Don’t Believe The Truth (2005)

It’s Not Getting Better (Man!!)

I find Don’t Believe The Truth to be on par with Heathen Chemistry, half is great and the other half is filler. The album does benefit from a fresh sound with the band’s then-new drummer Zak Starkey which is easily apparent but it’s not enough to save the album from being hampered with filler songs. Turn  Up The Sun is the weakest opener on an Oasis album but is still very good. However, the Dylan-esque Mucky Fingers offers a great change of pace among Oasis songs. Oasis aren’t the first band I think of when it comes to experimentation but songs like this do show they had their experimental moments. Lyla and The Importance Of Being Idle are deservedly classic Oasis and can rank among the band’s best work but my favourite song on the album is Let There Be Love. A song with what at first appear to be very simple lyrics is possibly the most socially consciousness song the band ever created.

Love Like A Bomb and The Meaning of Soul feel like incomplete songs to me, a shame since it feels like they are the basis for great songs. Guess God Thinks I’m Abel, Part Of The Queue and A Bell Will Ring fall into the annals of mediocrity that I have listen to them again to even remind myself what they sound like. So yes, another patchy album but the songs which succeed are excellent.

Don’t Believe The Truth Era B-Sides and Rarities

As with the Heathen Chemistry B-sides, I was hoping the B-sides for the Don’t Believe the Truth would partially make up for the patchy album; unfortunately, this is not the case. These b-sides are some of most boring songs in the Oasis catalog and when listening to all of them at once they feel like the same song over and over. The only song which thought was slightly good is Sittin’ Here In Silence (On My Own) but only just. Although at the time this album was hailed as Oasis return to form, taking into account both the album and the b-sides I feel this period was the band at its most uninspired.

Heathen Chemistry (2002)

Half the Album Away

Albums can be a funny thing, as in there exist albums I’d give an average rating yet I would listen to again and again. Heathen Chemistry is one such record, an album of two halves, half excellent and half mediocre. Do I look at the album in anger that half of it is a chore to listen to but at the same time five of the album’s songs on their own have given me many hours of music listening bliss.

On the good side; Stop Crying Your Heart Out captures the same unashamedly weepiness of the likes of Wonderwall and Don’t Go Away, while the beauty that is Songbird shows of Oasis’ more tender side. I always remember a comment Liam made back in the 90’s in relation to some of the band’s downbeat b-sides that he was a “rock ‘n’ roller” and didn’t want to play that “wimpy shit”, yet the only two singles he ever penned are two of Oasis’ most tender songs. Little by Little is one of the band’s cheesiest songs, although the lyrics of both this and Stop Crying Your Heart Out indicate Oasis where aware of their falling popularity (“fading like the stars we wish to be”, “’Cause all of the stars are fading away”).

As for the filler half of the album, there is no Oasis song I find obnoxious or unpleasant to listen to; their weak songs are just really dull. I’ll admit I haven’t even listened to the six-minute track Born On A Different Cloud in its entirety. A Quick Peep feels like the most pointless Oasis song, a short, overly simple musical interlude which contributes nothing. I also don’t like the album cover; I dislike that sickly green effect. Still, that’s half a great album which I listen to death. Curse you Oasis! I’m a slave to anything with your name on it.

 

Heathen Chemistry Era B-Sides and Rarities

Well, I’m shocked; these are some ace B-sides! Naturally, when listening to them for the first time my instant reaction is: why where these not the album!? Well, I’ve come up with three possible reasons as to why:

-The artist is often wrong about their own work and isn’t aware of the quality of these songs.

-The band is fully aware these songs are better than much of the tracks on the album and make them B-sides in order to keep the B-side tradition alive and possibly as a way of rewarding loyal fans.

-Or I’m just alone on this one and only I think these songs are good/great.

For me, the undeniable centerpiece of these B-sides is (You’ve Got) the Heart of a Star. This song holds the distinction of being the last Oasis song I discovered which blew me away. This is also one of the cheesiest songs Oasis ever made but cheesy in the best possible way, it’s such a swoon inducingly beautiful song; my favourite post-90’s Oasis song, as well as one of favourite Oasis songs in general. I just have to say it again, “why was this song not on the album?!” instead of a snooze fest like Born On A Different Cloud. The next big stand out is Thank For You Good Times. If you can ignore the somewhat ironic title as Oasis have caused some disparaging times during this, their lackluster period, it’s still a terrific mood lifter, just what you need when you listen to Ider’s Dream and Just Getting Older (sort of like the anti Stay Young).

Even if these songs where on Heathen Chemistry in place of that album’s filler tracks, it still wouldn’t be up to the standard of the first three albums (then again few albums are) but would make it an excellent record. Perhaps genius never really left Oasis, maybe just the ability to choose a good album track listing.

Standing On the Shoulder of Giants (2000)

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.