Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books of 2018

It’s time to consider which books I’ll be over-enthusiastically pre-ordering and then finding cheaper elsewhere in 2018! TTT is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
The third in the Ember in the Ashes series, I have been waiting for this book for about a year and a half. Inevitably, I have forgotten what happened in the second one.

Final Draft by Riley Redgate
I’ve enjoyed Redgate’s previous two YA novels so I’m looking forward to this one about an aspiring writer and her exacting mentor.

Black Mirror Volume 1 edited by Charlie Brooker
I’ve never actually watched Black Mirror, mainly because I am prone to being highly psychologically disturbed by imaginary things and prefer to avoid this where possible. This is less of a problem in books though, so I’m hoping to read this anthology of short stories and not need therapy.

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi
A true story of the author growing up in America as an undocumented immigrant from the Middle East; I’m really looking forward to this one.

Run, Riot by Nikesh Shukla
Shukla is one of my favourite people on Twitter: a real force for good in seeking diverse representation and calling out racism. I’ve read and really enjoyed one of his previous books and I’ll be grabbing this one when it comes out.

American Panda by Gloria Chao
A debut YA novel about a Taiwanese-American teenager fast-tracked to college by her ambitious parents. This sounds like an excellent read, and it’s been blurbed by David Arnold so basically it must be good.

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I can’t even talk about my anticipation levels here. I will need a lie-down.

Women in Sport: Fifty Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win by Rachel Ignotovsky
My little girl and I loved Women in Science, the beautiful predecessor to this book, and she’s been nagging me to get this one for months.

Begin End Begin: A LoveOzYA Anthology edited by Danielle Binks
I don’t read much Australian literature so I am keen to read this collection as a starter.

The Wicked and The Divine Volume 6: Imperial Phase, Part 2 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie Mckelvie and Matt Wilson
Apart from one dodgy volume, WicDiv has been a consistently entertaining series, so a new addition is very welcome.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
I read the first chapter of this a few months ago and have been wildly jealous of everyone who got proofs at YALC. A feminist YA novel about a teenage girl facing up to the horrible tratment of girls, this is going to be awesome.

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David Nilsen and I Contemplate the Ferocious Brilliance of Garbage in the 90s

Continuing our discussion of 90s classic albums, today David Nilsen and I publish our debate over which of Garbage’s first two albums is, in fact, superior.

Katy Goodwin-Bates: I have always thought of Garbage’s first album as an old favourite but, on closer examination, it would appear that this was based on four songs. Four banging songs, obviously, but still, I was surprised by how many of the tracks I listened to again and thought, “I have no recollection of this whatsoever.” Which is weird and, frankly, a bit upsetting.

David Nilsen: My own summary verdict: I adore the first album, while Version 2.0 is not nearly as good as I remember.

KGB: Interesting. I had the exact opposite feeling.

DN: Well, these should prove to be amusing debates then.

KGB: I still think Supervixen is an astounding opening to an album.

DN: Agree. Also—and this is true of the entire album—this is exactly what 1995 sounded like. When that track opens, you know when this album came out even if you’ve never heard it before.

KGB: Absolutely. In the case of the rockier songs here, I think that’s a great thing. It’s all the dancey ones that sound like someone made them on an app where I think that becomes less of a compliment. I love how dirty and menacing Supervixen is. I was obsessed with this song and Vow when I first had this album for those reasons.

The word “scuzzy” has just popped into my head and now I think this is the perfect description for the first album.

DN: When I jotted down notes while listening to this, next to Vow all I wrote was “Don’t piss off Shirley.”

Which I feel is accurate, and true to what you’re saying.

KGB: That song is really bound up in my memory with my angry teenager phase. It was the soundtrack to many a revenge fantasy against a boy who hadn’t actually done anything wrong. Now I just like singing along to it and scaring anyone who stops next to me at traffic lights.

I also still adore Only Happy When It Rains and listen to it at least once a week. It’s so grumpy and yet also witty.

DN: Yes. That is one of my favorite 90s songs.

Want to feel old? Shirley Manson turned 50 last summer.

KGB: No.

I mean, that makes Shirley sound kind of old. I feel quite youthful in comparison.

SHIRLEY DON’T HURT ME I AM JOKING

DN: Track 2, Queer, has not aged very well. Musically it’s…whatever…but the daring use of “queer” just comes off awkward and appropriative now.

KGB: Agreed. It’s a weird song. I always thought this. Especially when it goes from “queer” to “lame,” which seems very inappropriate.

DN: Definitely. Unless she was trying to counteract disability-shaming? But I don’t think so, and even if she was, still not appropriate for her to do so that way.

KGB: I am listening to the album now and have reached the throwaway dance songs.

DN: Going back to Only Happy When It Rains, I love the “deep depression” line, because that was so true for me as a teenager. I was in love with my own angst and despair and “woe is me” Romeo & Juliet bullshit. Being depressed made you more interesting.

KGB: Yes! It fits within my whole mentality of reading Wuthering Heights and thinking it was a blueprint for how a relationship should be. Give me angst! Give me drama! Thank god we didn’t have Facebook back then.

DN: Absolutely. Edgar Allen Poe was my spirit animal.

KGB: I feel like we would have got on in the 90s.

DN: And you’re right about Facebook. God. Can you imagine?

How humiliating.

Which means our kids are screwed.

KGB: It will have blown over by the time they’re old enough. That’s my dream.

DN: That or the leaders of our two mighty countries will have blown up the entire world.

KGB: You really are only happy when it rains. Seriously, what is with all these rubbish songs? As Heaven is Wide? Not My Idea? That one, in particular, just sounds really childish.

Both of those are very forgettable.

Like, come on Shirls, if it’s not your idea of a good time, come up with a practical solution. Read a book. Practise glaring at people. As my dad liked to say when I was a kid, “only boring people get bored.”

My dad is very profound.

DN: Indeed

But then we get Vow, and then Stupid Girl.

I just found out Joe Strummer had something to do with that song.

KGB: You’ve just missed A Stroke of Luck, which I am listening to right now and have forgotten already.

Joe Strummer? What? I love him.

Wait, does this song have a good chorus?

Oh. No. It doesn’t. Ignore me.

DN: He apparently co-wrote it or something. Looking it up now.

KGB: I like the opening of Stroke of Luck. The lead in. But the rest is disappointing.

It’s very gloomy. I want rage, not abject misery.

DN: Oh, I was down for abject misery.

KGB: Only if it involves snarling and loud riffs.

Not all this mopey noodling.

DN: We will have to diverge on that.

This entire album sounds like it was used on a soundtrack to all of the darker teen movies of the 90s.

KGB: Actually listening to this song is reminding me of a terrible poem I wrote when I was about 14 which I now think I may have just plagiarised from this chorus.

DN: I am certain these songs were on the ScreamLast Summer, or American Werewolfmovies or something.

I plagiarized my earliest poems in sixth grade from my sister’s diary, which I read while she was away at college.

My Lover’s Box is very good. I dig that song.

KGB: Yes. It is pleasingly riffy. I had forgotten about this one but it definitely gives the back end of the album a lift after Dog New Tricks, which I just do not think is good.

DN: I love Milk too. The album ends on a solid note.

Overall, I have few complaints about this album. For a first record, this is solid. It is very much of its era, which means parts of it are awesome and some parts haven’t aged well. But this is my favorite of theirs.

KGB: I think Supervixen, Only Happy, Vow, and Stupid Girl are cracking, and still sound as appealing to me as they did when I was a moody teenager. There’s just too much filler in between and too much of it has an annoying computer-programmed beat behind it. It frustrates me that all the songs aren’t as good as Vow. Obviously not all songs can be as good as Vow. That would be an overwhelming world to live in.

DN: But you don’t feel that way about Version 2.0? Because that computer programmed, awkward early techno dance shit is all over that album.

KGB: What’s weird about this is that I don’t mind it on 2.0, which obviously makes no sense. I think I’d dismissed the album and then, returning to it last week, it was like seeing someone I used to know who I thought was really annoying but was actually surprisingly cool.

DN2.0 almost sounds more 1998 than the self-titled sounds 1995. And 1998 was not the best year for popular music.

With both of these, I forgot how in love we all were with trip hop in the mid to late 90s. Hip hop hadn’t yet completely taken over pop to where now everything has a strong beat. The early forays into that were sometimes magical and sometimes hella awkward.

KGB: Here’s what’s weird: when Version 2.0 came out, I didn’t like it. More than that: I felt personally let down. I wanted the angst and the scuzziness and the snarling, and all the pounding dance beats disappointed me in a major way. But listening to it again after all this time, I love it. There’s still menace (like in Push It) and that overblown psycho persona with a hint of humour (When I Grow Up), and the whole thing appeals to my 34 year old self a lot more than it did to the teenager who just wanted 12 more songs that sounded like Vow.

DN: I could be on board with that from a philosophical standpoint, but the dance beats sound sooooo dated.

Temptation is fine, but forgettable.

Paranoid is solid. Obviously it was one of their hits.

I love the line in When I Grow up about how she’ll be stable eventually. That goes back to what we were saying on the first album about romanticizing depression and angst.

Which also applies some to Medication.

KGB: I feel like that whole persona of instability reveals itself as something a bit more light-hearted on this album; in Paranoid and Grow Up there’s more than a hint of self-mocking, which I enjoy now that I have learned to laugh at my adolescent histrionics (ok fine I was still like that at 23 but whatever). Medication is quite brilliant, I think.

I don’t love Dumb or Hammering in My Head. They’re a bit too boom-boom-boom for my liking. Where do you stand on You Look So Fine? I have very much enjoyed rediscovering that song.

DN: Hammering in My Head is so 1998. This entire album is like a sonic distillation of what 1998 sounded like.

KGB: You are such a hater. I think it has aged well. Although I live in a country whose government is basically trying to pretend it’s 1979 so my perception is probably warped.

DN: I really like You Look So Fine. I especially like the opening. This song makes me think of my sophomore and junior years of high school. I was good friends with a girl who was a Garbage fan too. I have bittersweet memories of those years. Our friendship was super close for a while, and exploded in spectacular and painful fashion.

KGB: That sounds like a Garbage song in itself.

DN: Good point

I should clarify that I don’t hate Version 2.0. I just don’t think it’s aged as well as the first album did. I feel like I could play the self-titled for someone today who had no context for the album, and they would like it, or at least accept it. If I played Version 2.0, I would be making apologies and explanations for it.

KGB: I like that our viewpoints diverge on this so much. And I’m glad that having these conversations brought me back to Version 2.0because it’s been like catching up with an old friend. While the self-titled album was a bit of a letdown for me, listening to this again (and again and again) has been fun. I’ve had it playing at work all week and people who have come into my classroom have pricked their ears and nodded along. I’m basically performing a public service.

I don’t think it’s perfect or anything but I do like it. A lot. And, as with most of the other bands we’ve talked about, I kind of lost track of Garbage since this album and it’s made me want to rectify that.

DN: I wonder how their more recent stuff sounds. I have totally lost track them as well.

Shirley Manson is 50. That is so weird.

I’m a little afraid to listen to the more recent stuff. What if it sucks?

KGB: Isn’t it weird how we seem to have done that with these bands we liked so much in the 90s? I wonder if it’s a natural byproduct of growing up. Although by the early 2000s I was listening to The Clash and Blondie, so it was a weird kind of progress.

I dare you to listen to it.

DN: Agreed. I moved on to The Smiths and The Cure and all those other 80s bands.

KGB: I have just checked what post-1998 Garbage I have on my iPod. It’s one song. But it’s Why Do You Love Me? which is freaking awesome.

DN: I suppose I’ll have to listen.

KGB: Seriously, do. I had forgotten how great it is. It’s like all the bits of Garbage we liked, delightfully mixed into one stone cold banger.

DN: “Stone cold banger” is one of the most British things you’ve ever said.

KGB: That is genuinely how I talk.

DN: Which is perfectly fine. It was no insult. It was just very British.

KGB: I didn’t take it as an insult. I just wondered if you thought I was amping up the Britishness like a villain in an action movie. When I have been in the U.S. I have honestly been asked several times if I know the queen. These stereotypes can hurt.

I don’t know her, by the way.

DN: That happens here from state to state. “Oh, my sister lives in Ohio. Maybe you’ve met?” I mean, there are 12,000,000 people in this state, and it takes four hours to drive across it, but sure, maybe we’ve met.

KGB: Why are people so stupid?

And why are these people allowed to vote? That’s the big question.

DN: People genuinely do not think. I don’t mean that as shorthand for people being annoying. I mean it seriously: people do not stop and engage any level of mental processing before speaking. Or after speaking.

KGB: What a world!

DN: For real.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: The Books I’m Hoping to Find Under the Christmas Tree

Behold, all the weird and remarkably un-festive books I decided to ask for this Christmas. Seriously, what is wrong with me? I appear to have forgotten that novels exist while making this list.  TTT, as always, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

Under My Thumb: Songs that Hate Women and the Women that Love Them by Rhian E. Jones
I’m all for hardcore analysis of song lyrics so this book about songs whose popularity suggests people haven’t actually listened to the lyrics sounds perfect. There’s an essay on a similar theme in Jessica Hopper’s collection of rock criticism which I enjoyed, so I’ve got high hopes for enjoying this too.

Harley Quinn: A Celebration of 25 Years by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm
I love Harley so I’m hoping to find this beautiful-looking book on Christmas morning.

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
I think I have been claiming I’m desperate to read this all year but now it’s out in paperback so I’m far more likely to actually do it. I’ve read nearly everything Jackson wrote this year so I’m interested to read about her.

The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr Frankensteins and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo
I’m probably going to teach Frankenstein next year so I’m trying to accumulate fascinating books about it to dazzle my students with my astounding contextual knowledge.

We Chose to Speak of War and Strife: The World of the Foreign Correspondent by John Simpson
John Simpson is the BBC’s World Affairs editor and has reported on major global events for fifty years. I reckon he might know some stuff.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Dr Ibram X Kendi
The title makes it pretty clear what this is about; I’m a history buff and I’ve read a lot this year about race in the USA and the UK, so this sounds fascinating.

A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Bronte, Eliot and Woolf by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney
Another book I’ve been meaning to get hold of for ages. I always see Christmas as the ideal time to ask for books I have deemed too expensive to buy myself. That’s the true meaning of the season, right?

The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature by Viv Groskop
Ironically, I hated Anna Karenina, but this book about what Russian literature tells us about life sounds cool.

Batgirl Volume 2: Family Business by Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher and Babs Tarr
I was lent the first book of this new Batgirl series by someone who, very inconveniently, did not have the second one, hence its inclusion here. My daughter is really into the DC Superhero Girls and I really like showing her these books as a way to show her that interest can go on as long as she likes.

Frankenstein Dreams: A Connoisseur’s Collection of Victorian Science Fiction, edited by Michael Sims
More 19th century-related geekery. I am intrigued by this.

An Oasis-Related Transatlantic Incident: David Nilsen and I Dissect What’s the Story? and Definitely Maybe

Sensible music fans, this will horrify you, but there are apparently some people who think that What’s the Story? (Morning Glory) is a better album than Definitely Maybe. I know, it’s bizarre. I don’t understand it either. For more details of this frankly appalling dispute, read on as David Nilsen and I return to the ’90s to argue about Oasis’ first two albums.

Katy Goodwin-Bates: I can’t overstate just how ubiquitous Oasis’s music remains over here. Our radio system is far less genre/geography based than yours, but it is literally impossible to turn on an indie or 90s station without hearing pretty much all of the first two albums. Without even trying to, I hear at least three Oasis songs a day. As long as they’re good ones, I have no issue.

For me, Definitely Maybe is the quintessential 90s album. Britpop was a hugely formative experience for me and Definitely Maybe was the record that kick-started my love of guitar music. I still remember buying the cassette in my local independent record store; I think this is part of why it’s still so familiar and comforting to me, almost in its entirety, because I experienced it in a medium that made it really inconvenient to skip tracks. When it comes on my iPod now, if the shuffle setting is on, it just feels wrong.

David Nilsen: I found Oasis, like many Americans, on their second album. Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova were some kind of melancholic daydreams that took over our radio waves and made us all believe the Gallagher brothers were sweet, sensitive romantics and not brawling, petty hooligans. I fell hard for Oasis, reading every Rolling Stonearticle I could find and going onto chat rooms (remember chat rooms?) to discuss my love for the band. I even read a weird memoir written by their bodyguard, which gives someone uninitiated an indication of how huge this band was, if even their hired muscle got a book deal.

I would put on What’s the Story, Morning Glory?on tape and sing along, imagining I was Liam, though I always liked Noel more. That all of England fell under their trance helped elevate my opinion of England as a whole when I was 16.

Anything not American was exotic in my small little Midwestern high school, so even though Oasis was doing pretty basic rock (albeit doing it well), and even though they were possibly the biggest band in the world at the time, it still felt hip and in-the-know to like them then. Of course, I was convinced no one liked them as much as I did.

KGB: But it wasn’t all of England! Do you not know of the Great Blur versus Oasis War of 1995? This was a major conflict. It was lucky teenagers don’t have automatic weapons.

DN: Oh, yes. And it made me like Blur less, even though I didn’t really like them all that much anyway (I was going to put an axe through our television if I heard one more commercial with their Woohoo sample).

But still – Oasis was impossibly huge there, right? I remember reading almost 5% of the population tried to buy tickets to their Slane Castle show.

KGB: It was very dramatic, epitomising as it did some of the issues that persist in British society even 20 years later: north vs south, working class vs middle class. Just to be contrary, I am southern and middle class, but I fell hard for Oasis like you; it felt weirdly rebellious to opt for the snarly Parka-wearing Mancunians rather than mockney Damon Albarn. I don’t know why it never occurred to any of us that you could like both bands.

Oasis were and still are huge; I have already heard three Oasis songs on the radio today and it’s only 3.30 p.m.

I think because they were never particularly original in the first place, a lot of their music hasn’t dated.

DN: Sure, that’s a good point. It is so weird to me they’re still big there. They more or less don’t even exist here anymore. Who’s even in the band at this point?

KGB: Their possible reunion is mentioned in the media at least once a week here. They split a few years ago and both Liam and Noel have done their own thing (with nowhere near as much success).

DN: I wonder how much more damaging their uncouthness would be if they were first coming out today, with social media being what it is. It’s hard to picture them getting away with saying they hope Damon from Blur dies of AIDS and surviving that commercially. As they did in the 90s.

On the other hand, if your fan base is white bros with attitudes and expendable income, maybe you survive it just fine.

KGB: I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just because I’m not 13 any more, but exaggerated swagger impresses me a lot less now than it did back in the day. I imagine the warring brothers narrative would still engage people though. Maybe they’d fight with each other on Twitter. Noel Gallagher, incidentally, is something of a national treasure now. He’s very funny and a lot more articulate than his 1990s persona.

DN: He always struck me as the brains and polish of that operation. He was always my favorite. How about I offer a few unpopular opinions to get us started, and you can yell at me?

KGB: Yes, please.

DN: Unpopular Opinion No. 1: What’s the Story, Morning Glory? is an objectively better album than Definitely Maybe.

KGB: That’s just silly.

Definitely Maybe is a glorious, snarling statement of intent. It’s a wild night out of reckless abandon. What’s the Story is the following night, when you go out again, trying to replicate the excitement, but end up throwing up on your shoes by 7 p.m. and tucked up in bed earlier than on a school night.

DN: You are so wrong right now.

KGB: I am very pleased with this metaphor.

DNDefinitely Maybe feels like they had idealized shitty American dive bars in St. Louis or something and never realized the appeal of those bars is only intended to be ironic. Liam’s voice is whiny as hell on the entire album, and he tries to affect this southern twang that makes no sense and, we discover on the next album, is not his actual singing voice.

And there’s hardly a single to sing along to on the entire album, with the exception of Live Forever.

I get the idea of it being grittier and dirtier and all that, but the next album really does feel better from a songwriting and delivery standpoint.

KGB: What! That is outrageous. Supersonic is a great song. Also, try telling a British dude in his 30s that you can’t sing along to Cigarettes and Alcohol. I don’t think they ever recorded another song as good as Slide Away.

I also think Definitely Maybe is perfectly structured. Any other band would be laughed out of the NME for starting their debut with a song called Rock n Roll Star, but here it’s a perfect mission statement. The album peaks in noisiness from tracks 5-8 and then lovely Slide Away is sandwiched between the mundane silliness of Digsy’s Dinner (“lasaaaaaaagnaaaaahhh”) and Married with Children, which I always really liked.

DN: Married with Children is good.

And yes, opening your debut album with a song called Rock n Roll Star could not be a more Gallagher brothers thing to do. But they sound like they desperately want the worst American fans of the Rolling Stones to like them. For being a band that steals Beatles lyrics every other song, they sure seem to love 1990-era Stones.

KGB: I don’t think Oasis were ever about the lyrics though. For one thing, they’re generally very silly. Case in point; “I’m feeling supersonic/give me gin and tonic/ you can have it all but how much do you want it?” Want what? The gin and tonic? Also I refuse to believe Liam Gallagher was a G & T drinker. It’s far too refined.

But if you’re critiquing their lack of originality, how can you justify preferring What’s the Storywhen it’s just a less good version of Definitely Maybe?

DN: He seems like he could drink the worst of dry London gin on the rare nights he’s feeling reflective and masochistic. But yeah, not very often, and never good gin.

But What’s the Story wasn’t a version of Definitely Maybe at all. It doesn’t try to be. For one album, they matured into pop songwriters who could appeal to more than their street-level bar crowd. Liam abandons his silly twang, Noel’s songwriting reaches its pinnacle, their production quality hit the perfect balance between the quasi-garage rock of Definitely Maybe and the lamely posh veneer of Be Here Now (though that still had a couple decent songs on it).

They’re not writing at all the same kinds of songs on their second album.

KGB: I am in strong disagreement now. Some of the songs on What’s the Story are just rubbish; Hey Now, for example, serves no purpose and says nothing. If starting an album with Rock n Roll Star was a cliche, beginning the next one with a song called Hello is just ridiculous, and I imagine they regret sampling Gary Glitter now.

Part of the problem with the 2nd album, for me, is its ubiquity. Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back were and still are SO overplayed here, they basically mean nothing to me any more. I do think What’s the Story follows the template of Definitely Maybe; storming starts, anthems like Live Forever and Wonderwall a few tracks in, then big, long ballads near the end in the form of Slide Away and Champagne Supernova. I’d also draw a clear line between Digsy’s Dinner and She’s Electric. Though I’ll grant you She’s Electric would have been right at home on Definitely Maybe.

I think What’s the Story is just too overblown. There are so many songs on there which follow the formula of the previous album but just aren’t as good.

Melodically, I’ll grant that What’s the Story is better.

But lyrically, I’m sticking with its older brother.

DN: I wonder how much of this disagreement is something difficult to bridge based on our different experiences of coming to the band, which spring directly from you growing up in England and I in America.

KGB: This is very probably the case.

Also, with Oasis making it big over there with the second album maybe it’s inevitable. I think music fans usually have the most affection for the album they came to first in a band’s oeuvre.

DN: Okay, Unpopular Opinion No. 2: All of that being said, neither of these albums holds up as well as I remembered.

KGB: Expand.

DN: Well, I’ve expressed my thoughts on Definitely Maybe. But even with Morning Glory, which I prefer, it feels less substantial than it did back then. This seems like a classic case of a band being hurt by their own popularity. As we’ve said, they were just such a big deal. I adored them. And now, while there are some fun songs, it’s hard to listen and remember how this completely captured the imagination of the English-speaking world. It’s fine. It’s good. It’s not world-breaking. And that comes with a letdown that isn’t really the band or album’s fault, I suppose. Continuing the metaphor you started with the night of wild drinking, it’s like remembering one of those legendary nights twenty years later when you have a kid and you’re married and you have actual things you’re trying to accomplish in life. Yeah, it can still bring a smile to your face to remember it, but do you really want to go back and be that silly and reckless? Maybe now and then, if the moment and reason is perfect, but you’ll probably end up feeling shitty about yourself afterward, like you were trying to recapture something that’s lost.

KGB: I think part of the issue is that there wasn’t much else for the discerning indie music fan in the mid 1990s. Britpop started with Oasis, and that opened the floodgates for a lot of bands that, I think, have stood the test of time more successfully, like Pulp. The album Blur bought out in opposition to What’s the Story was pretty terrible, but their work after that was interesting (with the exception of the Wahoo song as you have mentioned). What’s the Story was a real product of its time, especially here, with awful Lad Culture and the European football championships in ’96; for a lot of people, it holds up just through nostalgia.

I saw Oasis play in 2005 and remember nothing about it (not even through drinking because I never drink at festivals). That tells me a lot about their long-term impact on my life.

I saw The Cure at the same festival and remember every second, by contrast.

DN: Even if you disagree, do you at least hear the whininess and faux-country twang in Liam’s voice in the early stuff?

KGB: Oh completely. I think Liam might be the source of my theory about male singers not actually needing to be able to sing. You must have noticed the “shi-yin-ah” bit that seems to be in about half their songs?

That’s always really annoyed me.

DN: I mean, there are a few female leads who can’t sing, but are still wonderful. Emily Haines has no range at all, but I will hear nothing bad about Metric. Also, Dolores O’Riordan secretly cannot sing at all, but did that matter?

KGB: I love Metric! I always really like her voice. Maybe because it didn’t make me feel inadequate.

DN: Right. She’s doesn’t need to be able to sing better than she does. She can’t hit anything high, and mostly doesn’t try to, but her voice is adequate and perfect to their sound. I love her.

Dolores flatly cannot sing. But I adore the early Cranberries stuff with ardent passion.

KGB: But I guarantee nobody else I know has heard of Metric, while nobody in the English-speaking world can be unaware of Oasis. Sigh.

DN: Right?

KGB: Absurd.

DN: There is a tremendous amount of the Oasis story that reeks of male mediocrity getting ushered into the spotlight because it is brash enough.

KGB: Amen to that.

DN: Is there anything else about Oasis to discuss? Are we still friends?

KGB: I feel like we’ve reached a conclusion. To our relationship.