Oasis
Standing on the Shoulder of Giants


2.5
average

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
January 12th, 2014 | 24 replies | 2,322 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Standing on the Shoulder of Midgets

There is clearly something wrong at a superficial level with Oasis’ 4th album and the start of the second phase of their career. Bonehead and Guigsy had gone; the original Oasis logo had also departed; and for the most part so had the classic Oasis sound. ‘***in’ in the Bushes’ opens – which doesn’t even sound like an Oasis song from its title alone. Big beat drums and an audio sample make way for killer riff and little else, and it suddenly dawns upon the world that Oasis are not the same band they were pre-Be Here Now. How could they be after that behemoth disappointment? It was a new decade, and a new start, but in retrospect not the kind of fresh leaf turn that worked well for a band that have always been defined by the sound of their instantly adored debut.

Noel Gallagher has always been wry and self-aware, and it wasn’t long after the release of Be Here Now that he, like most critics and fans, disregarded the album as an overblown, coked-up mess. As such, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, being the difficult follow-up to such a derided predecessor, screams of a conscious shaking up of the band’s sound, and it is successful to an extent – it is at least a great deal more refreshing and focused than Be Here Now. There is an obvious flourish of experimentation, with dashes of electronica, dance-inflected drums and vague eastern-sounding touches on certain tracks.

‘Go Let It Out’ was contemporaneously the best single Oasis released since the Morning Glory days – a refreshingly simple structure confidently delivered by a ragged voiced Liam. The tune shakes along on a wave of propulsive drums interlaced by a trippy mist of guitar and electronica, infectiously lodging itself into the mind like all the best earworms do. The track has been described by Noel as the closest the group came to sounding like modern day Beatles, but not for want of its follow-up, ‘Who Feels Love?’. Hints of Indian drone music and eastern percussion mix with heavily enhanced Beatle-esque vocals, but the song lacks a strong riff despite its lush charms. Much of the album does sadly – there’s nothing wrong with a little change and experimentation but the key pleasure of Oasis lies in the massive walls of guitar sound and the cocksure attitude, and SOTSOG just doesn’t have enough of such qualities.

‘Put Your Money Where Yer Mouth Is’ tries hard but ends up limping along like a loud, clumsy oaf - the electronic blips, indistinct lead riff and weak lyrics make for a poor track. ‘I Can See A Liar’ falls flat in much the same way – neither Liam’s voice nor Noel’s riffs/lyrics are as strong they used to be and the song fails to capture the excitement of early Oasis like it hopes to. Back to shaking things up again with Liam’s first composition – the lame lamb, ‘Little James’. Liam’s spirited vocal performance unfortunately fails to make up for the meandering melody and flimsy lyrics on his debut songwriting flop. In complete reverse, ‘Gas Panic!’ follows as a much more dynamic and interesting number. There’s a suitably paranoid air to the melody and lyrics, and the shrieking guitars and wall of drums ‘n’ electronica it swirls into create a vast sonic cauldron that is the most exciting noise the group had conjured for years. Unfortunately the exhilarating rush of Gas Panic! is not emulated for the remainder of the record. Noel sounds weary but unintentionally so on the bland ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?’; single ‘Sunday Morning Call’ is marginally better but floats around without much to say or hear of interest, and ‘Roll It Over’ closes the album on a lazy, laborious slow rock crawl.

Standing on the Shoulder of Giants is a mixed-up, confused release. It is refreshing and focused in one sense – the songs generally don’t suffer the overblown madness of Be Here Now and when Noel’s experimentation works it does do so rather satisfyingly – particularly on ‘Go Let It Out’ and ‘Gas Panic!’; less so but still enjoyably on ‘Who Feels Love?’ and ‘***in’ in the Bushes’. But there is still a sense of scrapping the bottom of the barrel, with too many malingering, unexciting tracks and the worrying realisation that Noel must have been stuck for inspiration letting Liam’s awful ‘Little James’ feature in the middle of the 10 track set. Or maybe there was still a quality control issue? It certainly appears as such when the dynamite ‘Let’s All Make Believe’ was relegated to b-side status despite the fact it would probably be the strongest track on the album were it actually selected to feature.

Despite the experimentation some things would never change. Noel was still misguided and left some of his best songs as mere b-sides; the album was as uneven as a seesaw – a factor which would become the norm for 00’s Oasis records; and in the end, the band prove they are ultimately defined by their early sound, which remains to be topped. That the remainder of their discography departed from the experimental sounds of this outing and begun trying to emulate the sound of the glory days reveals that SOTSOG is a disappointing album in hindsight. It does have a few minor flashes of glory, and the good news is that surely but slowly – like the aging but indestructible rock n roll tank Oasis are – they eventually crawled back up to a level of genuine quality with subsequent releases.



Recent reviews by this author
Metronomy Love LettersTemples Sun Structures
Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You TomorrowOasis Dig Out Your Soul
Oasis Don't Believe the TruthOasis Heathen Chemistry
user ratings (426)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Continuing on with the discog review

Apologies in advance for the summary; i don't know what i was thinking!

Feedback welcome : )

Crawl
January 12th 2014



1555 Comments


Great review. Didn't listen to this one, but I'm looking forward to your review of Heathen Chemistry, which is not that horrible, imo.

SmersH
January 12th 2014



404 Comments


Very nice! Album is quite the letdown... I do have a soft spot for Heathen Chemistry, though. At least more of it than this.

Digging: Low - The Curtain Hits the Cast

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks guys.

I agree that Heathen Chemistry gets more criticism than it deserves. It's better than Be Here Now and
SOTSOG for starters.

zakalwe
January 12th 2014



6616 Comments


The quality is there yet again in the review mate.
Unfortunatley the same doesn't apply to this album, it was the comedown for them and us.


Digging: Bob Mould - Beauty & Ruin

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cheers man.

Absolutely, few nice moments but overall it doesn't feature much to get excited about

Love Go Let It Out though.

Mister Twister
January 12th 2014



1493 Comments


that summary got me

tommygun
January 12th 2014



23597 Comments


just lovely tom

won't bother with the album mind

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

Rowan5215
January 12th 2014



24415 Comments


Once again nice job
I really like this album and think the hate is unwarranted though
Miles ahead of Heathen Chemistry and Be Here Now

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



4820 Comments


Cool review, not to mention that hilarious summary lol. Have yet to hear these guys...but this doesn't seem like the best starting place.

Digging: Integrity - Those Who Fear Tomorrow

Rowan5215
January 12th 2014



24415 Comments


@Judio dude check Morning Glory and the Masterplan that'll get you going

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thank you people : )

Glad the summary went down well, it was just a random thought i had when posting the review ha.

@JudioRuso - I'd start with their debut; not only is it their best (closely followed by their 2nd
album) but it really easy to get into and the whole ethos of Oasis comes across most purely on their
debut.

@rowan - I agree this is better than Be Here Now but not too sure about it beating Heathen Chemistry
for me. What makes you rate this one higher than Heathen out of curiosity?

Rowan5215
January 12th 2014



24415 Comments


I dunno man I'm just really not a fan of Heathen
Songbird, Little by Little, She is Love are fantastic songs but the rest just does nothing for me
Particularly Hung in a Bad Place and Better Man which are just truly awful
This on the other hand, I'm not a massive fan of the faster songs like Money and Fuckin in the Bushes but the rest I like all of it, particularly Gas Panic which is like top 10 Oasis

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Fair points. Gas Panic is real gem, find it weird that it's not on Stop the Clocks or Time Flies
compilations.

Personally what makes Heathen better than this album for me is the greater number of standout tracks.
I guess i'm like you are with this album but with Heathen instead - i only find Go Let it Out, Gas
Panic and Fuckin in the Bushes on my Oasis mix from this record.

Rowan5215
January 12th 2014



24415 Comments


Not even Where Did it All Go Wrong? Love that tune, some of Noel's most heartfelt lyrics and he sounds so genuine

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I can't say i'm a fan of that track honestly. It's just never really wowed me that much.

Rowan5215
January 12th 2014



24415 Comments


Damn
I do agree with you, though, that Let's All Make Believe should've made the cut
What a song that is

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



4820 Comments


Ok, will check these guys whenever time permits.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It is such a good song, how on Earth did Little James make the cut and not that?!

ZackSh33
January 13th 2014



271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Noel sounds weary but unintentionally so on the bland ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?’"

--so dead on it's not even funny. But it's still probably my 2nd fav song on the album.

Nothing beats "Go Let It Out" on here. That bass line is incredible (might be the best one they ever did). Heathen Chemistry was a step up just because there were more Oasis-like singles on it.

Anyone reading these reviews looking to get into Oasis - listen to Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory first. Doesn't get any better than those.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy