Time flies does it? Well no, actually Oasis. Whilst time may have taken flight during your hedonistic and decadent Britpop days – the days when both you and New Labour seemed to work – time has since bumbled clumsily against a light, and assumed all the volation of an obese penguin. Time couldn’t have gone much slower. Yours was a recording career that went on, like an old, over-the-hill boxer, far far too long. You limped painfully into the 21st century, proclaiming from an ever-crumbling rooftop with increasingly irresolute voices that you were still the ‘greatest band in the World.’ But you weren’t. 1994-2009? It felt a lot longer.
Or so the cliche would have it. Except, for all the truth in the
assertion that Oasis went on too long, this record begins to put some of their record straight. You see, whilst this ‘best of’ compilation is the inevitable result of Noel’s decision to rid himself of his turbulent younger brother and the funeral to Oasis’ protracted death, it also serves a very useful purpose. Through the always-clearer prism of retrospect, we begin to see that the Mancunian brothers constantly offered us some excellent tracks, even from their ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ death bed. Beginning with ‘Supersonic’; middling with ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’, and ending with the likes of ‘The Shock Of Lightning’, it’s evident that whilst the latter albums may have only offered one or two gems as opposed to albums full, they nevertheless still had some great tracks to give.
The omission of ‘Champagne Supernova’ and ‘Rock and Roll Star’ may have helped to make this reflection of their musical legacy less top-heavy chronologically; but the inclusion of the likes of 2002’s ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’, 2005’s ‘Lyla’ and 2007’s ‘Lord Don’t Slow Me Down’ seems justified.
There’s a very real feeling here that, perhaps, the single quality never waned after all; it was more that we all got so carried away by the way Oasis came swearing and snarling into British music originally. The heady early days of New Labour and ‘Cool Britannia’ served as the backdrop to their sound. As people turned on Labour, they turned too on Oasis; and the days of power for both were numbered.
Nevertheless, Oasis were the band that just kept giving. The criticisms of their music are too oft-levelled, and too much the preserve of snotty music elitists to mention in detail here.
Suffice to say that, yes, they stole (I prefer magpied) from just about every British guitar band before them, and yes, they never developed much musically. But Time Flies… goes some way to quelling the idea that their best work was expended by album number three. Clearly, as this record shows, even at the end of their spectacular rise and fall together, they never lost the knack of writing anthems for the masses.
Harry Milburn 14/06/2010