Oasis – 'Time Flies... 1994 – 2009'
Now I am not an Oasis fan – at least not in the diehard sense – and I’ve never seen them live. Although I did get within an hour or so of seeing them at the Rock en Seine festival 2009, when the organisers made the announcement that there had been a big bust-up backstage and Oasis was no longer. Cue Madness for their second (identical) set of the day – from the sublime to the ridiculous...
In fact, maybe that should have been the title of this collection of all the Oasis singles, plus videos of the singles and assorted live performances. All of these do indeed fall everywhere from sublime to ridiculous, and yet…Whenever I feel homesick I listen to Oasis – not just for the sheer Englishness of the songs – multilayered production, Beatles-esque melodies, simple stories - but also for the images they conjure up of Tony Blair, Cool Britannia, shaven heads, bare chests, beer glasses, football and all things quintessentially English.
As for the music itself, well as I say, there’s good and bad. Oasis singles follow practically the same format: intro, verse (or half a verse), chorus (anthemic), verse, chorus, bridge (instrumental, sometimes with singing or guitar solo), chorus, outro (lengthy with an extra bit at the end). So they usually run well over four minutes – a formula that has certainly been successful.
During my brief appearance at university, my tutor once lectured me about how Harold Pinter wrote plays with the express intent of making money and that his obscurity was a deliberate ploy to hook the intelligentsia. He had a point, and Noel Gallagher is probably therefore the Harold Pinter of songwriting. He makes no secret of the fact that making money is the root of his motivation but that’s not to say he lacks talent. Just that often it’s all too calculating, and the Beatles references are too obvious and the sentiment is too cloying. But not always...
Leaving aside the mighty 'Wonderwall' - which is, for various reasons, forever linked to 1996 for me - I also genuinely love 'Supersonic' and its stunning naivety, 'The Hindu Times' (though I don’t find it as incredible as Noel that it really is the name of an actual newspaper), 'The Importance Of Being Idle' with its terrific vocal performance, 'D’You Know What I Mean' (best of the tribal anthems), and even 'The Shock Of The Lightning' which showed Oasis still going strong right to the end.
There have been some truly great singles across fifteen years, but this collection is so much more than that. 'Time Flies... 1994 - 2009' is an archive of all that was good and bad about the band, the times and the music, and it’s never less than compelling. Just watch the UK video for 'Supersonic' immediately followed by the video of 'Slide Away' live at the iTunes festival – then ask yourself if you really want to be a Rock and Roll Star....
STREAM: Oasis - Wonderwall
DOWNLOAD: Oasis vs Two Door Cinema Club - Wonderwall You Know (Alone Mix)
'Time Flies... 1994-2009' can be bought in several formats from Recordstore.co.uk.
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