Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekend Music Roundup (Oasis Edition)


"It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer." A Statement from Noel 8-28-09

Given the above statement, I thought I'd dedicate this weekend's music post to one of my favorite bands. Sure, I know it hasn't been in vogue to like Oasis for some years, but I could really care less. Oasis always has and always will be a giant in my eyes. Nearly twenty years of consistently great rock music is no small accomplishment. You'd be hard pressed to name a band with the kind of catalog they produced. If this is really the end, it's a sad day. Though, given the history of the band, I remain highly doubtful that this is truly  the end. Regardless, it's a good time to give The Fab Five a retrospective.

This bootleg of the early Oasis is a definite must-have for fans. In addition to early versions of classics, there's quite a few unreleased tracks on here worth having. Colour My Life is my personal favorite, a Stone Roses-esque piece of beauty. Take Me and See the Sun are also tops. 

The breakout debut album the changed the musical landscape and sold a bazillion copies in the UK but barely made a whimper in the U.S. thanks for the American lust for crap like Bush at the time. But this album was a big deal amongst indie kids in the U.S. and Oasis were huge in New York, where I was living at the time. I remember my friend Carrie buying this album and us basically sitting around exactly like the cover photo and listening to it. There's just something about this album that captured a time and mood of a great many people. 

The behemoth second album which actually did crack the States thanks to one of the best singles of all time. This album, even more than the first, nailed the who cares vibe of the mid-90's. The future didn't matter, the past was all over anyway, so just roll with it. Every track is an anthem. One of the best albums of all time in my opinion.

I have nearly the complete Oasis singles collection, but am just including the essentials here. This US edition of the Wonderwall single is blazing. All four B-sides rank high on the Oasis best-song chart: Round Are Way, Talk Tonight, Rocking Chair, and I Am the Walrus (this live version of the Beatles song kills).

The Don't Look Back In Anger single features a cover of Cum On Feel the Noize that's brilliant. Step Out is also a worthwhile tune.

The first single released for the highly anticipated third album was D'You Know What I Mean. This epic single only served to make Be Here Now even more highly anticipated. The song is lyrically one of the band's more compelling and it upped the anthem threshold from the previous album. B-Sides Angel Child and a cover of Bowie's Heroes did little to stem the mouth watering.

I was one of the millions to be there now on August 21, 1997 (the release date appears 2x on the album art). This was the album that was going to be the biggest album of all time and then just wasn't. Many people complain about it being bloated (including Noel who famously claimed it was the sound of five guys on coke not giving a fuck). And yes, there's a lot of long drawn guitar shredding and the All Around the World Reprise (two additional minutes of song already nine minutes long) is highly unnecessary, but in all this album is very sound. Listening to it 12 years on, it's clear that this is a casualty of expectations that no one could live up to. It's still a great album.

After three years off, and nearly forgotten in the States, Oasis released this mess. Easily their worst album, but not totally unlistenable. Gas Panic is a stand out track and I really love Little James, Liam's first penned song to make it on a record. 

Live albums by definition are never must haves in my book unless there is something on there that is new. Well, this one has it. A double disc of classics, plus covers of Neil Young's Hey, Hey, My, My and My, My, Hey, Hey and Beatles' Helter Skelter make this a must-have.

Heathen Chemistry was one of the biggest surprises for me in 2002. After Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, I admit, my fascination with Oasis had faded. I didn't have much faith in this album, but was compelled to pick it up mostly because of the infusion of Gem Archer and Andy Bell into the band. Suddenly, Oasis was a supergroup of talent. This album blew me away. Songbird in my opinion is the second best Oasis song ever recorded and one of the best love songs ever written. In fact, all three Liam penned songs on this album are brilliant and the three best tracks on there. This is their Rubber Soul. Oasis were back. 

This is the one that marked them as officially back in the critics' opinions. The music rags gushed over the Velvet Underground/ Lou Reed sound (personally, the connection is still a little lost on me). I enjoyed this album, but still think the one before is better. Still, some great tunes here. And a nice departure from the traditional Oasis sound. 

Last year's Dig Out Your Soul saw the new line-up hit their stride with the album everyone wanted Be Here Now to sound like. A fabulous record, period.

No Oasis retrospective would be complete without talking a little bit about the Beatles comparison that has always followed them. Oddly, they sound the least like the Beatles when they are coving the Beatles. This bootleg gathers together a collection of their covers. I'm Only Sleeping and an acoustic version Help are my personal favs. 

I will be sad to see them go. It's the end of an era. Britpop is offcially dead now. I can't wait until they reform for the next album, most likely some time next year. Fingers crossed. 

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