Certain Songs #1363: Oasis – “Roll With It”

Album: (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
Year: 1995

Coming out in the autumn of 1995, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? was the soundtrack to a pair of different life-changing events. The first one was my job at a company in San Francisco called Art & Science, an agency that built websites for other companies.

In late 1994, I’d discovered the World Wide Web, so in early 1995 I taught myself HTML, built my own personal web page (which still exists!), and that summer, responding to an ad on Usenet, got myself a temporary gig with Art & Science building the first website for The American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

It was supposed to be a three month gig, but the day after I got it, I walked into the weird, small, libertarian ad agency I’d been working for — the job that allowed me to move from Fresno in the first place — and quit, because I had every confidence in the world that if I worked my ass off, it would become a permanent gig. And that’s what ended up happening, and while I was at Art & Science, I worked on early websites for Joe Boxer and SoCal Gas before I left for the greener pastures of Organic Online.

And throughout that fall I tortured my co-workers with repeated playings of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? which was both a bit popular and a bit rock ‘n’ roll for the cool younger kids I was working with. But I didn’t care, cos I loved it so much.

You gotta roll with it
You gotta take your time
You gotta say what you say
Don’t let anybody get in your way
‘Cause it’s all too much for me to take

The other major thing that happened was that Rox & I decided to move in together, so the days of flying back-and-forth just to be with each other ended and the days of just being with each other began. And she loved this album as much if not more than I did, so it was a soundtrack to the weekends of apartment hunting in Oakland even more than Definitely Maybe had been the soundtrack of driving around L.A.

Don’t ever stand aside
Don’t ever be denied
You wanna be who you’d be
If you’re coming with me

“Roll With It” has more hooks that a wharf full of bait shops, kicking off with a big echoing guitar, and even bigger before Liam Gallagher slams in, sneer and confidence fully intact leading off with the chorus. Or if it’s not the chorus, it would be the chorus of a lesser song. Given Noel Gallagher’s penchant for writing songs with a shitton of repetition, it’s nearly impossible to know for sure exactly what the chorus is. So it could be this.

I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
I think I’m gonna take me away and hide
I’m thinking of things that I just can’t abide

Or maybe it’s this, with Noel’s backing vocals echoing around Liam’s lead.

I know the roads down which your life will drive
(Drive life will drive life will drive)
I find the key that lets you slip inside
(Slip inside slip inside)
Kiss the girl, she’s not behind the door
(Behind the door, behind the door)
But you know I think I recognize your face
But I’ve never seen you before

There’s a really nice drum part here were Alan White double times at the end of the verse (or chorus or bridge). Yeah. It’s a bridge, because it sets up a repeat of the chorus, only this time Noel is doing a totally boss falsetto harmony, and then it goes directly into the guitar solo.

You gotta roll with it
You gotta take your time
You gotta say what you say
Don’t let anybody get in your way
‘Cause it’s all too much for me to take

And’s its a great guitar solo, too, taking its fucking time, because Oasis never cared how long their songs were, especially the catchy ones, and so Noel plays long arcing lines against the echo chamber he’s created, though, if listen carefully, you can hear a cowbell buried in the plethora of percussion they layered on.

There’s a bit more static and noise and echo on (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? than there was on Definitely Maybe, like they were trying to get rockier while at the same time writing poppier tunes. And “Roll With It” pulls off that trick with aplomb, gliding into the coda with squealing guitars and one last Noel / Liam counterpoint vocal.

I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
(So take me awaaaaaaaaaay)
I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
(So take me awaaaaaaaaaay)
I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
(So take me awaaaaaaaaaay)
I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
(So take me awaaaaaaaaaay)
I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
(So take me awaaaaaaaaaay)
I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
(So take me awaaaaaaaaaay)
I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
(So take me awaaaaaaaaaay)
I think I’ve got a feeling I’ve lost inside
(So take me awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay)

Noel’s final vocals fade into the ether as the guitars rise up and take “Roll With It” to its ending, a whole entire universe in a little under four minutes. Say whatever you want about their public personae as complete and utter yobs, they sure as shit knew how to craft a great pop song.

And while “Roll With It” was totally ignored here in the United States, where it was clear that nobody gave a rats ass about Britpop, it was their fifth straight top ten single in the U.K. making it all the way to #2, and they were just getting going.

“Roll With It” (Official Video)

“Roll With It” at Glastonbury, 1995

“Roll With It” on Top of the Pops, 1995 (mimed, but w/ Noel singing & Liam on guitar)

“Roll With It” performed live in 1996

“Roll With It” live at Knebworth, 2000

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