Tuesday, October 10, 1995

No Doubt released Tragic Kingdom: October 10, 1995

Originally posted October 10, 2011.

With their third album, and major-label debut, No Doubt hit the big time. Tragic Kingdom wasn’t an immediate hit – it didn’t chart until January of 1996 and then took until December 1996 before it hit #1. However, it sold ten million copies in the U.S. and more than 17 million worldwide. At the 1997 Grammy Awards, Tragic Kingdom took home the prize for Best Rock Album while No Doubt walked away with the award for Best New Artist.

The group has been credited with bringing “Southern California’s ska scene to a national stage while elevating the band to star status” CK with its mix of ““‘90s punk, third-wave ska, and pop sensibility.” STE Naysayers like Entertainment Weekly’s David Browne attributed the band’s success to Gwen Stefani’s “leggy, bleached-blond calling card” looks and the idea that “sex still sells”, WK but even he conceded that the music provided “a hefty chunk of new-wave party bounce and Chili Peppers-style white-boy punk.” WK

The band worked with producer Matthew Wilder, who’d had a top 5 pop hit with “Break My Stride” in 1983. It made for a “a clever mainstream co-opting of new wave quirkiness, and, as such, an ideal pairing.” STE “Wilder kept his production lean and accessible, accentuating No Doubt’s appealing mix of new wave melodicism, post-grunge rock, and West Coast sunshine.” STE

The album “scored several hits” CK “led by the infectious, pseudo-new wave single Just a GirlSTE in which Stefani expressed her “exasperation with female stereotypes.” WK WK Spiderwebs, was written about a woman “trying to avoid the constant phone calls of a persistent man.” WK Both songs “positively ruled the airwaves, both alternative and mainstream.” STE

“In 1997 No Doubt cemented their cross-generational appeal” STE with Don’t Speak, which Browne called “an old-fangled power ballad.” WK The song was written about Stefani’s breakup with bandmate Tony Kanal. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard airplay chart for a then-record sixteen weeks. It was not eligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 because it was not released as a commercial single.

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, October 3, 1995

Oasis released (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?: October 3, 1995

Originally posted October 3, 2012.

image from virginmedia.com

Release date: 3 October 1995
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Hello / Roll with It (8/26/95, #2 UK) / Wonderwall (11/11/95, #8 US, #2 UK, #9 AR, #1 MR, #33 AC) / Don’t Look Back in Anger (3/2/96, #41a US, #1 UK, #10 MR) / Hey Now! / (untitled) / Some Might Say (5/6/95, #1 UK) / Cast No Shadow / She’s Electric / Morning Glory (10/7/95, #24 AR) / (untitled) / Champagne Supernova (2/24/96, #20a US, #8 AR, #1 MR)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 4.31 UK, 22.0 world

Peak: 4 US, 110 UK


Review: The Gallagher brothers (singer Liam and guitarist Noel) have been called “tossers, wankers” TL because they “spent the ‘90s getting arrested, yelling at each other and warring with Blur’s Damon Albarn over the very important matter of which band was Britain’s best.” TL In regards to the latter, Oasis won the battle with Morning Glory, an album “with four hit singles that attested to the strength and consisten high quality of the material.” PR

Of course, the group was also been accused of “ripping off The Beatles (ok, excellent stealing).” ZS They may be “guilty of some borrowing, or even plagiarism, but [Noel] uses the familiar riffs as building blocks. This is where his genius lies: He’s a thief and doesn’t have many original thoughts, but as a pop/rock melodicist he’s pretty much without peer.” AMG “The nagging familiarity of the material and the group’s stroppy self-confidence made criticism redundant.” PR

“Oasis are hardly innovators” AMG but “this powerhouse sophomore album rocks, end of story.” ZS “They have a majestic grandeur in their sound that makes ballads…or rockers…positively transcendent.” AMG Their “songs are flat-out infectious with melodies that capture their passion, sneering arrogance and good chops.” ZS Liam’s “voice is a no-frills vessel for carrying a tune;” TL he shows a knack for “turn[ing] each song into a sing-a-long.” TL Oasis “came as close as anyone to combining the tunefulness of the Beatles with the attitude of the Stones.” TL This is “quintessential Britpop.” ZS

If Definitely Maybe, their debut, “was an unintentional concept album about wanting to be a rock & roll star, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is what happens after the dreams come true. Oasis turns in a relatively introspective second record, filled with big, gorgeous ballads instead of ripping rockers.” AMG

“Unlike Definitely Maybe, the production on Morning Glory is varied enough to handle the range in emotions; instead of drowning everything with amplifiers turned up to 12, there are strings, keyboards, and harmonicas. This expanded production helps give Noel Gallagher’s sweeping melodies an emotional resonance that he occasionally can’t convey lyrically. However, that is far from a fatal flaw; Gallagher’s lyrics work best in fragments, where the images catch in your mind and grow, thanks to the music.” AMG

Highlights include the “epic arena rawk of Champagne SupernovaTL and the “sympathetic” AMG Wonderwall, “a title taken from an obscure film scored by George Harrison.” TL There’s also the “raging title track [with] a hint of regret,” AMG the “defiant” AMG Some Might Say and the “humorous…She’s Electric, a bawdy rewrite of ‘Digsy’s Diner.’” AMG

Some Might Say

Roll with It

Morning Glory


Champagne Supernova

Don’t Look Back in Anger

Resources and Related Links:

  • Oasis’ DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • album page on DMDB website (even more in-depth look at album)
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
  • PR Paul Roland (2001). CD Guide to Pop & Rock. B.T. Batsford LTD: London. Page 78.
  • TL Time Magazine’s All-TIME 100 Albums by Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light (11/13/06).
  • ZS Zagat Survey (2003). Music Guide: 1,000 Top Albums of All Time. Coordinator: Pat Blashill. Music Editor: Holly George-Warren. Editors: Betsy Andrews and Randi Gollin. Zagat Survey, LLC: New York, NY. Page 175.