Where Did It All Go Wrong?
When it comes to general consensus regarding Oasis, there is near unanimous agreement that their first two albums are masterpieces. After that, it is not so simple. Be Here Now isn’t the most respected album in music history (I absolutely love it as stated in my review of the album) but from my time browsing Oasis message boards and reading various articles about the band, I would say most fans like/love Be Here Now. The other thing the majority will agree on is that the 2nd half of Oasis’ existence (although others might say last two thirds, as I said before it’s not so simple) didn’t reach the standards of their earlier days. With the final four albums, all of them have their defenders and detractors. Fans like myself will never stop debating where it went wrong, at what times did things go right, what tracks should have been removed from the albums and replaced with b-sides, etc.
So where do I stand with Standing On the Shoulder of Giants? Well for a long time I was dismissive of this album. Aside from the first three songs, I found the remaining tracks uninteresting and forgettable. However, in retrospect, I can contribute this to the first three albums being so incredible, Standing On the Shoulder of Giants didn’t stand a chance by comparison (also I feel they shouldn’t have dropped their classic logo, the old one was so much more welcoming). It was only after milking 90’s Oasis for every second of listening pleasure, that I came to revise my opinion of Standing On the Shoulder of Giants. This is not an album full of arena rockers, rather much of it is more slow-paced and mellow than the previous Oasis albums.
Standing On the Shoulder of Giants is, for the most part, a dark record; what happened to my happy go lucky Oasis? Instead we get an album in which the opening song is called F**kin’ In the Bushes and begins with a sound sample of some thuggish sounding bloke shouting “We put this festival on you bastards, with a lot of love we worked one year for you pigs and you wanna break our walls down and you wanna destroy it? Well, go to hell!” (taken from the documentary Message to Love). Or take Gas Panic!, likely Oasis’ darkest song (with a title reminiscent of a certain 20th-century atrocity). Standing On the Shoulder of Giants is very much the opposite of Be Here Now, whereas that album captured the sound of a band on top of the world, this captures the sound of a band fallen on hard times and trying it’s best to get by and I mean that as a good thing; there is a sense of desperation present throughout the album. At this point in the band’s history, they could only go one of two directions – disband or reinvent themselves. Especially considering the Brit-pop era had now come to an end. Resulting in an album which was the most experimental Oasis ever got (with a very distinctive industrial like sound not present in any other Oasis album).
Even before I came to reappraise Standing On the Shoulder of Giants, Who Feels Love? was already one of my favourite Oasis songs – such a spiritual and psychedelic tune. While I’m not a spiritual person, when listening to this song it really does feel like as the song describes, “My spirit has been purified”. However, I hate Sunday Morning Call. I wouldn’t even bother dwelling on it as every artist is inevitability going to have some bad songs but this was a freakin’ single and it’s one of the most dreary and boring songs Oasis ever created. I can agree with Noel on this one; the song was even made a hidden track on the Oasis singles collection Time Flies, good move. Standing On the Shoulder of Giants is not my favourite Oasis album nor it ever will be but it is a good album and it deserves to be reappraised.
Standing On the Shoulder of Giants Era B-Sides and Rarities
These songs are some of Oasis’ most mellow tracks so no air-guitaring in front of the mirror (except for Full On) but they are a good selection of songs. Look at them as Oasis’ chill out songs.