OTR, Take 28: Oasis - Definitely Maybe

Here's a link to today's album if you'd like to listen as you read.

I launched Seed Counsel on Monday. It's not "ready" and certainly isn't remotely near finished, but it was time. You see, I'm looking to build Seed Counsel on the lean model, getting an minimum viable product out into the world and working with customers to rapidly iterate the product into something they really want.

While this is a sensible way to build — there's little chance I would simply be able to divine exactly what it is that actual businesses want and would use simply by thinking really hard — it's also a scary way to build. It involves getting a product kinda sorta up and running, going to your target market, and saying, "Hey guys! This isn't done yet, but I think it'll be valuable to you. Would you come pay me some money and help me build it?"

So when I drafted the launch post for LinkedIn (I even recorded a video...), I was filled with trepidation. I thought I had a good idea and a product that would provide a lot of value to founders and small business owners — but you never really do know until you let it out into the world. To say that I am humbled by the response would be a lie (I'm not humble 😅), but I am indeed surprised and quite chuffed by the reaction to the announcement.

Still learning the new newsletter platform, and don't know how to make images smaller.

Aside from the seven attorneys who DM'd me to tell me that I was making a huge mistake offering unlimited calls with members without charging for each call (your concerns are noted, and I will happily take your client's calls too!), there's been a sort of "oh, that makes so much sense!" response to Seed Counsel's model.

Five companies have signed up in the first week (way more than I expected) and I have meetings with a bunch more on the books for next week. It's an amazing feeling for all of it to come together, and I couldn't have gotten this far without a lot people helping along the way, many of whom subscribe to On the Record.

So: thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

When I woke up this morning, I was planning on spinning The National's new record, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, but it just doesn't match my mood this morning. It's probably just as well, as The National's records always take repeated listens to really sink in for me. They're my favorite band, but every single album was initially disappointing. I got into them just before Aligator was released. It took two months for it to hit me. Boxer came out the spring of my 1L year and the first time I listened to it, I was convinced they'd lost the plot. Same story for all 9 of their albums. So it's probably too early to write competently about it; I'm still trying to wrap my head around Taylor Swift featuring on a National album...

Instead, I somewhat unconsciously reached for Definitely Maybe.

RIP Burt Bacharach, who you can see in the bottom left of the album cover.

I have declarations of intent and bursting onto the scene on my mind this week, and man, very few bands show up out of seemingly nowhere like Oasis did with Definitely Maybe. There may be debut records as good as Definitely Maybe, but there's not a single one that's better. I mean, good lord, this was their debut single:

There's something elemental about "Supersonic" — from Tony McCarrol's caveman drumming (which would get him booted from the band before (What's the Story) Morning Glory) to the first sighting of Liam's sneer to the nonsensical lyrics that make perfect sense. The was a band that knew exactly how great it wanted to be.

The first song on the album is a call to arms, a mission statement, and a subtle acknowledgement of just how far from making it Noel felt in his council flat in Burnage: "Tonight I'm a rock 'n' roll star." There was an arrogance to the Gallagher brothers that was both revolting and utterly compelling. Every once in a while, I still listen to Wibbling Rivalry for the sheer absurdity of it: Liam wanting to be the biggest band in the world because it's cool and Noel wanting to be the biggest band in the world because of the music.

But behind it all was an album of just great fucking tunes. Rawer than Morning Glory, Denifinely Maybe is Oasis in their full Sex Beatles phase: a pure mix of punk (see: "Bring it on Down") and pop (see: "Live Forever"). For the sheer fun of revisiting the music of these songs, I recorded a quick one-take, no bass, and shitty mix version of a song on the album, first in an entirely different style before kicking into something more akin to the Oasis version. How quickly can you spot what track it is?

Because I've had launches and debuts on the mind thanks to Seed Counsel this week, I think I was naturally drawn to Definitely Maybe this morning, but as I've been writing, I've realized what kind of mental game I've been playing with myself.

The National are a better correlary to Seed Counsel and my journey. You see, the National released two albums (and the best EP I've ever heard) before they had a mini-breakthrough with Aligator. Those first two albums have moments, but they're not fully formed: the band was discovering their sound and Matt was finding his voice. After Aligator, Boxer brought them some critical success, High Violet found a larger audience, and Trouble Will Find Me solidified them as a major force in indie rock — fourteen years after the band formed.

But here's the mindfuck I've been playing on myself: Oasis didn't appear out of nowhere. Noel had been slogging away as a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets for years. There are a ton of early Oasis songs (or Rain, as they were originally named) that aren't as fully developed as the tracks on Definitely Maybe. Notice how Liam sounds more like Ian Brown of the Stone Roses than he sounds like Liam f'ing Gallagher?

The truth is there's always a long gestation to anything worthwhile, even if we often try very hard to keep the nascent versions hidden (even from ourselves). This is one of the things I'm trying to bring into light with Pennhollow: I'm writing the Shitty First Draft in public because we generally only see finished novels. As though they come fully formed, birthed as Athena from Zeus's head.

But that's just not the case. Anything that appears effortless, as "Slide Away" does, took years and years of "Must be the Music" and "Cloudburst" output.

Isn't it better for us to own the apprenticeship years? Those years allowed us to build the muscles that empower us to do the things we're now proud of — and we do those coming up behind us a disservice to pretend it was easy. It's the equivalent of pulling up the ladder after we've climbed up.

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