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Oasis, '(What's the Story) Morning Glory'

(What's the Story) Morning Glory  (1995,  50.06)  **½/T½

Hello
Roll With it
Wonderwall
Don't Look Back in Anger

Hey Now!
Swamp Song Excerpt
Some Might Say
Cast No Shadow
She's Electric
Morning Glory
Swamp Song Excerpt
Champagne Supernova
Oasis, 'Be Here Now'

Be Here Now  (1997,  71.37)  **/½

D'You Know What I Mean?
My Big Mouth
Magic Pie
Stand By Me
I Hope, I Think, I Know
The Girl in the Dirty Shirt
Fade in-Out
Don't Go Away
Be Here Now
All Around the World
It's Gettin' Better (Man!!)
All Around the World (reprise)
Oasis, 'Go Let it Out' CDS  (2000)  **½/TTT

Go Let it Out
Let's All Make Believe
(As Long as They've Got) Cigarettes in Hell
Oasis, 'Standing on the Shoulder of Giants'

Standing on the Shoulder of Giants  (2000,  47.56)  **/TT½

Fuckin' in the Bushes
Go Let it Out

Who Feels Love?
Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth is
Little James
Gas Panic!

Where Did it All Go Wrong?
Sunday Morning Call
I Can See a Liar
Roll it Over
Oasis, 'The Hindu Times' CDS  (2002)  **½/T½

The Hindu Times
Just Getting Older

Idler's Dream
Oasis, 'Heathen Chemistry'

Heathen Chemistry  (2002,  47.53)  **½/TT

The Hindu Times
Force of Nature
Hung in a Bad Place
Stop Crying Your Heart Out
Songbird
Little By Little
A Quick Peep
(Probably) All in the Mind
She is Love
Born on a Different Cloud
Better Man
[Untitled]
Oasis, 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' CDS  (2002)  **½/T

Stop Crying Your Heart Out
Thank You for the Good Times
Shout it Out Loud
Oasis, 'Lyla' CDS  (2005)  **½/TT

Lyla
Eyeball Tickler
Won't Let You Down
Oasis, 'Don't Believe the Truth'

Don't Believe the Truth  (2005,  47.19)  ***/T½

Turn Up the Sun
Mucky Fingers
Lyla
Love Like a Bomb
The Importance of Being Idle
The Meaning of Soul
Guess God Thinks I'm Abel
Part of the Queue
Keep the Dream Alive
A Bell Will Ring
Let There Be Love
Oasis, 'Dig Out Your Soul'

Dig Out Your Soul  (2008,  45.48/91.02)  ***/TT (TTT½)

Bag it Up
The Turning
Waiting for the Rapture
The Shock of the Lightning
I'm Outta Time
(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady
Falling Down
To Be Where There's Life
Ain't Got Nothin'
The Nature of Reality
Soldier on
[Bonus disc adds:
Lord Don't Slow Me Down
The Turning (Jagz Kooner Remix)
Boy With the Blues
Falling Down (Chemical Brothers remix)
The Shock of the Lightning (Jagz Kooner remix)
I Believe in All
To Be Where There's Life (Richard Fearless production)
The Turning (alt. version #4)
Waiting for the Rapture (alt. version #2)
The Shock of the Lightning (Primal Scream remix)]
Oasis, 'I'm Outta Time' CDS  (2008)  **½/TT

I'm Outta Time
I'm Outta Time (Twiggy Ramirez remix)

The Shock of the Lightning (Jagz Kooner remix)
I'm Outta Time (demo)
Oasis, 'Falling Down' CDS  (2009)  **½/TT

Falling Down
Those Swollen Hand Blues

Falling Down (the Gibb mix)
Falling Down (the Prodigy version)

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Now, I'm afraid to say that I'm not exactly the best person to review Oasis albums; I dislike the band quite intensely on various grounds, not least Noel Gallagher's deeply plagiaristic writing style and their insistence on invariably slumping to the lowest common denominator. They may very well be a 'great singalong band', but where's the integrity? Where's the passion? This is 'writing to a formula' in action; nick a bit of Beatles/Kinks/anyone else from the late '60s/early '70s, stick an insanely catchy hook onto it (to be fair, the difficult bit, even when it's someone else's), sell millions. Their lazy populism draws in an audience with a 'football fan' mentality; as long as their potato-shaped fans can bellow along to the hits, they couldn't care less. Is this right or wrong? I know what I think; you tell me.

Oasis debuted in '94 with Definitely, Maybe, selling zillions of albums and singles, before following it with (What's the Story) Morning Glory, which 'hardcore' fans maintain isn't of the same standard. it's all much of a muchness to me, I'm afraid, although by this time Noel had discovered the Mellotron, doubtless from the Beatles, Kinks... (yawn). Possibly their best-known use is the cellos on major hit Wonderwall; that's the one with the whiny vocal on the chorus - oh, that doesn't help much, does it? Far more memorable than it deserves to be, for a demo of 'Tron cello, Wonderwall actually does the job, although it irritates somewhat. If you listen closely, you can hear the C# 'Tron tape 'choke' as it reaches its eight-second limit at the end of the song, proving the cellos aren't real. The if anything even more irritating Don't Look Back In Anger (catchier chorus) has similar 'Tron work, although I think Hey Now!'s strings are samples; listen to the long, long sustained note at the end. The jury's still out on Cast No Shadow, too, with the string part not having quite enough of that 'Mellotron sound'. Incidentally, the 'Tron is played by both Noel and other guitarist Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs, later to depart; I can only assume they play on one track each, but without individual track credits it's impossible to say.

Album no.3, '97's Be Here Now, has the entirely deserved reputation of being Oasis' worst album, a coked-out, wildly excessive, hour-plus of overlong material and a stunning dearth of ideas. Overlong? I'm being generous. Twelve tracks in over 71 minutes is an average of around six minutes apiece. Six minutes? And that's an average; All Around The World is an unbelievably fatiguing 9:20, its tedious coda lasting, if anything, longer than the song proper, not to mention its two-minute reprise that closes the album. Less terrible efforts include the energetic My Big Mouth and It's Gettin' Better (Man!!), but that really isn't saying a lot, I can assure you. Noel adds Mellotron to Magic Pie (yeah, yeah, Lennon quote), with background strings (spot the pitchbend around 3:30), a huge pitchbent thing at 6:45 and some (genuine, of course) MkII rhythms to close. Noel: "All I did was run my elbows across the keys and this mad jazz came out and everyone laughed." While I don't like Oasis' first two efforts, I can see why people do, but the same doesn't apply to this one; hardly any memorable tracks and everything's at least two minutes too long (who said 'or maybe six'?). Avoid.

The idiotically misquoted Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (what, just one of them?) is marginally better and at least features a good bit of the old 'Tron, though whether Noel's converted Mark II FX machine or his new Mark VI (or both) is unknown. Opening instrumental Fuckin' In The Bushes at least has a bit of life to it, and the lack of Liam improves it no end, as does a touch of 'Tron female choir, while first single from the album, Go Let It Out has a slightly 'Strawberry Fields'-style flute part (big surprise there, then). Little James is spectacularly awful, being Liam's first writing contribution to the band, although I suppose it's quite sweet that it's about his baby son. It's still shit, though and even the female choir part can't resurrect a dog like this. Gas Panic! has a vocal melody recycled from Don't Look Back In Anger, proving Oasis have descended (?) to ripping themselves off and its rather average 'Tron strings and cello parts don't really help, I'm afraid. Finally, Sunday Morning Call has yet more of those female voices, helping not one jot in elevating it above the utterly dispensable. So, more 'Tron than its once-removed predecessor, but Standing on the Shoulder of Giants sucks hideously and, in my humble opinion, should've been drowned at birth. Not that I wish to come off the fence, you understand...

On the single front, Go Let It out, released a couple of weeks before the album, features the machine on all three tracks. Both its b-sides, Let's All Make Believe and (As Long As They've Got) Cigarettes In Hell are, to my ears, as good (or bad) as anything on the album, the latter quite self-deprecatingly funny, not least the asthmatic coughing at its conclusion. Although Let's All Make Believe has no more than a brief, very background string part, Cigarettes In Hell has flutes running all the way through and is actually possibly better than the bulk of the album. Nothing on any of the album's other four b-sides, particularly the completely unnecessary version of Helter Skelter on the back of Who Feel Love?

2002 brought Heathen Chemistry, loathed by the critics, although it sold in reasonable quantities, as usual. The material's the usual faint echoes of early Oasis glories, stretched out to unfeasible lengths to no good purpose, although there's nothing as bad as Little James, thank Christ. Opener The Hindu Times has some faint 'Tron strings played by Paul Stacey, but without any individual credits for band members, I have to assume that Noel plays the rest. I thought second single Stop Crying Your Heart Out had 'Tron strings on it, but it turns out they're real, just arranged to sound like a Mellotron... She Is Love and Born On A Different Cloud both have regulation flutes, but aren't really classics of the genre, while Better Man seems to have some background strings and upfront brass, which I presume is tape replay, as no brass section's credited. Now, I thought bands had grown bored with leaving a lengthy gap after the last listed track, before the 'mystery hidden track' at the end; I mean, it was fresh when Nirvana used it on Nevermind, ten years earlier... Anyway, the CD length given above is minus the gap and would you believe, the hidden track's about the best thing on the album? And it's got some nice 'Tron flutes. Put it out as a single and confound everyone, you buggers...

Another couple of Mellotronic b-sides from the era, with definite strings and possible female choir on Just Getting Older, the second track on The Hindu Times maxi, while the Stop Crying Your Heart Out EP's Shout It Out Loud is, sadly, not a cover of the Kiss song, but yet another dreary, mid-paced piece of nonsense, frankly fit only as a b-side space-filler, with a flute part making sporadic appearances. Count yourselves lucky: at least you're spared their dismal take on The Who's My Generation (My Degeneration, surely?), complete with pathetic attempt at John Entwistle's stupendous bass part, not to mention the strangely-titled You've Got The Heart Of A Star. What, fifteen million degrees kelvin?

Three years on, another Oasis album. And would you believe it, Don't Believe the Truth (why do they use those bloody titles?) is actually halfway decent? OK, we're not talking classic here, but it's the first Oasis album that hasn't made me want to gnaw my arm off, which has to be a recommendation (of sorts). They even manage some semi-decent lyrics this time round, with several witticisms in Mucky Fingers that Noel would never have written a few years earlier. Not so much 'Tron this time round, with background strings on opener Turn Up The Sun, and absolutely full-on flutes and strings on the big ballad and final track, Let There Be Love, complete with tape wobble, just in case you thought they'd wimped out and used samples. That would appear to be it, although there are a few other background keyboard sounds that could be their converted MkII FX machine. One b-side, with major flute and minor brass (?) parts on Lyla's second flip, the acoustic Won't Let You Down. Er, is it just me, or do most Oasis songs have effectively the same title?

Never the hardest-working of bands, at least in a studio setting, it's taken the band another three years to spit out another strangely-titled record, Dig Out Your Soul and it's, er, another Oasis album, basically. It has reasonable stylistic variety ((Get Off Your) High Horse Lady sounds oddly like it could fit onto David Gilmour's 1978 solo album), and it's a long way from their 'six hits per album' days, but if you come here looking for something new from the Gallaghers, you're going to be disappointed. The lyrics (and the sleeve design) are the usual mess; I mean, "A magical mystery"? Sly quote or stupid rip-off? One thing's for sure; in the world of Oasis, you just never know. Mellotron strings on opener Bag It Up and I'm Outta Time, probably from Noel, with Kula Shaker's Jay Darlington playing a particularly nice string part on Falling Down. There are several 'Tron extras on the box set's bonus disc, to the point where it overshadows the album proper. Apart from a repeat of Falling Down's string part, there's strings on the Jagz Kooner remix of The Turning and the alternate version of Waiting For The Rapture, with flutes on Liam's Boy With The Blues. Two relevant b-sides, with upfront strings on the download-only demo of I'm Outta Time and a vague, background string part on Those Swollen Hand Blues (Floyd quote?) on the Falling Down maxi.

So; none of Oasis' Mellotron work is exactly 'classic', although Wonderwall has become quite iconic, and the cello work is pretty good. If you've got a real yen for the female choirs, get Standing..., but otherwise it's all a bit of a waste of time, to be honest, with an honourable discharge for Don't Believe the Truth and bits of Dig Out Your Soul.

links

Official site

See: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds | Beady Eye


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