Oasis

Orefield, Pennsylvania, 1995. You feel bad about yourself and your place in the world almost every moment of every day, but every choice you make is linked to supreme confidence in this one truth, that things will be better, that, on the other side of this is vindication, and you order everything, the way you look, the way you dress, the way you refuse to sleep, you order everything from there.  You are too young, really, to read Sherwood Anderson without feeling worse. You want to be Jay Gatsby but you’re not even Jimmy Gatz. You look into the mirror darkly and want to see Jesus but don’t see anything besides market capitalism and reactionary politics as the only possible ways forward. Then along comes a band that posits a a new kind of radicalism: it is possible, they say, to swagger and sneer the devil all the way back to hell. Everything is shit, but instead of hearing “I hate myself and want to die” on your local Top 40 you hear instead “maybe you’re gonna be the one that saves me,” and “you and I are gonna live forever.”  That the words on chewed on and spit out, the long I’s are, first, acrobatic long E’s that make Sinatra’s Y’s quaint, that they’re working class kids in acrylic sweaters and jeans with the wink/smile but really I mean it bravado of Tupelo Elvis, ’68 Elvis, Aloha Elvis, DEA Elvis, Elvis in sequins and capes, hands clasped behind the back, no dancing, no moving, just the world’s biggest mouth…you have been saved. All three of those albums saved me. Oasis.

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