Dig Out Your Soul



by Dave de Sylvia EMERITUS
October 20th, 2008 | 29 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dig Out Your Soul doesn’t have the same anthemic quality as every other Oasis album, and truthfully never attempts to.

For almost a decade now, it has been customary this side of the Atlantic to hail every new Oasis album as the band’s best effort since 1996’s iconic (What’s The Story") Morning Glory; even the much-maligned Be Here Now, though it was lauded at the time, won by default, being as it was the only album since 1996’s iconic (What’s The Story"} Morning Glory. In truth, the band never really recovered from the fall-out endured amid the coke-fuelled haze of Be Here Now- ever the crowd-pleasers, the Gallagher brothers more or less dug their heels in and concentrated on satisfying their still immense fanbase without much regard for the wider world. America, always a smidge baffled by the band’s essential Britishness, has continued to quietly (but dismissively) applaud each subsequent effort, while the British media’s Gallagher fascination has cooled to the point where they can actually bear to discuss the music every now and then.

Which brings us to Dig Out Your Soul. In many ways it’s a typical Oasis album insofar as the vast majority of it sounds like Oasis music past, is swamped in Beatles references, and has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face. On the other hand, apart from lead single ‘Shock Of The Lightning’ and a couple of notable others, Dig Out Your Soul doesn’t have the same anthemic quality as every other Oasis album, and truthfully never attempts to; even 2000’s stab at soft psychedelia, Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, lives and dies on the strength of its choruses. Dig Out Your Soul is a whole ‘nother beast entirely; it is to Oasis what India was to the Beatles (Oasis are unfairly over-compared to their spiritual forebears, but this comparison is undoubtedly warranted): a free pass to discuss deep metaphysical topics without being held accountable to anything resembling reason or good sense. To put it in a more modern context: making Dig Out Your Soul has been, for Oasis, the equivalent of listening to a Tool album while stoned and mistaking it for something meaningful.

Musically, the first half of Dig Out Your Souloccupies a soft spot between Be Here Now and Heathen Chemistry, comprising loud and sludgy rockers, and is dominated by the elder Gallagher. The latter half sees the group indulge their psychedelic pretensions a little more openly with contributions by all four main members. Opener ‘Bag It Up’ sets the tone nicely; Noel’s guitar tone is crunchy as he clumsily-on-purpose plays around with a simple sliding power chord motif, while brother Liam is audibly excited to be singing on a record for the first time in three years. Setting a template for the rest of the record, the lyrics are a jumble of nonsense, but do their job effectively provided the listener doesn’t attempt to read any sort of meaning into them. So goes the chorus, “Lay your love on the fire when you come on in / I’ve got my heebie-jeebies in a hidden bag.” Is it a cocaine reference" Who knows, but the rest of the album sure is!

In some perverted sort of way, the second half of the album will probably be remembered by future generations as the half-hour or so when Oasis attempted, briefly, to think outside of the box. It hurts your reviewer to reduce Oasis to mere proponents of the dinosaur rock genre given the effect the band had on his musical education and his formative years, but it’s an unavoidable reality that the band struggle more or less any time they step outside their comfort zone. Gem Archer’s contribution, ‘To Be Where There’s Life,’ is just as awkward a record as its title would suggest: sitars wangle earnestly in the background and, like much of the record, the song itself sits atop a solid bass-and-percussion groove, but Liam’s elongated, Lennon-esque drawl fails to disguise the song’s complete lack of a melody. Comparisons with Harrison’s ‘Within You, Without You’ will invariably be offered, but for all his failings, very little of George Harrison’s material could be filed away in a box alongside Kula Shaker outtakes.The ‘Helter Skelter’-like beginnings of Andy Bell’s sole writing credit, ‘The Nature Of Reality,’ augur well, but his subsequent musings on, well, the nature of reality would probably have been best kept to himself.

Liam has slowly evolved into a songwriter of real renown- by no means a prolific one, but one with the power to connect with his audience in the most basic and effective way- but of his three contributions to Dig Out Your Soul, only one measures up to the likes of ‘Songbird’ and ‘Guess God Thinks I’m Abel.’ Closer ‘Soldier On’ does in five minutes what Lennon could do it two, tacking vague nuggets like ”hold the line friend of mine” and ”sing a song” onto a stoner’s dream bass groove that sits somewhere between Abbey Road and the Verve’s ‘Catching That Butterfly.’ ‘I’m Outta Time,’ quite to the contrary, ranks among the greatest in the Oasis canon. Like the aforementioned tracks, ‘I’m Outta Time’ works because it is so achingly simple. Liam’s lyrics milk the rhyming dictionary for all it’s worth, as is the Gallagher way, but they’re honest and vulnerable in a way the singer’s public persona would never seem to allow: ”If I should fall, would you be there to applaud" / Or would you hide behind them all"” It’s no shame for Liam to remind his public once in a while that he’s more than just an unsentimental oaf.

The rest of the album is, for better or worse, Oasis by numbers: never spectacular, and never short of a fortuitous Beatles reference either. Lead single ‘The Shock Of The Lightning’ gets off on the cringe-worthy couplet, ”love is a time machine, up on the silver screen / love is a litany, a magical mystery.” That lyric, or any number of others, sums up exactly what’s wrong with Dig Out Your Soul: one thing that could always be counted upon with Oasis was honest, occasionally brute force honesty if the situation warranted it. Dig Out Your Soul tackles higher concepts haphazardly, such is the case with Bell’s eyeball-rolling ‘The Nature Of Reality,’ and more often abandons the idea of writing about anything at all, and the result is an album that manages to be self-indulgent without ever showing much ambition. Dig Out Your Soul isn’t the worst record Oasis have produced, but even the heavily shat-upon (an unfairly so, in this writer’s opinion) Heathen Chemistry was comfortable within its own skin.

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user ratings (606)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Tom93M (3.5)
    Proof that lightning can strike twice, even if it’s less shocking the second time...

    ZackSh33 (4)
    Dig Out Your Soul envelops the listener in its psychedelic pop rock, and ends Oasis' illus...

    therealhoff (4.5)
    Oasis continue return to form started with Don't Believe The Truth, and really show they a...

    Mr0 (4.5)
    'Dig Out Your Soul' is a success primarily because of its angular approach to not sound...

  • Auldy (3)
    Oasis fall flat on album number 7, ditch the guitars but still borrow from The Beatles...

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 20th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

Oasis have only made 2 albums.. I mean 7.

October 20th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

I just got this, but truthfully I'm not that excited.

Very good review sir.

Electric City
October 20th 2008


I love this review

except for this:

Liam has slowly involved
This Message Edited On 10.20.08

October 20th 2008


i still love the video of the guy pushing noel over and liams feeble attempt at trying to get stuck in there. or maybe it's the other way round.

October 20th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

I am a big Oasis fan. They obviously don’t want to plumb depths, and that’s ok with me. I don’t think that their songs are populists either. There is a true emotion behind them, quite honest too.

As for Dig Out Your Soul, all of Noel’s songs are great. The rest just does not do it for me.

October 20th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

Bag It Up is pretty decent, but other than that, the album is pretty boring.

So basically this

The rest of the album is, for better or worse, Oasis by numbers: never spectacular, and never short of a fortuitous Beatles reference either.
This Message Edited On 10.20.08

October 21st 2008


the Gallagher brothers more or less dug their heels in and concentrated on satisfying their still immense fanbase without much regard for the wider world
fantastic, spat (or diva, i guess).
that summed up my feelings about oasis's decade of crap endeavors

October 23rd 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

I like this album. Every song is very Oasis-like which is a good thing. Just not as catchy as some of their previous stuff.

October 23rd 2008


my friend is love with this album

but he's also a classic rock fan :|

November 11th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

I've been really enjoying this actually.

December 12th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

You should get you staff label revoked, This is a great album, not a 2.

December 12th 2008


the Gallagher brothers more or less dug their heels in and concentrated on satisfying their still immense fanbase without much regard for the wider world

this this this

January 19th 2009


so these guys released their last "great" album 14 years ago and they're still popular 14 years later..

i guess it goes to show people aren't as fickle as they are made out to be

February 22nd 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

its a nice album...hinges upon the tracks 4 & 5.review is a bit harsh though.

March 17th 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely far from a 2, this is a great album that shines in the rough of horrible mainstream rock garbage.

You write a decent review but your ideas are all wrong as is your rating.

February 12th 2010


Liam is such a clown.

March 22nd 2010


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Thought this review was harsh, up to track 7 it's really really good, and it starts to go a bit hit and miss from there, but definitely more than 2.

Yeah, it's written in stone that the first two Oasis albums were the best (and critics conveniently forget their astonishing b side quality) and then they weren't as good, bar the odd single here and there. Thing is, I disagree with things written in stone almost out of principal. Yeah, Oasis are finished and history to consign them to the Britpop era and for spawning and influencing clone bands. But Noel could pen a tune after tune and they deserve more of a legacy than people seemingly are willing to give them at present. Be Here Now for instance was a brilliant record but ripped apart by hype and negative press. Much like the Arctic Monkeys fading reputation.

January 14th 2011


Falling Down is a 5/5 how can this album suck?

September 4th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

I reckon 'The Turning' and 'The Shock Of The Lightning' are both awesome. I've never really liked contributions by members other than Liam & Noel tbh, this album is no different

January 28th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Noel should stick to being the sole song writer of the band. Falling Down is the best song on the album.

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