Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul (2008)

The last Oasis album seems prophetic. Surprisingly for the rock group, there seems to be a big air of sadness and melancholy on this recording. This is reflected in the main singles. From all sides of it, Noel and Liam weren’t getting along either.

The music, therefore, is a mixed bag. It should have been a lot stronger an album. It is not. However, without further delay, let’s dive into the album itself.

The first song, Bag It Up, is obviously a drug referenced title. It shows off surreal lyrics, which hold up the theme of the album. Liam’s voice has seen much better days, but the harmonies on this one are fantastic regardless. Apparently, Liam and Noel have their heebie-jeebies in a little bag, if that is clear.

The follow up The Turning follows with a punchy drum beat and surrealistic psychedelic instrumentation. The choir backing vocals in the chorus are not different to that on the previous album in Oasis’s career Standing On The Shoulder of Giants, but it’s okay but an unsatisfying listen. One feels that Oasis could have done better here.

Waiting For The Rapture follows and Noel rambles on a bit here. It’s nothing special and could be bettered in terms of musicality. One can’t help but think that Noel was directly inspired by some later era material by The Beatles. It’s okay but as mentioned, could be bettered.

The Shock of the Lightning is the best song from this album. It sounds so life inspired and upbeat that it doesn’t really seem part of the album itself. But it’s a great listen, and proof that Noel Gallagher could still make great music. “Love is a litany, a magical mystery,” Mint. There’s a drum solo in it too.

The Liam Gallagher penned I’m Outta Time is rather depressing. It could have and should have, been more upbeat. But it’s not. Still, it’s a good listen, when the mood provides. It’s directly inspired by John Lennon and samples an interview which has John Lennon speaking. It’s okay, just very un-Oasis and melancholy, which is not what Oasis were about.

The following piece (Get Off Your) High Horse Lady is pure rubbish. A moaning vocal, repetitive lyrics and a pseudo-shuffle groove does nothing to lift this piece. It’s great when it’s finished, that’s the best bit about it. The sound of footsteps on gravel by a beachside at the end is also unnecessary.

Falling Down is a much better effort, but still, it’s depressing sounding. Still, it’s a good listen and well-structured song. Noel’s singing is fantastic here, he was well and truly ready for his next step – his solo career. But that’s another story. The song here is good though.

To Be Where There’s Life is a punchy and groovetastic song with some overt Indian influences in it. It’s a very good listen, not dissimilar in many respects to Who Feels Love? by Oasis as well. The only problem is that it is not as good as Who Feels Love? but still, it’s worth your time.

The Fender Telecaster driven piece Ain’t Got Nothin’ sounds much like a jam more than anything, but it’s okay. It’s got some of the old Oasis swagger about it but seems much like the rest of the album: hit and miss. It’s an okay listen nonetheless. It’s nice and short though, mind you.

The follow up The Nature Of Reality begins with some random guitar parts before launching into a beatastic piece with more surreal lyrics. It ponders the existence of life, but there could have been a better musical setting for it. It rocks well though.

Soldier On finishes the album on a bad note. It drags on from the word go, and there’s nothing great or special about it.

This, sadly, was the last Oasis album. After Noel Gallagher left Oasis in 2009, the group began a war with each other. Most picked a side between the Gallagher brothers Noel or Liam, but to do so seems illogical. Both were – and are, great musicians. This was their last joint effort before the chaos to be unleashed later on.

6/10

Oasis – Heathen Chemistry (2002)

Before we begin, this album is very ordinary. In fact, it’s terrible.

Oasis was in a creative rut at the time. Noel Gallagher had some bad moments on the previous two albums and was totally uninspired musically as a result. The songwriting duties, therefore, were divided now amongst the other group members. Liam Gallagher, once deemed a great singer of his generation, was unable to sing properly after years of damaging his voice doing his slouching and hands-behind-the-back pose onstage. The new guys on bass and second guitar Andy Bell and Gem Archer contributed little of worth. And the once mighty and powerful drummer Alan White had lost interest in drumming for Oasis completely. He now couldn’t even keep time.

This was a sad state of affairs for Oasis. The ageing rock group still could not get their act together. Sony even threatened to drop them after the poor commercial performance of Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants. Prompted by this, Oasis went back to the studio and released this awful rubbish in 2002. It changed nothing and added more problems to the fan base of Oasis, who by this point, had stopped listening anyway to their newer work.

Still, it has a few good moments, but not great ones in general.

The Hindu Times begins this recording, and it sounds terrible. Ironically, it is one of the better songs on the record and made it to #1 on the UK singles charts. Liam sounds awful here, with his voice showing considerable age. Nice try though.

Force Of Nature is even worse. It is sung by Noel Gallagher but lacks any magic or listening desire to the album. The chorus is awful, as Noel rants in a wannabe country way about his stash of weed being smoked. Unbelievable.

The following piece is okay. Hung In A Bad Place is a straightforward rock song which sounds good but lacks energy. Liam sneers through this piece, but one can’t help but wish for him to fix his singing voice.  It’s okay nonetheless.

After that, quite a good song arrives for listening on the album. Stop Crying Your Heart Out is a far better effort by the group, and is really touching. Liam Gallagher gives it his best here, but the drums are mixed out. Noel obviously lacked faith in Alan White’s drumming skills at the time.

Songbird is not really good, despite the fact it is short. In fact, the length is all that is really good about it. Liam Gallagher wrote this one about his then-girlfriend but it’s a forgettable Oasis piece.

Little By Little is actually really quite good. Noel sings this one, and there are some amazing lyrics such as “True perfection has to be imperfect. I know that sounds foolish, but it’s true.” It is a good listen amongst all the other mainly poor tracks.

The instrumental A Quick Peep is rather forgettable. Nothing is great about this, despite the fact it features a 1960s organ keyboard sort of sound. Worth skipping, it’s not good.

Next up we have (Probably) All In The Mind, a really ordinary piece. They probably were high recording this one. It’s so dull. Not exactly a great statement to make.

She Is Love is a pathetic excuse for a song. It’s soppy, boring and lacks anything really interesting about it. Why Noel did not make good music on this album is a mystery to everyone involved. It’s about his current wife.

Born On A Different Cloud is lame. Liam steals some lyrics from John Lennon and tries to sound wise as a person. It’s not a good idea for him, he is anything but wise as a person. It’s just pretentious drivel and goes over six minutes. Not necessary here.

The album finishes off with the short and okay Better Man. That is if you made it this far along. Like Hung In A Bad Place, it sounds similar and lacks energy. We then endure silence for nearly half an hour, before launching into the low grade instrumental The Cage. That’s not worth your time, either.

This album generated very little interest in what Oasis were doing at the time. Obviously, the band recognised it was a poor effort as well, and lifted their game for Don’t Believe The Truth. The sad fact is that this album is actually worse than the worst moments of Be Here Now and Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants. Noel Gallagher shouldn’t be proud of this, it’s Oasis’s worst album by far.

4/10

Oasis – Time Flies… 1994-2009 (2010)

Oasis were the best band of the 1990s. There, of course, was always friction between Noel Gallagher and his brother Liam on everything Oasis did. This sadly brewed tensions that by 2009, Noel had enough of. After a backstage incident of violence and Liam Gallagher breaking one of Noel’s guitars during an argument, Noel left Oasis and released a press statement shortly afterwards saying so. The band millions were familiar with had now gone.

But the flip side of the band breaking up was this album. It’s a fantastic representation of what Oasis were from start to finish. It includes songs from every album, as where Stop The Clocks ignored Be Here Now totally and Oasis had not yet recorded Dig Out Your Soul. This album is quite possibly the best starting point for the British rock band. It’s got a variety of great songs galore.

It’s a double disc album. Every album is covered here, and instead focusing on B-sides and rarities like Stop The Clocks did, it focuses on the main tracks of interest. Which is possibly why this album is just as essential as a good album by The Beatles. It also features Lord Don’t Slow Me Down and Whatever for the first real exposure of two very good songs indeed. The former is a fantastic acoustic based rant which sounds like it should have been on Don’t Believe The Truth. The latter is orchestral Oasis pop at its finest.

Is there a weakness with this album? Yes. Too much of the bad quality Oasis album Heathen Chemistry is here. Even so, it is good to balance out some of the stunning A-side single type songs with more variable and lesser-known songs in that respect.

Apart from that specific weakness, everything you love about Oasis is here. It’s a great compilation and shows you how wonderful the band and their music was. Own a copy today. After Oasis, Noel began a successful solo career in Noel Gallagher And The High Flying Birds. Liam Gallagher and the remaining Oasis members recording some ordinary material under the name Beady Eye which had limited commercial success, before Liam Gallagher began a much more successful solo career.

For those who are real fans, seek out the DVD and extra CDs that came along with this album as well. The DVD is fantastic and features commentary by Noel Gallagher.

Madferit.

9/10

Oasis – Stop The Clocks (2006)

This album marked the beginning of the end of Oasis. Although certain events had occurred since the band formed in 1991 that hindered musical and personal progress in the band, it really started here with their first retrospective compilation. Oasis needed to put this compilation out due to the end of their contract with Sony, so Noel Gallagher obliged and made his own mix of Oasis songs, almost completely disregarding everybody else’s advice. This pointed out that he was unwilling to listen to other people’s advice in general with Oasis’s music, and instead wanted to do his own thing. The new democracy style input in Oasis during the 2000s obviously wasn’t a big issue to the group.

The compilation here is actually really good though. It focuses heavily on the songs from Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? eras with a few additions from other eras. Notably, Noel refused to put any Be Here Now numbers onto the compilation and used the “length” excuse as usual. Which is the only weak point about the compilation, it misses out that era totally which still had some good songs on it. It doesn’t have any songs from Dig Out Your Soul either as that album was not released until 2009.

Strangely enough, there was another compilation a few years after this one, once the band had broken up for good. But it seems to be better than most Oasis albums around, so it is definitely worth checking out. Notably, it is a great compilation for more thinking than dancing sort of Oasis mood. Looking through the compilation, it’s easy to see more single tracks on the double-disc album than anything else. It’s a good way to go about an album if you want to make a compilation that sounds good.

Interestingly enough, the album art was done by The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album artist Peter Blake. It’s also the name of an unreleased Oasis song, which Noel eventually released on his first solo album. Strangely ironic indeed.

After this release, the band made the awful Dig Out Your Soul before calling it quits in the unfortunate incident between Noel and Liam Gallagher. This is a great compilation though, perfect for that thinking mood when you need some Oasis.

9/10

Oasis – The Masterplan (1998)

Noel Gallagher took the downfall of Oasis’s third album Be Here Now not exactly well. Shortly after Be Here Now was released, fans became critical of the sound of the album, and Noel really took the fact that Be Here Now was no Definitely Maybe or (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? to heart. Noel dislikes Be Here Now nowadays and refuses to perform Be Here Now era songs with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. In addition, he refused to add any Be Here Now tracks to the Oasis Stop The Clocks compilation released in 2006.

In a knee-jerk reaction to the negative feedback he received, Noel released this album in 1998. It’s a compilation of B-Sides and rarities from the early Oasis days. It’s a really good listen, proving that Noel Gallagher valued the fans of Oasis more than people realised.

We begin with the strummed chords and Noel singing a demo of Morning Glory before we melt into Acquiesce. This song was so good that it was released as an afterthought single later on in Oasis’s career. It mixes Liam and Noel’s singing wonderfully, and the song itself has a mega riff and soulful meaning. It’s really that good.

The next one is a bit more subtle. Underneath The Sky tells the tale of a wandering traveler. It’s a much weaker song but has some cool lyrics to it: “All he needs in his life is a suitcase, it belongs to a friend of a friend. And as we drink to ourselves we’ll amuse ourselves. Underneath the sky, again.”

Talk Tonight is based on a real-life experience of Noel Gallagher’s which is told in depth in the Definitely Maybe documentary and the Supersonic movie. It’s an ode to a girl who Noel spent some time within the U.S., and who most likely prevented him from suicide. Deep. But it’s a great Noel Gallagher piece with strummed acoustic guitars.

Going Nowhere was originally a Be Here Now b-side. It’s one of only two from the album from Be Here Now, indicating that Noel already disliked Be Here Now intensely. It’s a good piece inspired by Burt Bacharach and is mindblowing and prophetic as Noel Gallagher wrote it in 1990. How unusual, but cool all the same. It’s an orchestral delight.

A good example of the punkier side of Oasis is prevalent in Fade Away. It’s an Oasis classic and just reminds us to be true to ourselves throughout the years. It’s similar in meaning to D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman? which is another song by Oasis, but more popular. It’s fast and nasty sounding, which is cool.

The only real stinker on this album is The Swamp Song. It’s a bad instrumental piece which should not have been included on this album. It is totally unnecessary and takes away from the quality of the compilation itself.

What arrives next is much better. A great cover of I Am The Walrus is here, and although it’s edited for length, it sounds wonderful and a great interpretation of the original song. It’s louder and more punk like. It was a cover piece in Oasis for many years.

Listen Up is a song of mixed emotions. Although it has melancholy all over it with the singing, the repeated refrain about not minding one’s own company is strange for a song like this. Liam recommended for Noel to edit this song for the album, which he did just slightly.

Rockin’ Chair is an excellent and underrated Oasis gem. With acoustic guitars and Alan White’s unique drumming on this, they really could have and should have added this to the (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? album. But they did not, sadly. Still, it is here for your enjoyment.

The famous Half The World Away talks about matters in Noel Gallagher’s personal life. It’s a good piece but seems to lack real meaning behind the song. It’s beautifully done though. It is a must hear song in any case.

The weak (It’s Good) To Be Free arrives and reminds one that time is short on this planet. This song isn’t a bad song, but not as consistent as the others. There is a rather jovial outro on this one, and it’s good to hear regardless.

Stay Young definitely should have been on Be Here Now. Noel didn’t put it on after he replaced it with Magic Pie. Guessing what Noel was like at the time, he probably was taking too many drugs to understand this decision. The result? It’s here, for your enjoyment. It’s a great pop song too.

Headshrinker is another blistering fast pop-punk song. It’s like Oasis on speed meeting The Buzzcocks and singing their own version of The Sex Pistols Bodies. It’s a bit of an odd topic for a song, but it’s short and sharp.

The title track is the last track on the album. The Masterplan is really one of Noel Gallagher’s best ever songs. It starts off with strummed acoustic guitar and carefully placed guitar parts, adding a string section and brass section to boot. It is so good that it surpasses every other song on the album. It’s truly uplifting.

This album is highly recommended for Oasis fans who are sick of hearing Wonderwall everywhere. It’s a good batch of songs for your enjoyment. As Noel Gallagher himself indicated, this really should have been the third Oasis album, not Be Here Now. He was likely correct, the B-sides here by Noel Gallagher and Oasis are very good indeed.

8/10

Oasis – Don’t Believe The Truth (2005)

After the terrible Heathen Chemistry, which was basically polished rubbish, Oasis needed to release good music once again. The once glorious and powerful drummer Alan White left, with Ringo Starr’s son Zac Starkey filling in the role for the time being.

At first, things did not go well recording this album. The group seemed to revisit the experimental nature of Be Here Now and Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants by enlisting the Death In Vegas producer duo to begin the album. It did not work out well, Noel Gallagher knew that the effort could have been better. Instead, he requested Dave Sardy to do the job for the group and began reworking the songs on this album entirely.

The result here is better than anything the group recorded post (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? in terms of overall quality of the songs. It has a concise, punchy sound and the group sounds so far more ahead of their contemporaries for the first time in years. It’s not perfect, sure. But it is good music by Oasis once again.

Turn Up The Sun sets the scene, “I carry a madness, wherever I go. Over the border – and back to the snow.” Liam Gallagher’s voice has not aged very well and that is audible here. But his delivery is fantastic on this song, sneering away in a Definitely Maybe way. A good start to the album.

Mucky Fingers is Noel Gallagher’s take on classic rock. It is a name reminiscent of The Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers and is an almost direct rip-off from The Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For My Man. But it’s passable, not laughable. The harmonica part is amazing sounding.

The next song was a hit from the album. Lyla talks about a girl on a melodic and rather excellent pop piece. Zak Starkey does some superb drum rolls here, particularly in comparison to Alan White’s lackluster performance on Heathen Chemistry. It’s a very good pop song.

There are plenty of love songs on this album. Love Like A Bomb is the most direct, and although Liam sounds like he has developed throat cancer, it is mindblowing. That’s how good this piece is. It is easily stuck inside one’s head for days. Good effort.

The Importance Of Being Idle is a great Noel Gallagher effort, telling the tale of oneself being lazy. It’s an interesting subject matter for the listener to endure and is just so well done here. It sounds like Noel meeting a stomp-style romp. A very nice song.

The Meaning Of Soul once again deals with love based themes and goes for a very short time frame. This is years away from the long song fetishism of Be Here Now, it just fits in nicely with the rest of the recording. A great fast paced song.

The next song, Guess God Thinks I’m Abel deals directly with biblical themes and talks about deep and meaningful love by Liam. This is one of the most serious Oasis songs ever made, although they made plenty of serious songs. It has a semi Chemical Brothers like outro but is just a good song once again.

Modern-day grumbles are here with Noel Gallagher’s Part Of The Queue are here. It’s a weaker song, but even then it’s still okay listening.

Keep The Dream Alive is an epic song, but really lifts you up emotionally into the chorus when it arrives. As an epic song, it’s not long like Be Here Now, nor depressing like Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, nor garbage like Heathen Chemistry. It just fits the bill nicely.

A Bell Will Ring is an optimistic piece written by second guitarist Gem Archer. In fact, although it’s not really overly memorable, it is so very positive it will lift you up into the song as it blasts.

The last song, Let There Be Love is really very good. The Gallagher brothers sing together alternating between different lead vocal roles and it’s a nice piece to close the album.

So, there you have it. Oasis were back at this point and once again, made a decent album for us to enjoy. It really is a shame that the group couldn’t hold it together after 2009, but at least they left this awesome album to enjoy. Don’t Believe The Truth, it’s better than you think it would be. Fans of this album should chase out the studio interviews on YouTube that the group did for this album, a brilliant idea to show the effort behind this, their best later career album.

8/10

Oasis – Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants (2000)

After the hype and expectation that Be Here Now created, the letdown occurred afterward. Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher struggled with coping with the aftermath of what had happened. By 1999, Bonehead and Guigsy left the band within a week of each other doing so. In short, things did not look good. Noel quit hard drugs in 1998 and Liam also had to follow strict rules regarding drug use during the recording of this album. Noel had no choice but to retreat inside himself and began experimenting further with sound more than ever before.

Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants itself was considered even worse than Be Here Now. It some respects, it honestly is. But strangely enough, it was the last album which Liam sang really well on it and that Noel didn’t need assistance with others for songs or musical inspiration. Some of the following Oasis albums were ordinary, to say the least. But this one definitely has its moments.

The lead-off song is Fuckin’ In The Bushes. It sounds rather bad in some parts, despite having a killer riff. It’s not too well thought out but has some even more interesting textures than what Be Here Now offered.

Go Let It Out comes next, and boy! It is a good song. It is upbeat, joyous and positive all in one. “Going leaving this city, gonna drive in and out of town. And you’re coming with me, the right time is always now.” Straight to the point, and great.

Who Feels Love? is a trippy song all right. Given Noel was sober after years of heavy hard drug use, it sounds concise but perhaps ill thought for a psychedelic song. Liam’s voice, although at this point had seen better days, matches the chorus fantastically. A very good song, complete with loads of trippy sounds.

Quite probably the worst Oasis song to make it onto an album, Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is says it all, it’s terrible. It is a direct rip off from The Doors and just sounds off-key totally. One was hoping for something a little bit better at least from Noel, but not this time. Worth skipping if you wish.

Following up is the fairly ordinary song, Little James. I’ll give Liam some credit here, it was his first songwriting attempt. But that says it all too, it is trashy in its nature. It sounds rather depressing and has a load of psychedelic sounds include a 12 string acoustic guitar. Better luck next time guys.

Gas Panic! is a standout tune on the album. It’s super underrated and sounds like paranoia at 4:00AM in the morning, probably more paranoid than anything else ever recorded. It’s an epic song, but unlike the songs on Be Here Now, isn’t overwhelmingly long. Listen to this if you feel lonely.

Where Did It All Go Wrong? is a very depressing song. It would have made better sense to have some of the instrumentation stripped back on this album too. It’s not easy listening to this one, but the guitar solo is great.

The dreary Sunday Morning Call follows and is the equivalent of an Oasis style death march. It is a little more upbeat this song but still, it is the musical equivalent of nothing special. It could have been shortened at least.

The next song I Can See A Liar is another contender for worst Oasis song ever recorded but harks back to the days of Definitely Maybe at least. It falls flat. It’s a terrible song and easily could have been junked in retrospect.

Roll It Over closes the album, and although seems like nothing special, it’s actually quite a good song. There are some beautiful guitar parts throughout and a Pink Floyd like atmosphere here. Liam sings wonderfully, and the album comes to a close.

Unlike many other low key albums out there, this one actually makes the tough times more bearable. It’s in no way a classic album, but many an Oasis fan and people who are going through a rough patch should give this a listen. Otherwise, you may as well crank up Wonderwall over and over. It’s by no means perfect but in some ways, it is still listenable.

7/10