DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER

It might be time to take your knee off Oasis’ chest.

Johnny Loftus

How dare they?

After eight years, four studio albums, and a pile of piss, coke, and tabloid grandstanding larger than all the icebergs in Greenland, Oasis STILL hasn’t apologized to you. Consistent, shameless aping of the Beatles’ back catalog. A continuous run of gluttonous, Rolling Stones-style partying and pillaging. Subtitles on MTV. All of this without even a downward glance of humility. And now Oasis has returned with a new studio album. To listen to it, they must have discovered a crate of John Lennon’s solo LPs in the basement of some castle Noel bought. There’s the usual smattering of anthems to punch your pal to. And Liam – goddamn Liam – he thinks he’s a songwriter! Who do these guys think they are? They should be ashamed of themselves. In the meantime, you’ll be sitting quietly in your room, listening to “Revolver,” waiting for The Gallaghers to get down on one knee and apologize for hawking their blasphemous wares in the temple of rock and roll.

Or maybe Oasis doesn’t owe you anything.

There are no gimmicks anymore. No quarreling at the Q Awards, no political agenda (unless you count slagging off the Queen), no scene of like-minded bands. Oasis has outlasted its own hype, and outlived its own competition. Brit-Pop and the Shoegazer movement, early 90s English music phenomena of which Oasis was tangentially a part of, have died off and risen again while Liam, Noel, and the boys have steadily worked through their own demons and growth spurts. (To wit, a recent Magnet Magazine article traced the history and significance of Shoegazer, placing Ride on the cover. Ride’s Andy Bell now plays bass in Oasis.) Oasis has no one left to be angry with, to show off to, or to pretend to be better than. England, Blur, the press, the fans – no one has them on a pedestal anymore. Without the burden of being Everyone’s Hated Rock Star, the music Oasis has made for its latest album is more straightforward than ever before. The Fab Four still lurk around most corners. But if Oasis doesn’t care anymore whether you like them or not, how can they be accused of copying the masters for profit? Must they still apologize to you for their past indiscretions?

Heathen Chemistry is an album without the standing water that gathered in the low points of Be Here Now and Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants. Sure, Liam Gallagher is still a precocious lout. But his personal Beatles fascination has led to new tunes, penned without the grating sentiment of Shoulder‘s “Little James,” that suggest the arch, halted pop of John Lennon’s later solo material. Noel – no longer required to be the bloke with the biggest balls on stage – can relax, and eat up the heartbreaking, Floyd-ish vocal scenery on “Little By Little,” which is the best Oasis song since “Acquiesce.” And veterans Bell and Gem Archer (ex-Heavy Stereo) don’t have to stand awkwardly in the Gallaghers’ shadow. They’ve added George Harrison guitar licks, touches of piano, and in Archer’s case, the seedy, sneering rocker “Hung in a Bad Place.” The rumors are true: Oasis’ new material stands on its own as a return to form. Instead of searching about for new directions, or the next great Oasis single, Chemistry presents 11 songs describing Oasis in the here and now. They are simply an English rock and roll band, creatively unified for the first time in their eight years.

“Tonight, I’m a rock and roll star,” Liam sang on Definitely Maybe. Hate him or love him, Gallagher the younger was, and is, everything that a rock star should be. But things change. “In the end, we’ll leave it all behind,” he sings on Heathen Chemistry. “Because the life I think I’m trying to find is probably all in my mind.” See? Even limey pricks like Liam Gallagher get older and wiser. In their time on this Earth, Oasis has hit every high imaginable, and traveled through the down, dirty lows that are the inevitable flipside of so much success. But they’ve emerged on the other side with their vision (and Beatles songbooks) intact, with an almost unassuming quality that would’ve been impossible to believe in the halcyon days of 1994-5. Little by little, Oasis gave you everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Where will you be when they get high again?

JTL

24 thoughts on “DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER”

  1. Look, I’ll admit I want to love the new Oasis album. But there’s no fucking way I’ll go out and buy it. If any band owes me, it’s those wankers for the last two Oasis albums I bought and had to re-sell on Half.com for pennies on the dollar. Two marvelous albums and two bad albums–that leaves them in the same position as any band I’ve never heard of. I’ll gladly pirate their new disc, but no credit card will leave my wallet until I’ve listened and determined that it’s not crap.

  2. So is it good, Johnny? If you had to take one Oasis mix with you on a desert island, how many of those 80 minutes would come from this new album? And by the way, doesn’t the new David Bowie album have this same name?

  3. You know i though that oasis only had one more album to give, now i say,”don’t leave me like this bring me the masterpiece”, i wise that oasis make it big again so the american teens know what true music is not Nstink or Blowjob boys, or fuck me britney youy know what i mean. They just have voices but nothing to back it up, when will this pop life is gonna beat out? when oasis make it big in the states.

  4. Wow – you got all of the nicknames for the teeny-boppers. I’d only heard of “Backside Boys”, but “Blowjob Boys” is really, really good. Can you think of one of Creed, please?Isn’t slagging off on the pop stars a little ridiculous? What do you care what that target market listens to? Someone with the foresight and literate intelligence to listen to Oasis surely is culturally advanced enough that exposure to Brittney Spears is limited to searches on Google.

  5. Yes yes, we all know “Little James” is the Jar Jar Binks of Oasis’ back catalog. And while Liam’s contributions to HEATHEN see the band at their most unabashedly Beatles/Lennon, they are still WORLDs better than the tripe that is “Little James.”And yes Madness, “Fucking In The Bushes” is an awesome song. See it used in “Snatch” to maximum effect.

  6. I broke my own rule against buying soundtrack albums to get “Fucking In The Bushes” on the Snatch soundtrack. Best scene in that movie, for sure, in a movie that was full of good scenes. Johnny, I’m still waiting for my “Britpop Mix to Convince Jake that Britpop Hasn’t Sucked Ass Since 1989.”

  7. So here we have another album from the best band in the world which is every bit as good as anything that will come from America this year. No wonder people all over the world get pissed off with all those arrogant American pricks- America can keep releasing crap from corny boy bands and men who have goatee beards, wear skateboard shorts and scream into microphones..leave the rock ‘n’ roll to Britain. The Beatles, The Who, Oasis, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, Queen….christ, even the friggen spice girls piss all over eminem and all that other yank shit. Were not called GREAT Britain for nothing you know :)

  8. Yeh they rip off the Beatles but so what-If your gonna steal off anyone its best to do it from the masters themselves right? Good record-not sure if its as good as the first 2 but then again its a completely different style. ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ and ‘Born On A Different Cloud’ rule though.

  9. “. The Beatles, The Who, Oasis, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, Queen….”Alex:Silly me. I thought the country was called Great Britain prior to 1963. Live and learn. How much longer can you coast? Notwithstanding the truly amazing bands the States have produced for as long or longer than the U.K., it’s been 20 years since any of the bands you listed put out anything relevant. And the second half of the bands you named cannabilized to a great extent the songs and styles of the first half! If I recall, as well, the late 90’s boy band/pop mania began in earnest in GREAT Britain too. We’ll let you slide this time, but one more 5ive/Take That/Gerri Halliwell yelping stolen American slang on their reh-cohds, and it’ll be time to give you boys a time out so you can think about what you’ve done.

  10. English men sing like pussies. Give me an example of one who doesn’t. You can’t. The ones you’re thinking of are from Scotland or Ireland.

  11. Respectfully, requesting that Jake relisten to the Stone’s “Stray Cat Blues.” Jagger through ’73 or so is one of the few exceptions.

  12. Jeez, has it come down to a dull US V England ‘pussie’ vocalists? What debate! How excting, how dull. Oasis are boring, we’ve been bored of them here in the UK for years, who cares? Another bunch clapped-out old has-beens. Just don’t give me this ‘we’re better than you’ crap, please.

  13. Oasis has devolved into a highly dervative version of their former selves, at best the world’s best Oasis tribute band.The new record sucks, and sucks because it the same chords, same melodies, same athemic structures we’ve heard before.At this point it’s a VERY old and tired formula. Johnny’s whole premise is that because they are shadows of their former selves and are still making records we should admit they are still good. Huh?I had hope with the last album that Noel would shake things up a bit after songs like “Gas Panic” and “Who Feels Love” that the band would try to deviate a bit from the formula…but I was wrong. Noel’s a gutless fuck. You want proof, check out the demo for “The Hindu Times” on the single. The lyrics rip his ex the new asshole she deserves.So what the fuck happened?He cops out and writes these cliched lyrics for the final version for the drunks in the terraces to sing instead of venting his spleen like a real artist who’s just been raped in the High Court by his ex-wife.Add to that the fact that Noel and Liam are already apologizing in the press about THT and how the next album will be a “classic”.Heard that bullshit before.Do yourself a favor and NOT buy the new album. Instead go out and get the “Live by the Sea” VHS or DVD. That’s Oasis at their peak, and BEFORE WTSMG.The actually look like their into it instead of bored shitless, and the songs kick ass despite the binmen rythm section. “Headshrinker”, “Talk Tonight”, fuck..even “D’ya wanna be a Spaceman” are better than ANYTHING on the new cd.The best album so far out of the UK is “The Last Broadcast” by Doves.That’s great fucking album, on every leveland rightfully put the band in the same league as great UK bands mentioned above.

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