Time flies. No shit. Man, it feels weird when a band you can remember being new, remember loving their first big single, remember realizing it was actually their second album that you thought was new. But, for better or worse, there was a solid year of junior high when Oasis was my favorite band. Like, ever. Oasis was actually the first big rock band I can remember getting into. I was never in love with Green Day or The Offspring immediately. Maybe Weezer? It starts to get foggy in the elementary school years, but Oasis is something that stands out. I remember watching their MTV unplugged when Liam called in sick and Noel sang the whole show himself. Still, that solo acoustic version of “Morning Glory” is the finest thing I have ever heard associated with that band.
And though my love of “Wonderwall” allowed me to embrace their debut, Definitely Maybe, as well, I was a fickle kid. When Be Here Now came out in the middle of high school, I was into Pearl Jam and ska, it was Orange County after-all. I had already discovered OK Computer and Pavement, the Pixies, Sonic Youth. I still listened to some lame shit, but I was beyond Oasis, too good for that kid stuff. So, not really having given them much attention in more than a decade, I was kind of looking forward to checking out Time Flies 1994-2009, to see which cuts made the collection and to see what the hell the band made in the 1997-2009 period. Unfortunately, it still sounds like music best suited for a tween, with occasional moments that transcend all the bullshit these guys put their fans through. But still, you can’t really pull the collection out of the dark shadow of the fumble that their career was. Yes, they can still play a big show and get people to show up. But I doubt anyone would want to see them twice.
Let’s talk about the good. Well, my beloved version of “Morning Glory” is obviously not on it, but “Rock and Roll Star”* also didn’t make the cut, which surprised me because it seems like such a statement song from their first album**. Another favorite of mine is “Married with Children”, but that one was a long shot at best to0 make this collection. But, most of the classics are here. “Live Forever” sounds every bit as good as it did in the 90’s, still a classic pop hook that lives up to its title. In hindsight though, Oasis seemed to work best in slow songs, like the Noel sung “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and “Don’t Go Away”, perhaps their best studio song. And though a few of the later tracks do sound alright, in particular “Stop Crying Your Heart Out”, most simply follow the same repetitious formula and cast the band as hungover versions of their life-of-the-party selves.
But, most surprising to me was how lame a lot of their more well known songs now sound, clearly not standing up to time’s judgement. “Roll With It” is hardly the rocker it was assumed to be, “Shakermaker”, the song that ripped off a coke jingle now sounds silly because I am actually aware of the coke jingle, and “D’you Know What I Mean” is flat-out dull, though it does sound better without the helicopter noise that the video decided to leave in the mix, a move rap artists would continue til today. The special songs are hardly even noticeable, and shouldn’t be seen as a reason to run out and buy this flop of a collection. Really, the first three albums could supply enough songs for a killer mix from iTunes, and you’d have all your Oasis bases covered. Unlike, say Gin Blossoms, who actually get better as karaoke/nostalgia music, Oasis just kind of makes you embarrassed. At least I was 12, what was everyone else’s excuse?
*Yes, I know this is the first song on the live album included in the comp, but I’m not really going to go into that part of the record in the review. It seems more like a bonus then actually part of the main piece. But if I were to review it, it would not be positive. It is recorded poorly, and the only part worth a listen is “Half A The World Away”, which is a nice moment.
**I am actually listening to the Japanese version of this collection and their were four variations. Basically, mine has “Don’t Go Away” and no “Champagne Supernova”. Seriously, this just shows how dumb these guys are. There should be no discussion about which of these to include on any comp. Use both and discuss which one of the 20 or so bullshit newer songs don’t need to be included.