Friday, November 17, 2006

Stop The Clocks - Oasis

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Popular opinion goes as follows; when a "pop" band releases a greatest hits or best of compilation they're cashing in, when a more serious band releases such a CD they're treating us to a retrospective of their greatest work.

With that gripe out of the way, the main selling point of this compilation seems to be that the Gallagher's themselves chose the tracklisting (a concept which actually only came about becuase Sony were going to release the compilation against Noel's wishes anyway and he thought he might as well participate). Which given that the tracklisting weighs heavily in favour of Definately Maybe, What's The Story and The Masterplan makes for a poignant statement. It's as if they themselves realise that they will never recapture the spirit or quality of their heyday.

But the dross that, largely, followed Morning Glory (whilst Be Here Now and Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants were pretty awful, Heathen Chemistry and Don't Believe The Truth aren't all that bad at all in my opinion) should not be allowed to take away from what was so great in the beginning.

The tracks from the first two albums retain their spark to this day and anyone of a certain age will listen to them with delight; I mean who hasn't sung their lungs out to Wonderwall in a drunken haze, or chilled out to the wonderous (and somewhat overblown in reality) Champagne Supernova? My others favourites are the majestic Slide Away (it was a pleasure to be reminded of how good this is) and the Definately Maybe selections Supersonic and Live Forever.

Less memorable are the leaden Lyla and Songbird proves that letting Liam write some songs was probably not such a good idea.

I'm surprised that Whatever is missing (although I belive this is due to songwriting credit issues with Neil Innes) given that it was a single that was never on an album, and is perhaps one of my favourite Oasis tracks of all. However the very nature of this collection means that not everybody's favourite tracks can make the cut.

In the final reckoning, if faced with the choice between this 2 disc "best of" and the three afformentioned classic albums (Definately Maybe, Morning Glory and The Masterplan) I'd pick the three albums every time. Rumours (led by Noel himself) that a "singles" package will follow suit hardly make this compilation any more "must-have" either, especially as there is no brand new material to speak of. Still it proves that their early output still stands up today, and that not all of the post Morning Glory stuff was a bad as people made out. It does provide a slight tinge of sadness though as you think that the true glory days are long gone and are never to return.

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