Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
Oasis had suffered a bit of a public backlash after their 1997 album ‘Be Here Now’, an over zealous, self indulgent guitar fest, one which received instant supernova sales and critical acclaim, which promptly died down after people really listened to the album. It wasn’t bad, not at all, but it certainly wasn’t what people were expecting from the Manchester Prodigy’s of rock who erupted with their incredible debut albums ‘Definitely Maybe’ and ‘What’s The Story Morning Glory?’.
This 2001 album is a whole different story, an epic, almost psychedelic piece of work which has been overshadowed by Oasis’ earlier, undoubtedly better, but simpler debuts. This album’s production mixes the vastness of Be Here Now with a muddy, crowded Rolling Stone’s feel. It is a great album, which needs to be looked at out of context, because it sounds very little like the Oasis of old.
***IN’ IN THE BUSHES
A rip roaring opener for the album. A thrashing drum beat, which thunders throughout the song. The whole song has a rave feel to it, with a sort of compare screaming over the top about what I assumed to be the conservative government (with whom Noel had particular issues with back in the 80’s), with interview fragments from two old prim types, talking about ‘Children running around naked, ***ing in the bushes’, and ‘All are welcome, I love it!’ which slip perfectly into the song. There is a sinister feel to the song, with the Led Zeppelin-esque guitars penetrating a hard rhythm and haunting female vocals. Incredible
GO LET IT OUT
One of those forgotten greats. Another, more laid back and casual, drumbeat starts before Liam coolly counts in. The song is led by a Folky acoustic guitar strumming away at an A chord, with Liam’s delivering a typically perfect, cool vocal before shouting ‘Pick up the bass!’. From here, on the song is pure rock, which a heady winding Beatles bass line rolling around under the drum and heavy electric guitar thrashing out for the bridge. The chorus of this song is typical Stadium rock, with memorable, catchy lyrics and the simplest melodies combining to create a classic. The song also breaks down, with quiet guitars and a rising synth rhythm, before Noel’s guitar rings back out and Liam’s come back in for a fantastic chorus, reaching an almost orgasm of sound.
WHO FEELS LOVE
Odd sound loops and bongos set the psychedelic tone for this song, which fuses the simple driving bass line of Go Let It Out and a nice harmony between Liam and Noel. Although this obviously isn’t a classic, I feel it represents this album the best, mixing studio effects, beautiful production and simple and catchy choruses. The song is reminiscent of ‘Rain’ by The Beatles and has a very McArtney middle 8, with what even sounds like a sitar. An experimental but effective song, keeping within Oasis’ recognised boundaries.
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YER MOUTH IS
This is the kind of song that wasn’t very well received at the time of the albums. Tape loops, a growling piano sound and a distant Liam vocal. Although it certainly won’t be on anyone’s favourites list, it isn’t terrible at all, and sits perfectly on this particular album, with it’s distorted guitars and typically melodramatic backing vocals (much like those lovely ladies on ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’) which reappear throughout the album. Towards the end, Noel and Liam share the vocals, in turn singing, ‘Watch out’, their voices working perfectly together despite the obvious differences.
Beginning similarly to Who Feels Love, with haunting effects with sound for the whole song. This features a simple piano riff, which is accompanied quietly by an acoustic guitar strumming on the offbeat. This song is written by Liam, and you can tell as his vocals are seemingly more careful and passionate than previously. The lyrics are in turn, beautiful and stupid, ranging from ‘Thank you for your smile, you make it all worthwhile for us’ to ‘You live for your toys, even though they make noise’. Stupidly, some horribly synthesised backing vocals appear, but very quietly. This is a nice song which could have been dealt with better with a little more time, for example, a more appropriate guitar solo and more simple and catchy ‘Na nah nah’ bit at the end, which tries to imitate ‘Hey Jude’, which this song clearly mimics.
Wonderful wonderful music. Factory style hisses create the beat for this sinister, lurking song, which very muted guitar strums. This features a classic Liam vocal, perfectly suiting the sinister lyrics, ‘You better get on your knees and pray, Panic is on the way’, which are sublime throughout. Although Noel failed to resist the guitar climax at the beginning on the second verse, he did refrain from overdoing the Wah solo, keeping it simple and effective, before rolling right back into that beautiful chorus. Although I would have liked to hear more some more effects in a similar vein to the automated hiss, which drives the beginning, this is a real highlight of the album.
WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG
The first of two back-to-back Noel ballads (which should really have been separated), this song begins grand, with guitar bends being kept carefully below volume. The vocal by Noel is typically beautiful, with true heartfelt and meaningful lyrics about when life just gets you down. I would argue that the verses are overcrowded, with acoustics, double tracked vocals and very quiet synthesiser tinkling under the vocals. This has that ‘Be Here Now’ sense of over production, where a more subtle approach may have worked more effectively. A good song, hampered by over zealous layering.
SUNDAY MORNING CALL
Similar to the above, but a much lower key affair, with a simple acoustic guitar sequence, light drums under Noel’s dignified vocal and a synthesiser sequence. The lyrics are in a similar vein as ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong’, but the chorus has more impact due to the suppressed nature of the verse, with more subtle backing vocals. A beautiful song, showing off Noel’s lyrical prowess and soulful vocal talent. The song breaks down into a heavy but typically slow guitar solo, which suits the songs dramatic feel well before rising into a euphoric final chorus.
I CAN SEE A LIAR
An obviously heavier song, with a chugging guitar intro, heavy drum crashes and a slightly distorted vocal. The lyrics aren’t exactly inspiring, ‘I can see a Liar, sitting by the fire’, but they work well with the simple rock feel of the song, but the chorus is undoubtedly catchy. There’s not much to say about the song, except that it sounds similar to the later Oasis rock, such as ‘My Big Mouth’ and ‘Force Of Nature’, effective and enjoyable, bur ultimately forgettable.
ROLL IT OVER
An interesting but effective choice for an intro. A sort of laid-back apocalypse song, with long echoing clean guitar strums, with a slow and meaningful vocal by Liam, with a banjo (possibly) tinkering away at the end of each verse stanza, a sound which undoubtedly influenced later UK bands like Travis. The bridge signals a stadium chorus, raised in pitch before dropping back down to a perfect chorus vocal which perfectly compliments the simple lyrics, giving each word meaning, ‘Roll it over my son, leave me here’. The second verse introduces fading guitar finger picking which echo in between Liam’s voice. The lyrics don’t make much sense, but are given meaning by the slow, plodding rhythm and Liam’s empowered vocal. The song breaks down to a very slow jam, with occasional guitar solos and dramatic backing vocals. The whole song and feel is reminiscent to Pink Floyd’s epic close ‘Brain Damage/Eclipse’ to their masterpiece ‘Dark Side of The Moon’, an album which Noel has often stated as one of his favourites’. A wonderful close to a brilliant album, leaving you with a sense of celebration or tragedy, depending on your mood.
Although I prefer vintage Oasis over their more recent material, I think that their albums have always been consistently brilliant in their delivery of powerful, sometimes moving and always uplifting music. This album is a typical example of a great piece of work being cast aside because it wasn’t Definitely Maybe, which is a shame.
Many people often dismiss Be Here Now onwards as the worst of Oasis’ material, which in many ways is true, but people keep wanting to recreate that magic of Definitely Maybe, but the thing is, it won’t happen, the time and feel of 1994 has gone, and Oasis have moved on, leaving their often oppressive fans in the wake. If people could just move on with them and accept that Oasis are still making great albums and songs like, ‘The Hindu Times’, ‘Go Let It Out’ and ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ they would see that Oasis are still the best British rock band around, and have been for ten years.
This album gets 4/5