Monday, April 12, 2010

In Defence of Oasis: The Singles Compilation

I thought those Beatles/Oasis comparisons were a bit off in the mid-1990s. And I was disappointed with Oasis when I saw them live at the old WUST Music Hall in D.C. (now the new 9:30 Club) in early 1995 (with Velvet Crush opening up!).

The band on stage, virtually motionless, didn't seem to have any of the swagger of the same band that I had heard on record performing "Supersonic" or the sublime "Live Forever".

It wasn't until I got the b-sides collection, The Masterplan, in 1998 that I started to reassess the band.

As others have noted: Oasis are not, were not, the modern Beatles; they are just Beatles fans doing Slade songs, to put it bluntly.

But that's not an insult; the world needs more loud, brash songs like "Lyla". There's no pretentiousness, no trying to save the world, no trying to be clever, and so on.

And a large measure of the band's appeal is Liam Gallagher, the world's most underrated lead vocalist and, quite possibly, the last true rockstar.

Frequently yobbish and loud, he remains a pleasure to watch on film. And he doesn't get enough credit for somehow amazingly combining the singing styles of Johns Lydon and Lennon into one post-punk sneer sung up into a microphone.

And that's not even mentioning the fact that as he's aged, Liam has really grown into his looks. Let's face it: when he wants to look good, he is strikingly handsome for a rockstar.

So I'm happy that the band is putting out a singles collection in June, Time Flies... 1994-2009, which should collect a lot of the essential tracks by the band including the 1994 non-album single "Whatever".

The track listing looks like it could be the thing I put in the car stereo and don't skip anything on. And I say that already owning all of these songs but I'm pretty sure that I will buy this on CD format in the shops.

A good singles comp. on CD has a tangible value that all of these songs scattered on a computer drive doesn't have.

"Roll with It"
"Live Forever"
"Stop Crying Your Heart Out"
"Cigarettes & Alcohol"
"Don't Look Back in Anger"
"The Hindu Times"
"Stand by Me"
"Lord Don't Slow Me Down"
"All Around the World"
"Some Might Say"
"The Importance of Being Idle"
"D'You Know What I Mean?"
"Let There Be Love"
"Go Let It Out"
"Who Feels Love?"
"Little by Little"
"The Shock of the Lightning"
"She Is Love"
"I'm Outta Time"
"Falling Down"

Here's a song with admittedly nonsensical lyrics -- and the title means what? -- but it's loud, with a catchy lick, and that Liam sneer that I love so much...

Oasis "The Hindu Times" on Top of the Pops (2002)