Oasis
Heathen Chemistry


2.5
average

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
January 17th, 2014 | 20 replies | 2,193 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You'll never change what's been and gone...

Heathen Chemistry was a crucial moment for Oasis. By 2002 the band that released the seminal 1-2 punch of Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory had almost as quickly burned out, throwing a sluggish combo that featured the overblown cocaine monster Be Here Now and the more focused yet less exciting Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. Essentially the group had drifted further and further away from what made them an instantaneously vital rock band originally, losing track in 1997 and losing two co-founding members by the millennium. Oasis really needed to produce an album akin to their classic sound, and for better or for worse Heathen Chemistry manages to achieve such a goal, on a superficial level at least.

Pound for pound, track for track, Heathen is the sturdiest and most consistent the group had released since 1995. ‘The Hindu Times’ opens on a confident note, driven by its warbling riff and infectious refrain “And I get so high I just can’t feel it”. Claims that its riff is heavily derived from a Stereophonics track is ultimately irrelevant – Noel has always pilfered ideas and sounds, and the notion that he may have done so here in the most overt manner in years is a positive things on Oasis’ globe, as typically the song proves to be all the more exciting and memorable for it, whilst winning no prizes for originality. The Chief touches also ground with one of his best 00’s slower numbers on ‘Little by Little’, which satisfies with a strong vocal performance and some of the man’s most refreshingly honest lyrics of the era. Less exciting but solid as a rock formulaically, ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ works as a bog-standard Oasis ballad. Although it succeeds on a simplistic level - with its extremely familiar tone akin to ‘Wonderwall’ - it proves to be a hollow victory. It is neither as touching nor memorable as Wonderwall or as invigorating and cathartic as ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. Although such a criticism is partly down to songwriting quality the production of the track, and the album in general, is partly to blame for the tepid sound that permeates most of the 11 tracks on offer.

Take for instance ‘Force of Nature’, which has a decent stomp and hearty Noel vocal to its makeup yet remains ultimately limp. The production fails to capture or emphasise any grit and glosses over what is already a fairly average Oasis song in a set of similarly beige compositions. ‘Hung in a Bad Place’ features a wall of guitar noise that is less the Great Wall of China and more a rickety wooden fence; ‘Better Man’ contains tiny glimpses at what could be a swaggering, groovy rocker but ends up tripping up on its own baggy jeans with a lazy sounding arrangement and production; and ‘(Probably) All In The Mind’ aims for the Beatles ‘Rain’ but drowns under its own mediocrity.

When the production is little sparer and the tune a little softer, as it scarcely is on the album, there are a few shining moments worth noticing. In addition to ‘The Hindu Times’ and ‘Little by Little’, ‘She is Love’ succeeds in its own charming little way, getting by on a basic hum of organs, handclaps and a sugary sweet melody. Most surprising of all though is that Liam’s ‘Songbird’ might be the most memorable and catchy song on the album. It’s extremely simplistic in tune and lyric, Noel often joking that its title came from the fact that Liam wrote a song about his girlfriend (‘bird’ being the slang term) and put the two factors together – Song? Bird? …Songbird! But the short, sweet tune does not deserve to be mocked other than that, carried along by a ripple of acoustic guitar and sporadic piano twinkling which wrap around a reverbed, Lennon-esque delivery of surprisingly pretty lyrics, given it’s author’s reputation.

Heathen Chemistry is a mixed bag and suffers from the post-90’s uneven album syndrome Oasis seemed to develop. A cluster of songs shine, particularly ‘The Hindu Times’, ‘Little By Little’ and ‘Songbird’, yet at other times there is a sense that the production hinders a few promising moments and generally makes for a pretty average listen. Did Oasis manage to return to form of sorts? Yes. Was it a complete victory? No. In the end the album is simply too uneven and produced too poorly to lift it any higher than the handful of genuinely joyful tracks it offers, despite the fact it features the most standout tracks and sounds the most like classic Oasis in years.



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user ratings (446)
Chart.
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
ZackSh33 (3)
Heathen Chemistry shows that Oasis still had the skills to release number one singles in their home ...

Kartikeya (3.5)
Nice album with all the singles rocking out!...

Med57 EMERITUS (1.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 17th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Took me a little longer to turn out this next part of the discog review, but here it is.

Had this at a 3 until revisiting the album for reviewing. Had to drop it to 2.5 sadly

Feedback welcome : )

Beauers
January 17th 2014



246 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Will read later after work, this is easily my least favourite album of theirs. The singles are pure gold, but outside of that for me everything is incredibly mediocre and not worth ever returning to.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 17th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

NP. I might be with you on that one, although i never find myself going back to Be Here Now very much either.

Beauers
January 17th 2014



246 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Be Here now sits in a strange place for me compared to most others I guess. I've just turned 25 and I was probably a bit too young for Definitely Maybe and What's The Story at the time. Even though I knew of their existence from the singles on the radio Be Here Now was the first time I was old enough to connect with them properly so it has that nostalgic place in my heart that I still love it despite all its negatives.

I somehow missed your SOTSOG review too so will definitely have a read of that later too. I'm enjoying these reviews anyway so I'm looking forward to it.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 17th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I understand that, nostalgia can transcend a lot.

Cheers, hope it's worth the wait ha!

Beauers
January 17th 2014



246 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

No worries, it's nice to see a non biased perspective of these guys online for a change.

I purchased SOTSOG on Vinyl the other week and I seem to find myself enjoying it a lot more than I remember I ever had done before. Other than Little James, that's just terrible.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 17th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I love Oasis but i'm not too blind to see their flaws on an objective level.

Oh God, Little James is such a drag. Wish they'd put Let's All Make Believe on there instead, might
have been worth a 0.5 rating boost

Killerhit
January 17th 2014



5249 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah I feeel like the force of naaature could make you si-ing

Beauers
January 17th 2014



246 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Tom Yeah exactly, a lot of the time it's the other way round and just general hatred toward them for the way the media portray them instead of letting the music do the talking. They obviously have their flaws, this being a big one haha

Killerhit
January 17th 2014



5249 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i dont care wut you say this is good

Beauers
January 17th 2014



246 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Little By Little was always one of the best moments of any Oasis gig or now Noel gigs. Such a great sing along.

ZackSh33
January 17th 2014



287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't really like "Songbird" or "She Is Love." "Hindu Times" is amazing though.

Still a baller review. I've had mixed feelings about this one for a while. I think your review and my review are fairly similar, but that's probably just because we're both Oasis fans and see this as a "return to form...sort of"

@Beauers "I purchased SOTSOG on Vinyl the other week"
Never been able to find cheap Oasis vinyl anywhere...but that could just be an issue for me here in the States.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
January 17th 2014



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cheers Zack

KILL
January 17th 2014



71454 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

worst album ever made

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

Ire
January 18th 2014



41754 Comments


first two are cool rest suck damn oasis are like the brit weezer fukk

Rowan5215
January 18th 2014



25532 Comments


Sweet been waiting for your next review but yeah album is shit outside of a few good tunes

Digging: Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2014



15906 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

1 decent tune (hindu) + all the rest is filler

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

DrHouseSchuldiner
January 18th 2014



5643 Comments


Heathen m/

Rowan5215
January 18th 2014



25532 Comments


@mena What about Little by Little and Songbird, bro

The3026thVermicide
January 18th 2014



20 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Little by little is repulsive as hell. This disc doesn't have a lower score because the hindu times and stop crying your heart out are excellent song, the rest is medicore or really bad



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