If Oasis was to be an actor, then it would probably be the late Rodney Dangerfield (at least here, in America). The band just “don’t get no respect” in the states. How else would you describe a group whose first two albums, Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, consistently get put in the top 20 albums of all-time in the UK, but here in the American press, neither are ever even mentioned as one of the top albums of the 90’s, let alone all-time? That was a rhetorical question, by the way.
Things seem to be on the rise for the Brits though, especially of late. Since its latest effort, Dig Out Your Soul, was leaked, the praise has been seemingly non-stop. After all, so far the seventh studio album has been compared to everything from The Beatles classic, Revolver to Radiohead’s Kid A, at least according to Ryan Adams. So it that enough praise to warrant a listen? Let’s just say this is the album that could finally get Oasis the “respect” they deserve.
After the release of landmark album Definitely Maybe, Oasis was introduced to America with its huge hit, “Wonderwall”. More importantly, America was introduced to Liam and Noel Gallagher. If anybody was meant to have a VH1 “Roc Doc” about them, it’s these guys. Due to their over-the-top attitudes, blatant drug use, and overwhelming cockiness, the British tabloids seemingly ran a new “shocking” account of the constantly fighting brothers almost daily. Hell, their now infamous brawl with Blur put the “feud” of Kanye West and 50 Cent to shame. It was their antics that helped make them so drawing to fans, who were all looking for something different than the self-loathing grunge music that proliferated across America.
Sadly, however, it was their egos that led them to rush and finish their third album, the self-admitted mistake, Be Here Now. After two more disappointing efforts, 2000’s Standing On The Shoulders of GiantsHeathen Chemistry, the band released a much more balanced album in 2005, Don’t Believe The Truth. However, none of the aforementioned albums brought back Oasis’s recognition as rock pioneers. While each release had some very good moments, and a couple of very solid singles, as a whole they couldn’t hold up to the band’s first two albums. Rest assured, Dig Out Your Soul completely stops that pattern. It is by far and away Oasis’s best album in quite some time. and 2002’s uneven
Dig Out Your Soul starts out with a bang in “Bag It Up”. This opener should be an instant live favorite with its over the top chorus and groove-able beat, thanks to current drummer, Zak Starkey. Speaking of danceable grooves, “The Turning” shows what Oasis does best: wonderfully overdramatic choruses and some very Beatles-esque guitar riffs. With a heavy bass line and an intro similar to The Doors “Five To One”, “Waiting For The Rapture” is a third person account of falling in love and waiting for one’s (Noel’s) lover to, “Come get (him) off the merry-go-round.” “The Shock Of Lightning” is yet another standout on the album. Starkey’s driving rhythms, combined with Noel’s guitar, drive this song, as Liam belt’s out, “Love is a time machine/ Up on the silver screen/ It’s all in my mind.”
Personally, I never thought I would see the day that Liam Gallagher would out write his brother Noel. Ironically, this is the same Liam who wrote the god-awful “Little James” for Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. “I’m Outta Time” shows just how far Liam has come in the song writing department. The lyrics on this track show a sense of vulnerability that was lacking from the same man who wrote, “I’m singing this song/ for you and your mom/ and that’s all/ it won’t be long/ until everyone is gone.” Liam may take his “I’m John Lennon reincarnated” thing a little far at times, but it works brilliantly in this simple little song about love.
“(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady” is another rhythm driven track, bearing a similar clap and stomp pattern to “Give Peace a Chance”, while “Falling Down” is the best Noel sung song since “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. It’s a shame that Liam and Noel didn’t write the remaining tracks on the album. The songs “To Be Where There’s Life” and “The Nature of Reality” are completely forgettable and pale in comparison to the rest of the tracks. It’s a shame too, as poor lyrics rather ruin a catchy song in “The Nature of Reality”.
Dig Out Your Soul ends on the Liam written “Soldier On”. The bass driven track offers the most psychedelic sound of the whole album. An echo of Liam’s voice is prominent throughout while he pleads to keep “soldiering on.”
In the end, this is the album that Oasis has been trying to make for thirteen years. It gives fans another record to finally put up with its first two albums. It’s not quite the reinvention that Kid A or Revolver was, but Dig Out Your Soul does what Oasis does best: a back-to-basic rock approach with wonderfully crafted pop lyrics.