D’You Know What I Mean? By Oasis
By Ron Powers
Brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher helped define the music of the 1990s with their rock-n-roll band Oasis. By the mid-90s these legendary Brits had released two hit albums and were probably the biggest band in the world. After producing mega hits like “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, expectations for what would come next from Oasis were high to say the least. It was in this environment that, on July 7th 1997, they released “D’You Know What I Mean?”, the first single off the bands third studio album, Be Here Now. Upon its release, the song reached number one on the UK, Finland, Ireland, and Spain singles charts. Additionally, in October 2016, NME placed it at number 77 on its list of “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years”.
“D’You Know What I Mean” begins with a sonic picture that communicates the giant rock-n-roll attitude that Oasis is famous for. First, we hear the sounds of helicopters and airplanes mixed with low volume guitar noise along with the sound of morse code. Next, Noel adds pick scrapes which are run through a wah wah pedal giving a touch of rhythm to the ominous, almost warzone feeling rolling out of the speakers. A cracking drum fill erupts after this and crashes out introducing a new flavor of effect-soaked guitar notes. Additionally bass guitar is added deepening the power and depth of the music. The intro music starts to come into focus when acoustic guitar is layered in delivering the song’s chord structure. Atop the music we hear more drum fills along with singer Liam Gallagher gearing up to deliver the verse with a guttural sound that anybody who has felt the weight of life can understand.
After more than a minute of intro music, the first verse gets rolling with a drumbeat made up of snare smashes, a sharp hi hat sound, and booming kick drum. The percussion and bass work together while acoustic and electric guitars fill up the midrange creating a groove you can’t help bobbing your head to. Midway through the verse Noel adds simple lead guitar notes that have heavy flanger and delay effects giving a slightly spooky feeling to the mix. The subtle sound of morse code also peppers the verse along with reverse guitar sounds and other uniquely processed noises. As the verse progresses, we hear Liam deliver the thought provoking lines: “Look into the wall of my mind’s eye / I think I know, but I don’t know why / The questions are the answers you might need / Coming in a mess, going out in style / I ain’t good looking but I’m someone’s child / No one can give me the air that’s mine to breathe”.
As the band explodes into the chorus we hear a symphony of rock-n-roll noise referred to by some as the “wall of sound”: Endless layers of electric guitars, swirling lead guitar, rumbling bass, and slamming drums. All this and more supports Liam’s iconic vocal delivery and Noel’s epic harmonies to create that unmistakable Oasis sound. The famous lyrics, “All my people right here, right now / D’you know what I mean?” have been echoing through time for the last 26 years. And fans all over the world continue to sing along to this rock-n-roll juggernaut, whether they know what Liam means or not.
Unfortunately, we haven’t heard new music from Oasis since their tumultuous 2009 breakup. However, there are rumors circulating that the band is scheduling a reunion tour for 2025. Whether or not that means we’ll be hearing new music from this legendary band remains to be seen. In the meantime, if you’d like to listen to “D’You Know What I Mean” or any of Oasis’ other fine music, you can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places music is streamed or sold. If you’d like to learn more about Oasis, you can find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
About the Author: Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent.