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Oasis Time Flies…1994 – 2009


The second double-disc compilation of Oasis music to arrive in four years, Time Flies was released shortly after the Gallagher brothers vowed to never work together again, breaking up the band in the process. As four years have gone by and both brothers have moved on to other projects, it’s safe to say Oasis is done, which makes Time Flies the only full-career overview of this great band.

That’s not to say it is comprehensive. The first attempt at an Oasis collection (Stop The Clocks) was compiled by Noel Gallagher and focused almost exclusively on the band’s 1994-96 heyday, allowing space for only four songs after that time. Nevertheless, this included pretty much all of the band’s best songs. Time Flies collects all of the band’s singles (the A-sides), which provides a balanced overview of all seven albums plus a couple of essential non-album singles to complete the set.

Both approaches present a problem; emphasizing two discs on a two-disc collection leads to redundancy and paints an incomplete picture, while selecting only singles leaves out some key album tracks and B-sides that were on par with Oasis’ best work. Plus, not every single deserves to be compiled, particularly from the middle period of the band’s career.

That said, Time Flies is probably the best place for complete neophytes to start, as it gives them all of the band’s biggest songs and provides enough glimpses of each album to warrant further investigation. Make no mistake, the music here is some of the best of the ‘90s and only gets better with each passing year, while the newer tracks certainly hold their own with the classics.

Oasis updated the sounds of ‘60s British rock with a punk sneer and cock-rock ambition, lending a sweeping majesty and working-class attitude to their songs while finding a little room for emotional resonance. The swagger of “Supersonic,” the party anthem “Cigarettes & Alcohol,” and the melodic grandeur of “Champagne Supernova” and “Live Forever” all showcase different sides of the band, while “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back In Anger” rewrote the template for what a rock ballad can be. These six are among the band’s best works, and they are all here.

Unlike Stop The Clocks, this compilation finds space for a couple of songs from Be Here Now, both overblown epics, and includes the excellent acoustic buzz of “Go Let It Out” from Standing On The Shoulder of Giants. Although Heathen Chemistry was not a great album, “The Hindu Times” and “Songbird” are probably the two best songs from it, while the tracks from Don’t Believe The Truth are fine, if hardly up to the high standards set by everything else.

As far as career-closing albums go, Dig Out Your Soul is one of the best, a melancholy yet alluring rush that replaces the snotty party-‘til-you-puke approach with a world-weary journeyman rock approach. “The Shock Of The Lightning,” “I’m Outta Time,” and “Falling Down” are not only three of the best songs from that disc, but three of the best since 1997’s Be Here Now.

The single-only “Whatever” and “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” make an appearance here; the former has never been available on a compilation until now and is a pretty good song, if a bit of a dry run for the more majestic “Champagne Supernova.”

For casual fans, this is all the Oasis they need, and it is a better introduction to the band’s catalog as a whole, although Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory are masterworks that deserve to be owned, end of story. Sure, there are a few album tracks missing (“Morning Glory” and “Rock And Roll Star” come to mind), as well as a couple of the classic B-sides (“The Masterplan,” “Acquiesce”), and including them in place of a couple of the dull singles like “Lyla” would have made this a perfect overview. As it is, Time Flies is merely a near-flawless collection of songs from one of the great rock bands of the last 20 years.

April 8, 2013 Posted by | Oasis Time Flies...1994 - 2009 | | Leave a comment