Oasis: Time Flies…1994-2009

RIYL: The Beatles, The Faces, The Beatles

Here’s the straight statistical dope about Time Flies…1994-2009, the new 27-track two-disc set of nearly every song Oasis released as a single: they had eight #1 singles in their native UK, and 23 Top Ten singles overall. In fact, only two of their singles didn’t crack the UK Top Ten. They were even huge in America for a while; their 1996 album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? went quadruple platinum, and the albums on each side of it, 1994’s Definitely Maybe and 1997’s Be Here Now, sold a million copies as well. Radiohead would ultimately steal their crown, but for a moment, Oasis were England’s biggest band by a mile and one of the biggest bands in the world.

They are also quite possibly the most overrated band to ever walk the earth.

Oasis - Time Flies - COLOR1

Which is not to suggest that the band had nothing to offer; principal songwriter Noel Gallagher came up with some genius moments of modern-day rock riffage when he put some effort into it, namely “Wonderwall,” “Champagne Supernova” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” Most of Gallagher’s songs, though, are all pomp and no heart, tailor-made to get the festival crowds waving their arms but are otherwise empty, hollow attempts at Beatlesque grandeur. Rarely have songs tried so hard to sound so effortless.

Effort is only half the problem here, though; what Oasis really could have used is an editor. Was there any reason for “All Around the World” to be over nine and a half minutes long (two key changes!), or for “D’You Know What I Mean” – which is surely the inspiration for “You All Everybody,” the one hit wonder by “Lost” castmate Charlie’s band Drive Shaft – to clock in just under eight minutes? Even the songs that have a decent hook, like “Some Might Say,” don’t know when to walk the fuck away. Thirteen of the 27 songs here have run times over five minutes, and there is frankly no reason for it. A song need not be long in order to be epic; that’s a distinction Oasis never understood.

One thing working in the favor of Time Flies… is that it’s priced to sell, going for the price of a traditional single disc. Smart move, that, since anyone casually interested in the band will now get the songs they want plus a boatload more without spending much more money. If only the band had been as economical with the songs themselves. (Big Brother/Columbia 2010)

Oasis MySpace page
Click to buy Time Flies from Amazon