where written by the same artist around the same time and is a demonstration to how special Oasis were.

‘Acquiesce’ opens the track listing. Somehow this huge sounding blend of Gallagher brother vocals never made it onto an album, but instead was hidden on the flip side of the ‘Some Might Say’ single. It’s almost as if the band where making such good music during the early years, that even they didn’t know how good their songs were. It was missed off ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ and was only put onto ‘The Masterplan’ as it was voted to be on the album by fans on the official website. Featuring Liam on the verses and Noel on the choruses, it’s the perfect representation of Oasis’ sound.

On the surface, ‘Talk Tonight’ is just another of Noel’s early acoustic tracks, when really it is Noel’s longing tribute to Melissa Lim, the girl who saved Oasis. After the meth fuelled, car crash that was Oasis’s Whisky A Go-Go gig, Noel had quit the band. Using the remaining tour float, he’d flown to San Francisco to reconnect with Lim, who he’d met at an earlier American show. Lim managed to talk Noel out of leaving the band, and ‘Talk Tonight’ was born. A song with such an important back story still wasn’t deemed good enough and only featured as the second track on the ‘Some Might Say’ single. It’s an emotional insight into another side of Noel Gallagher’s songwriting and is a beautiful tribute to the girl who he describes as ‘saving his life’.

Covering a Beatles song so early in your career takes some bollocks. Do it badly and people will only remember you for it, or in Oasis’ case, cover ‘I Am The Walrus’ and turn the 60’s psychedelia classic into a massive sounding wall of noise the band where so famous for. Many early fans of Oasis claim that this is how they were introduced to the band as early bootleg albums featured this cover and had people hooked before the band had officially released anything. Noel has come out and said that despite the title, ‘I Am The Walrus (Live at Glasgow Cathouse ‘94)’, the song wasn’t actually recorded in front of a live audience and the crowd noises where ripped from a Faces bootleg. Regardless, it is an immense sounding, stripped back, distorted version of the Beatles classic that ‘doesn’t matter if its out of tune, because you’re cool’.

The album closes with ‘The Masterplan’, the song that Noel describes as ‘my favourite song I’ve ever written’. The haunting intro winds down to lead into Noel Gallagher’s vocals as he starts to explain what ‘The Masterplan’ is. The dark sounding verses always feel so resolved by the chorus, which is so poetic as when asked Noel said ‘To me, this [The Masterplan] sums up your journey through life. All we know is that we don’t know’. Noel has always taken a very laid-back approach to lyric writing as he has openly said he usually just finds what fits the songs after they’ve been written, but The Masterplan feel so different. It feels as though every word and note has been thought out and written for a reason, making it one of Oasis’ greatest ever songs.  After the lyrics finish, a short cover of The Beatles’ ‘Octopus’s Garden’ is sung. It’s so fitting that Noel’s ‘favourite song ever written’ features a homage to the band that are the reason Oasis exist.

As the years pass and a reunion never seems to feel any closer, it is lucky that we have albums such as ‘The Masterplan’. It is a treat for a fan of any band to stumble across something you’ve never heard, and from 1998 until the present day ‘The Masterplan’ has always served the same great purpose of giving people this joy. From the opening of ‘Acquiesce’, to the final notes of ‘The Masterplan’, the album is a must listen and features some of the band’s best work. 25 years since its release, the album brings light to the depth and diversity the band had through songs many may have missed. The fact I’m sat here in 2023 writing about a compilation album released 25 years ago, I feel really speaks for itself on how great Oasis were and what a great album ‘The Masterplan’ is.

Oasis: The Masterplan – Out 3rd November 2023 (Big Brother Recordings Ltd)

– The Masterplan (Official HD Video) – YouTube