By Slick Nick
There is no doubt in my mind that Oasis were the best pop group of the 90s, using a slew of extremely uncomplex singles and albums to end the musical careers of countless raggae and eurodance acts that always seemed to top the British charts at the time. Led by unambitious song-writer Noel Gallagher and starring his knobend brother Liam, the world was theirs for the taking – before Pop Idol, of course.
As enjoyable as the early Oasis compositions were, musically they were never anything more than basic as fuck. ‘Live Forever’ from the debut album ‘Definitely Maybe’, had an opening drum beat that any child could perform after two lessons, and generally you’d be lucky to get three or four different chords in a song. Listening to Oasis and then puting on a bit of Blur, their mortal enemies, was like listening to fucking Mozart by comparison. Sadly, their most ambitious riff from another early single called ‘Cigarettes And Alcohol’ had already been written by heavy metallers T Rex around twenty five years earlier, so they couldn’t lay claim to that.
But, like a lot of bands that start out well, after a few albums and a shit ton of record sales, Oasis could no longer muster the effort to record decent music, and the decline in quality of output during the noughties was quite staggering. The band broke up soon after releasing their final album ‘Dig Out Your Soul’, one of the worst albums ever made.
These crap songs sound like the kind of music you’d find buried on a 100-track bootleg set of long-forgotten Beatles demos that were never intended for release – lifeless, boring and poorly recorded. For all the Gallagher brothers’ rock ‘n’ roll swagger and tabloid punch-ups, this final effort is like someone retiring by leaving the office quietly after an insincere presentation from their boss in front of their co-workers.
There was magic in the initial Oasis singles. Hell, if ‘Wonderwall’ came on the radio during my short commute to work every day, I’d probably punch the air (roof) with elation; I don’t go to nightclubs anymore, I wasn’t reared on a tough inner city estate and I don’t fall for the Simon Cowell PR/marketing machine, so I get very little from the British charts these days. Comparing the songs from that era to the singles from this album is like puting Manchester United against an Albanian school football team – they just don’t compare.
Lead single ‘The Shock of The Lightning’, bolstered by a staggering two chord changes for the most part, sounds like an idea for a song that still needed to be finalised in rehearsals. ‘I’m Outta Time’ is the only listenable effort here, but it still annoys me because the verse always makes me think I’m listening to Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’. Pleasant chorus though, reminding fans that they could still write the occasional hook when they weren’t sitting by swimming pools guzzling Director’s Bitter.
Apart from sounding like the Beatles and wearing John Lennon spectacles, Liam Gallagher even started to look exactly like George Harrison at one point. On ‘Dig Out Your Soul’, the tribute act was completed with the aping of the rather self-indulgent, ploddy sitar-driven stuff that John, Paul, George and Ringo were experimenting with in the mid–to–late sixties. If it didn’t work for the greatest band to ever set foot in a recording studio, what the fuck was it going to do for Oasis?
Noel Gallagher’s lyrics have always been appalling at the best of times. Incoherent rambling sentences ending in words that mostly rhymed with ‘away’, ‘mind’, ‘far’, ‘you’, ‘me’ and ‘why’, they tended to make even less sense than Kurt Cobain’s insane poetry. This final album didn’t break tradition; the problem was the songs were now as equally terrible as a whole. Before, no one paid much attention because the melodies and singing were so effective.
It’s a shame the band that recorded ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ could end their careers with such an underwhelming collection of crap songs. Even their b-sides collection ‘The Masterplan’ was one of the best from 1998, better than most other bands’ proper efforts. Noel Gallagher was supposed to keep rock ‘n’ roll alive, at least from a Sunday Times supplement point of view. His declining song-writing ability combined with Simon Cowell and increasing levels of illiteracy amongst young people have now rendered the British charts almost unlistenable. And this is even before Liam Gallagher kick starts an inevitable solo career for more cigarette money.
Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannon ball, where were you when we were writing shit music?