Oasis ‘Time Flies’ – Review

16 Jun

You either like Oasis or you don’t – they are the definitive Marmite band. To some they are the group of the people, the very best since The Beatles, to others they aren’t so much the ‘people’s band’ as the ‘hooligans’ band’, and there’s is music for the meatheads of the world. Either way, you surely can’t deny that they are one of the most important British band’s of all time, and their impact on culture has been inescapable. It’s only fitting therefore that they have a decent greatest hits to commemorate their legacy.

They’ve tried it before with ‘Stop The Clocks, an album that collected 18 of their very best singles, album tracks and B-sides. It was a great album but it wasn’t the definitive package it should have been. For one thing It completely ignored ‘Be Here Now’ and the omission of some of the band’s best singles in favour of b-sides (albeit much-loved b-sides) and album tracks was questionable to say the least. It was Oasis as they wanted to be remembered, but it was not an acurate picture of the group that survived until 2009.

Second time lucky then.

‘Time Flies’ takes the more traditional route of rounding up all the band’s singles, but where as ‘Stop the Clocks’ was too selective and obscure, this time they have gone too far in the opposite direction. Because this album contains all the group’s singles this is far too long to listen to comfortably in one sitting (it’s well over two hours), and as a result you kind of wonder what the point of this is. It is also the case that there has been no quality control – even if in retrospect a single is rubbish (as the band say some of these songs are) they appear on here simply because they were singles, whilst some genuine classics are omitted because they weren’t singles. It’s a tricky balance to get right, and Oasis have failed twice now, but all the classic greatest hits have found a good balance (Oasis should take tips off their old Rival’s Blur who did a good job with ‘Midlife: A Begginers Guide’ last year).

So Time Flies’ is missing some of the band’s best work, (‘Half The World Away’, ‘The Masterplan’ and ‘Slide Away’) whilst there is some rubbish on here (‘Falling Down’, ‘Who Feels Love’). And this time around there is no hiding from the fact that Oasis’s career expanded past Britpop’s demise. It’s true that Oasis released very little of substance in the last ten years but acutually most of what is worth hearing is rounded up here and for the most part it holds up very well alongside their early stuff. Of Course ‘Roll With It’, ‘Live Forever’, ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ are established classics, but later singles such as ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’, ‘little By Little’ and ‘I’m Outta Time’ also sound brilliant. It’s not all plain sailing, the random (some may say bizarre) track order makes ‘Time Flies’ harder work than it could have been, but it at least by placing the new stuff alongside the classics, they make you reconsider the band’s later work.

However Oasis were very much a ‘mid’ band. Their songs are almost entirely mid paced and they aren’t particularly heavy nor are they that breezy. And they were a band who peaked and then burnt out in the mid-90’s and defined that period more than any other band. Britain hasn’t produced a band like Oasis since and probably never will again – they were the last old school rock band, and as so many imitators have proved in their wake what they did was nowhere near as simple as they made it seem. This is not the definitive document of their career but it is a nice reminder of just what it was they achieved.

8.5/10

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