This song always reminds me of my senior year of high school. I had a radio clock that I used as my alarm. At 6:45 A.M. when the alarm went off, “Around the World” almost always seemed to be the song that came blasting out of the tiny speaker to wake me up. The loud, distorted bass from Flea that opens the song is quite unnerving when you’re half-asleep let me tell you.
Though quite popular upon its release, “Around the World” seems to be one of the forgotten singles from Californication. You mostly hear “Scar Tissue”, “Otherside” and the title track on ‘90s oriented stations. It’s a shame, because “Around the World” is probably one of their better singles from that period. It’s certainly better than “Otherside” and I get kind of tired of hearing “Scar Tissue”.
“Around the World” is also a perfect showcase for John Frusciante’s preference for restraint. He could have ended the song with a wild solo, but instead chose a repeated circular rhythm. Bonus points to Anthony Kiedis using non-sense lyrics as a melody line in the third chorus.
Noel Gallagher has described “Champagne Supernova” as the most psychedelic track that Oasis ever recorded. At an epic 7 minutes in length, watery beginning and drug-induced lyrics, that’s most certainly true.
At times, “Champagne Supernova” has been accused of having dumb lyrics, particularly “faster than a cannonball”. In the hands of Liam Gallagher, it hardly matters. He manages to elevate the mundane words and make them sound transcendent. This is especially true when the chorus is introduced in a quieter setting in the beginning. When he delivers the song’s most famous line – “where were you when we were getting high” – there’s a hint of nostalgia. In lesser hands, the lyric could come off as accusing, but Liam is smart enough come off as sympathetic and longing. As the song drifts into closing and Liam repeats, “we were getting high” over and over again, getting stoned has never sounded quiet so romantic.
If “Champagne Supernova” does have a flaw though, it’s the mixing. Oasis were well-known for adding layers of guitar tracks to their record, but during “Supernova’s” guitar solo, it’s almost too loud making it virtually impossible to hear the individual players. But all’s forgiven when the song reaches it glorious ending.
A huge chunk of me really wants to hate this song. Really hate it. It’s so light-weight, fluffy and sincere. It doesn’t help that it has been used in a number of terrible movies including Fever Pitch, The Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap, and So I Married an Axe Murderer. And then there’s the Sixpence None the Richer version.
Really, what does it have going for it?
Despite my grumblings it’s a perfect pop song. It’s got an inescapable melody and some of the best Roger McGuin rip-off chords this side of Peter Buck. It does what it’s supposed to and nothing more. And sometimes, that’s all you really need.
So, yeah it’s pretty great after-all.
By all rights “The Way” shouldn’t work – there’s too many classic rock influences all jammed into one song. But it’s so catchy, and so good. The theme of the song is pure Springsteen – traveling and driving to get away, without ever really knowing your destination. Jesus, it even unfolds like a story just like “The River”. The organ that plays in the beginning of the song is early 60’s garage rock, and the band clearly have that in mind with their nicely fitted suits, and well groomed side-burns as seen in the video. And when the guitars finally kick in – it’s The Edge’s delay pedal they’ve found. This song is destined for a higher calling, and the chorus haven’t even arrived yet! The harmonies, well try as Fastball may, they’re certainly not the Beach Boys. But does it matter at this point?
As the drummer bops his head just like Ringo as he plays, you’re smiling too. And as if you think Fastball has gone too far cramming the entire history of rock into one singular song – they release not one, but TWO rockabilly style solos so perfect that they made Brian Setzer all but disappear!
For all of these reasons, “The Way” earns a spot for one for one of the best single of the 90s.