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Oasis, "Dig Out Your Soul" (Reprise) [1.5 STARS]

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Q.) What's the difference between Oasis and Lenny Kravitz?

A.) A Mancunian accent.

Wait, that's a bit unfair: America's hippie-dippy retro-rocker never wrote a classic-rock rip-off/homage as powerful as those on "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?," the 1995 album that, it has long since become clear, is the best main man Noel Gallagher will ever give us. But neither Noel nor Lenny is the least bit concerned with stretching his artistic horizons. "It's a working-class thing... I'm not an experimenter," Noel said in one recent Gallagherism, while in another, he noted, "I'm trying salmon, that's as far as my interest in new things goes."

Fair enough, mate. But if that's the case, why the heck should we bother to buy your seventh album of alleged new material?

Blatantly unoriginal or not, if Noel could continue to deliver singles as mindlessly catchy as "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova," Oasis would still be a guilty but genuine pleasure 17 years after it emerged during the heyday of Britpop and alternative rock. But "Dig Out Your Soul" is a plodding and lazy disc, with the rhythms too enervated to rise above the bombast of the wall of guitars, the melodic drones not nearly melodic enough and Noel contributing a mere six of the 11 tunes. (Brother Liam's three are, as has often been the case, eminently dismissible; the same is true of Gem Archer's sitar-decorated "To Be Where There's Life" and, sadly, "The Nature of Reality" by bassist Andy Bell, who proved as guitarist and co-leader of the late, great Ride that he was capable of infinitely better than this tossed-off blues stomper.)

What does that leave us? Well, we can assert that "Dig Out Your Soul" is a (slightly) better disc than the other three Oasis has given us in the new millennium, but that certainly is damning with faint praise. We can play the laughable lyrics game. ("Love is a litany, a magical mystery"; "Gotta get me a doctor with a remedy/I'm gonna take a walk with the Monkey Man!"; "I hear your soul song singing from a fire in the sky.") Or we can count the references to the boys' heroes. (The riff from the Doors' "Five to One" pilfered for "Waiting for the Rapture"; the John Lennon sample in "I'm Outta Time"; the "White Album" vibe of "(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady"; the "Dear Prudence" coda in "The Turning.")

Then again, we could just admit it isn't worth the effort, since Oasis itself clearly can't be bothered to break a sweat on our behalf.

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10 Comments

Had to comment on Greg Kot's review and now I have to do the same here. Leave aside past associations, previous Oasis albums, and the Gallagher brothers in general. How does this album stand on it's own. If you ask me, it is great! There isn't a bad tune on here. Shock to the Lightning, The Turning amongst others are just great songs. The greatness of Oasis during the morning glory days wasn't the catchy melodies of the songs. But the gusto with which they were delivered. Oasis worked on an emotional level then and that has returned. Albeit in a different sort of way. This album doesn't sound like their first two classics. Shock of the lightning and Aint got Nothin are plodding? C'mon, you know that isn't the case.
Start to finish, this is a great album. The songs are all uniformly good interspersed with some truly great ones. The band plays with a vitality and energy not heard in over a decade. The instrumentation is great and is all very well produced.
Hear this album as if you are hearing this band for the first time, then write a review. I am sure you will you humming and singing in no time.
Love your Sound Opinions show. The Dawn of Metal episode was the greatest ever.

Two things:

1) Jim, you're crazy. Morning Glory was fine, but the Gallagher Brothers' true semi-masterpiece is that record's follow-up, Be Here Now. Why? For exactly the reasons that everything they've done since then has sucked: its sheer pomposity. Nine of the eleven tracks (not counting the utterly overblown reprise of "All Around the World) run over five minutes. "Magic Pie," stretching seven minutes itself, is everything Lenny Kravitz ever tried to be but failed so very, very miserably. "Stand By Me" and "Don't Go Away," while virtually the same song (and also the same song as "Don't Look Back in Anger" from Morning Glory), are still wonderfully catchy tunes. The epic, nearly ten-minute "All Around the World" just keeps going and going and going like that little Energizer bunny -- and why? No reason! It's completely ludicrous! Be Here Now is, for these reasons, the best Meat Loaf record that Meat Loaf never put out.

2) Rishi, you're crazy, too. Dude, really? Dig Out Your Soul is just boring! If this had been the first time I'd ever heard Oasis, I never would've paid attention to them; they sound like a second-rate Third Eye Blind with slightly Beatlesque (is there a greater banality in all of rock critic-dom?) bent. Oasis was never a great band (though, as stated above, I will defend Be Here Now all the way), but they've put out enough decent music in the past to make me listen. No more. I'm with Jim 100% on this record; it truly is "a plodding and lazy disc" that would probably make the afore-mentioned Kravitz embarrassed to release (and remember, Kravitz did that awful Circus record).

Well you are clearly not an Oasis fan very harsh review and pretty biased i wont go nuts like the rest of these clowns have because a review is just opinion and no offense you do look the like the kind of guy that wouldnt enjoy Oasis or whatever anyway thats beside the point. I suggest this paper or website or whatever it is hires a new reviewer that will fairly review things in the future. And how are Oasis a guilty pleasure the first two are classic albums pretty embarassing review in all fairness.

haha cant u tell your dislike oasis, and thats what your reviewing, not the new oasis album but the reasons why you dont like them, this is the worst review ive ever read but i can tell you wear to get some tips from... the people leaving comments.

The Importance of Being Idle, Let There Be Love, Gas Panic, Little By Little, Go Let it Out, The Hindu Times, Stop Crying Your Heart Out, She is Love, F---in' in the Bushes, Lyla, Songbird & Born on a Different Cloud (The last two being written by LIAM)are Brilliant songs & are all from their last 3 albums. The Turning, Bag it Up, Waiting for the Rapture, Falling Down, I'm Outta Time (Also written by LIAM...) & The Neature of Reality (Written by ANDY) are all great! & are all from Dig Out Your Soul. I'd also like to point out that the reason I like Oasis is because they sound the way they do (obviously) so if they changed the way their music sounded by experimenting or as you would say... "Stretched their artistic horizons" I wouldn't like them anymore. If you don't like the way they sound then fine, I don't care as it's your opinion & not everyone likes the same things but don't say the band should change so they fit into what you like, just listen to a different band & stop spending your time moaning about one you don't like. By the Way, "I'm trying salmon, that's as far as my interest in new things goes." was a quote from Liam, not Noel.

your a prick

Jim,

Your review on Oasis's latest effort "Dig Out Your Soul" seemed dismissive of a top notch, quality album. Noel Gallagher lived 27 years on this earth before he made money hand over fist in one of the greatest bands of all time; selling over 50 MILLION albums. What is so wrong with coming from a working-class background? Secondly, you failed to cite the second quotation about salmon. Liam, NOT Noel discussed this in his latest interview with Q Magazine. It would be benificial to your readers if you were to properly source your quotes.
There is nothing mindlessly catchy about any of their early songs. A hit is a hit. This displays that you are unwilling to give their latest work a true listen if you disregard early, classic Oasis hits.
Liam's three songs showed an improvement upon "Don't believe the truth." "I'm outta time" gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. It sounded as if it could have been found on Lennon's "Double Fantasy." I was shocked when I found that Liam wrote "Ain't got nothin'" That song sounded as if it were a lost song off of "Definitely Maybe." "Soldier on" was a proper song concluding this latest statement from Oasis.
As far as lyrical content...although they may appear simple to you, they are straight out nods to some of the greatest songs written about the same topics. "Gotta get me a doctor with a remedy/I'm gonna take a walk with the Monkey Man!"; these lyrics made me instantly think of the Beatles song "Dr. Robert" and "Monkeyman" by the Rolling Stones...you have to dig deeper my friend. You have to dig out the soul of the album.
In defense of Andy and Gem...Andy's tune had a tinge of "Helter Skelter" followed by a rock/blues groove...sounded great to me...the drop d tuning on the guitars helped punctuate the heavy ideas on the song. Gem's tune, "To be where there's life" was great too. What huge band has recorded a song WITHOUT a guitar that sounded so good? That pounding bassline carries the song start to finish...great stuff.
I was thoroughly happy listening to this latest Oasis album. I look forward to seeing them live in NYC December 17th. You should check them out in Chicago when they come to town so you can see what you've missed out on in your review.

Steve Bushnell
Devout Oasis fan

Jim DeRogatis,

I find your review of the new Oasis album eye opening on multiple fronts. First, your review is not an accurate appraisal of the seventh studio album from Oasis. Secondly, there is great evidence to suggest that you may not have even listened to the album but instead opted to steal from your colleagues, the growing practice of comatose journalism. Thirdly, your review indicates that you may be ignorant of the historical backgrounds of the artists you review. Perhaps you are unfit for the position you hold at the Chicago Sun Times as you appear to lack musical expertise making you the newspaper’s Kimbo Slice. Lastly, regardless of how you cooked up this review, the irrelevant content deployed, lack of substance, and overall shortness makes this publication unprofessional for a major newspaper. One could find a better review in an elementary school newspaper. Think about it Jimbo Kimbo.

Your review begins by bizarrely comparing Oasis to Lenny Kravitz for supposedly both failing to be “concerned with stretching (his) artistic horizons”. Jim DeRogatis, you fail to elaborate how either Lenny Kravitz or Oasis has failed to progress as music artists. Serving up a random Noel Gallagher quote as innuendo alone does not suffice. What’s more is that your review makes no substantive mention of Don’t Believe The Truth, the sixth studio album by Oasis. How can it be said that there was no progress when you haven’t even mentioned the previous interval on the Oasis line of progression? Perhaps you’ve never listened to Don’t Believe The Truth.

Jim DeRogatis, you then go on to say that Lenny “never wrote a classic-rock rip-off/homage as powerful as those on "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?”. (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? shortly elevated Oasis to an international superstardom rivaled by none other, not even the Beatles. Note that I am not claiming that Oasis ever sustained popularity as the Beatles did, but they did reach a higher mark for a brief moment. Oasis is from England; it is the population of England that propelled Oasis to the top. How could this have happened in the homeland of the Beatles if what you say is true and Oasis were “rip-off” artists? The English would not have had it. They would have boycotted the next album, Be Here Now. We all know that Be Here Now is the fastest selling album of all time. Think about it Jimbo Kimbo.

There is homage paid in (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, and this does not diminish Oasis in any way. Even the Beatles minus their extreme narcissism would have paid homage to their heroes. Remember, this was a band that booted out the original drummer because he was more popular with the female fans. As for “rip-offs”, there are none Jimmy Boy. Just because Oasis introduced the song Don’t Look Back In Anger with a Lennon piano tune, doesn’t mean that the song was a “rip-off”. The song itself, is in no way similar to anything of the Beatles. Writing a song about the movie-industry coined Wonder wall (that George Harrison happened to write the soundtrack for) does not make the song in any way less unique. Jim DeRogatis, your problem is that you are deaf to substance. You are only good for hitting up wikipedia, browsing album song titles, and, when you have to write a review, scouring through other reviews that suit your tone.

Also Jim, I find it very convenient that you only mention songs from (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?. How come you never mention Live Forever? Is it because you know that Live Forever consistently ranks as one of the greatest songs of all time regardless of who is conducting the survey? This information would undermine any credibility of your review. I imagine you already figured this into the equation, huh Jimmy Baby? Pardon me for using the term imagine in my last sentence. I hope you won’t label my a thief.

Jim DeRogatis, in what little you wrote, there are multiple instances of misrepresentation and cheap-shot innuendo. You dishonestly mislead the reader into thinking Dig Out Your Soul track I’m Outta Time is a Lennon rip-off by claiming that Oasis has sampled John Lennon. In truth, Oasis has sampled a John Lennon quote from John Lennon’s last interview. The quote is less than 10 seconds long, and it does not come in the form of song lyrics. This is hardly relevant to the equity of the music. You say that Oasis today stands “17 years after it emerged during the heyday of Britpop”. Oasis didn’t release their first album until 1994. They reached the peak of their fame around 1994 to 1996. This is when they emerged. Seventeen years ago was when the band was founded. Either you are off base on dates, or this is another case of innuendo- trying to make the band seem old in your review. Your mention to “the heyday of Britpop” is your way of implying that it was a crazy time when anything flew, and Oasis emerged by circumstance rather than talent. Shame on you Jimbo Slice!

Jim, when it comes to reviewing the tracks, you stand in stark contrast with many critics. You call Liam Gallagher penned I’m Outta Time and Gem Archer penned To Be Where There’s Life (by the way, did you mention this track because the long title would help you fill up your column) eminently dismissible. Although I will only point out how wrongly you’ve portrayed these two songs, you have nonetheless done the same with others on Dig Out Your Soul.

Pete Paphides of The Times raves that “Gem Archer’s sole compositional contribution, To Be Where There’s Life, charges along on a bassline, played by Bell, that may push Paul McCartney’s eyebrows up into the realms of physical implausibility”. Freelance journalist Marvin J Marcus states that "To Be Where There's Life" is another highlight. Sitar + great groove + stunning bass line = awesome. And once again it doesn't sound quite like anything Oasis has recorded before”. The Cleveland Leader says “the track has a gritty Liam Gallagher vocal, a mean bass line, a sitar, and bravely forgoes the use of a guitar” in a review titled “A Lot to Dig on New Oasis Album 'Dig Out Your Soul’”. Gigwise proclaims of To Be Where There’s Life that “the plunge back into the verse and the scream of “Dig Out Your Soul” is the intelligent equivalent of an hour listening to Stephen Fry”.

Of I’m Outta Time the Cleveland Leader says “when Yoko Ono, a known admirer of the Gallagher brothers, hears the track it will likely bring a tear to her eye and she will likely be proud of Liam's most solid songwriting effort to date”. As many Oasis fans initially thought I’m Outta Time was written by Noel Gallagher, Marvin J Marcus calls the Liam Gallagher hit “a true standout track”. Gigwise calls it “one of the most talked about tracks” that “does not disappoint”. The song “showcases Liam for the great songwriter he has finally become”.

Jim, it is untrue to say that Dig Out You Soul’s rhythms are “too enervated to rise above the bombast of the wall of guitars” and “the melodic drones not nearly melodic enough”. This same argument has been used against past albums by Oasis, but no other critic is saying so about the new album. They are saying the opposite. What’s interesting is that if you search for “Dig Out Your Soul bombast” in Google, every result will be a review of the new album. They do not use the term bombast in a negative way toward Oasis as you have. Did the word “bombast” make it into your hit job against oasis because it was in your consciousness via the scanning of reviews in order to squirt out your own review?

Jim, you call the album lyrics laughable, and then you mention a bunch of them by writing "Love is a litany, a magical mystery"; "Gotta get me a doctor with a remedy / I'm gonna take a walk with the Monkey Man!"; "I hear your soul song singing from a fire in the sky." What’s wrong with those lyrics? They look fine to me.

You say that Get off Your High Horse (Lady) has the vibe of the Beatle’s White Album. In reality, the rhythm is a standard jazz rhythm used by all jazz artists. I don’t know how one can evoke White Album. Lets face it Jim, the Beatles didn’t invent the guitar. They didn’t invent rock in roll. They don’t hold a patent on the genre or the instruments of the genre. When it came to rhyming, they used ever common word in the English language (away, day, stay, yesterday, etc.). At least Oasis is willing to get creative in such ways as rhyming “calling” and “jump walling” (To Be Where There’s Life). At least they go beyond kindergarten vocabulary.

Furthermore Oasis has written every song that has appeared on their albums. In fact, most have been written by Noel Gallagher. The Beatles’ Please Please Me has 12 songwriters credited other than the band members. Is that the artist progression that you like Jim? A band gradually writing their own songs. It’s true that Oasis went down hill from between (What’s The Story) Morning Glory and Don’t Believe The Truth, but then they bounced back. The Beatles never bounced back; minus George Harrison (who never got much time to shine with the Beatles) all solo efforts were watered-down compared to the band collaborations.

Head to head Noel Gallagher could match anyone. Oasis is back. Oasis is greater than ever!

- "Brother Liam's three are, eminently dismissible; the same is true of Gem Archer's and, sadly, "The Nature of Reality" by bassist Andy Bell" -
Dismissible? i'm outta time and soldier on are Great tunes! Gems is the best hes ever done and andys is not that good but not that bad ; and The lyrics are alright ( yes, i'll give u the bit Love is a litany wich sucks).
And oasis are nothing like lenny kravitz cos he SUCKS!
and so does ur review , and i'm sure uve just had a quick listen.

Definitely Maybe was a fantastic album. It was also era defining (90's english indie rock).

Whats the story.. was their commercial masterpiece. Half of it was magnificent (Champagne supernovae etc). Hald was not so good.

Everything Oasis have done since has been embarassing and pointless.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on October 7, 2008 2:48 PM.

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