Meaning of Wonderwall by Oasis



The Meaning and Legacy of Oasis’ “Wonderwall”

Oasis is one of the most iconic British rock bands of the 90s, and their song “Wonderwall” is a timeless anthem that has captivated millions of listeners for over two decades. But what is the meaning behind this song, and why has it become such a cultural phenomenon? In this blog post, I will explore the artist’s perspective, the listeners’ interpretations, and the historical and societal context that influenced the song. I will also analyze the lyrics and the music of the song, and discuss its impact and influence on the music industry and pop culture.

The Artist’s Perspective

Oasis’ lead guitarist and primary songwriter Noel Gallagher is the author of “Wonderwall”. He said that he wrote the song in 20 minutes, inspired by his then-girlfriend Meg Mathews. However, after their divorce in 2001, he changed his story and said that the song was about “an imaginary friend who’s gonna come and save you from yourself”. He also said that the title was taken from George Harrison’s solo album Wonderwall Music, which was the soundtrack for a 1968 film called Wonderwall.

The song was released as the fourth single from Oasis’ second studio album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? on October 30, 1995. It was a huge success, topping the charts in Australia and New Zealand, and reaching the top 10 in 13 other countries, including the US and Canada. It also became Oasis’ only song to reach number one on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart5. The song was certified septuplet platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The song features Noel on acoustic guitar, Liam Gallagher on lead vocals, Paul Arthurs on electric guitar, Alan White on drums, and Paul Weller on backing vocals and lead guitar during the outro. The song also includes a cello section arranged by Nick Ingman. Wonderwall was produced by Noel and Owen Morris, who used a technique called “brickwalling” to intensify the sound of the song.

The Listeners’ Interpretations

“Wonderwall” is a song that has resonated with many listeners who have found different meanings and messages in it. Some have interpreted it as a love song, expressing devotion and admiration for someone special. Some have seen it as a friendship song, offering support and comfort to someone in need. Some have related it to their own personal struggles, finding hope and inspiration in it. Some have simply enjoyed it as a catchy and memorable tune.

The word “wonderwall” itself is never used in the lyrics, but it has been defined as “the person you constantly find yourself thinking about” or “a protective barrier”. The chorus of the song repeats the lines “Maybe you’re gonna be the one that saves me / And after all / You’re my wonderwall”, suggesting that the narrator is looking for someone who can rescue him from his problems or loneliness. The verses of the song describe how the narrator feels about this person, using phrases like “I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now” or “There are many things that I would like to say to you but I don’t know how”.

The Historical and Societal Context

“Wonderwall” came at a time when Oasis was at the peak of their popularity and fame, leading the Britpop movement that dominated the UK music scene in the mid-90s. Britpop was a genre that combined elements of British rock, pop, and alternative music, often influenced by bands like The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, and The Smiths. Britpop bands like Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Suede, and others competed for chart positions, media attention, and fan loyalty. Britpop also reflected a sense of national pride and identity in Britain, especially after the Conservative Party lost power to Labour Party in 1997.

“Wonderwall” was one of the songs that defined Britpop and its cultural impact. It was widely played on radio stations, TV shows, movies, commercials, and sporting events. It was also performed at various concerts and festivals, such as Glastonbury in 199513 or Knebworth in 1996, where Oasis played to over 250,000 people. It was also used in various campaigns and causes, such as Comic Relief in 1997 or Live 8 in 2005.

The Lyrics Analysis

The lyrics of “Wonderwall” are divided into four sections: the intro, the verses, the chorus, and the outro. Each section conveys a different aspect of the song’s theme.

The intro sets the tone and the mood of the song. It starts with the line “Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you”, which implies that something important or decisive is going to happen. It then continues with the line “By now you should’ve somehow realized what you gotta do”, which suggests that the narrator has a plan or a goal in mind. It then ends with the line “I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now”, which reveals the narrator’s feelings for someone.

The verses provide details and examples of the narrator’s feelings. The first verse talks about how the narrator’s love interest has lost their passion or motivation, using the metaphor of “the fire in your heart is out”. The second verse talks about how the narrator has heard rumors or doubts about their relationship, using the expression “the word is on the street”. The third verse talks about how the narrator’s love interest has failed to achieve their dreams or expectations, using the phrase “they’ll never throw it back to you”.

The chorus summarizes and reinforces the narrator’s feelings. It repeats the line “Maybe you’re gonna be the one that saves me”, which expresses hope and optimism. It then repeats the line “And after all / You’re my wonderwall”, which expresses gratitude and affection. It then repeats the line “Don’t look back in anger, I heard you say”, which expresses forgiveness and peace.

The outro expands and emphasizes the narrator’s feelings. It repeats the chorus twice, but adds some variations. The first time, it adds the word “I said” before “maybe”, which shows hesitation or uncertainty. The second time, it adds the word “that” before “saves me”, which shows emphasis or certainty. It then ends with a fade-out of Liam’s vocals and Paul Weller’s guitar solo, which creates a sense of closure or resolution.

“Wonderwall” is a song that has made a lasting impact on music, culture, and society. It is a song that has inspired and empowered millions of people to be themselves and to love themselves. It is a song that has challenged and changed the way people think and act towards love and life. Not only that, but it is a song that has shown that being someone’s wonderwall is not a curse, but a blessing.

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