Review Summary: For the first time in a decade, an Oasis album reaches its full potential.
The years 1997 to 2002 might as well have not even existed for most Oasis fans. The three albums released during that five year span ranged from average at best (Standing on the Shoulder of Giants
), to downright terrible (Be Here Now
), and with the release of the soul-sucking money grab that was Heathen Chemistry
capping that period, it certainly looked like Oasis could fall apart at any moment. While every release brought success in their home country, worldwide success and critical acclaim had now been out of Oasis' reach for nearly a decade, and over that period, the soul and passion that drove their music, for the most part, had been wiped clean.
In the movie “Space Jam,” the Toon Squad went into the locker room at halftime and said to Michael Jordan that they should consider forfeiting the game to the Monstars. But, in the end, with a little help Bugs Bunny's “secret stuff,” the Toon Squad won that game over Danny DeVito's Monstars, and their comeback taught everyone a great lesson. Everyone, no matter how big or small, has potential. No matter how down and out you are at halftime, you always have a chance in the second half to win the game. Now, most likely, Noel and Liam Gallagher haven't seen “Space Jam,” and I doubt they even care about cartoons, the fate of the planet, or Danny DeVito, but, Oasis took exact lesson to heart regardless in 2005: even with line up changes, drugs, failure, and/or impending doom, there is always another chance for success as long as you have the potential.
Over the decade preceding the release of their sixth album, Don't Believe the Truth
, Oasis never lost their potential, they only lost their soul. It becomes abundantly clear with one listen to this album that the soul in their music has finally been revitalized. As opposed to the previous three releases before this album, it is hard to find any major faults in the music or the lyrics this time around, and, surprisingly, there is not one bad song on this album. It starts off well with the jangly and sunny opening guitars of “Turn Up The Sun,” followed by the driving drums of “Mucky Fingers,” which fits nicely next to the down right sultry “Lyla.” “Love Like A Bomb,” a song penned by Liam Gallagher, continues the pattern by drawing the listener in with its prominent shuffling acoustic guitar driven melody.
Soul, or the lack of one, pops up everywhere on this album, most blatantly in the title of the shortest track on the album: “The Meaning of Soul,” but mainly appears in smaller ways, such as on second half highlight “Part of the Queue,” with the exclamation of: “I'm having so much trouble just finding my soul in this town.” But nowhere are the Gallagher brothers more honest in their songwriting than on the masterpiece that is “The Importance of Being Idle.” “Idle” is a dark, and presumably autobiographical song based off of a menacingly clear start-stop march of a hypnotic guitar riff, and sounds completely different from anything that the band has previously released. The song's passionate lyrics revolve around a man who “sold [my] his soul for the second time,” and “can't get a life if my [his] heart's not in it,” words that speak volumes about the quality of Oasis' music over the previous decade. The song's lyrical and heartfelt honesty, as well as its overall musical brilliance easily make it the best post-1995 song that Oasis released.
Don't Believe the Truth
avoids all of the pitfalls of Oasis' three previous studio efforts, especially in the quality of the lyrics, its running time, and especially in the tracking. One of the worst characteristics of an album like Heathen Chemistry
was the tracking; the first half would be loaded with hooks and radio ready singles, and the second half would be mostly filler. On the contrary, on Don't Believe the Truth
, the second half actually gives the first half a run for it's money. The aforementioned “Part of the Queue” rings in with jarring emotion, “Guess God Thinks I'm Abel” puts Liam's vocal prowess on display, and the epic “Let There Be Love” provides a great surprise in that both Liam and Noel sing lead vocals on the track.
By the time one reaches the final track, the explosive and euphoric instrumental “Can Y'See It Now" (I Can See It Now!!),” the listener feels euphoric themselves: for the first time in a decade, an Oasis album has reached its full potential. Don't Believe the Truth
is not the band's best album in their discography, nor is it the one that they will be remembered for, but it is without question the best album that they made after the height of their popularity. The album is dripping with emotion and lyrical honesty about their past, and truly shows that Noel Gallagher and company can write songs that revolve around more than just a hook. Finally, Oasis sounded like a band who were actually passionate about what they did, and they finally made an album that they could be proud of.