It’s where we both belong.

June 19, 2009

Oasis – Standing on the Shoulder of Giants
Part 5: The final single.

In a lot of ways, the release of the “Sunday Morning Call” seemed incredibly foreboding.

For one, it was released when the band was splintered — Liam, Andy, Gem, Alan and replacement guitarist Matt Deighton were out making summer festival rounds while Noel sat at home in England, still fuming from a fight that he’d had with Liam in Barcelona that prompted him to all but quit the group entirely. From a promotional standpoint, it must be somewhat handcuffing to not be able to perform the brand new single, but Noel did deliver a stripped down performance of the song for Top of the Pops back home.

For two, the single remains the only release in Oasis history not to feature Liam at all. The first thing I remember about the single itself is actually reading a posting on whatever Oasis message board I frequented at the time and someone calling it “Just the Noel and Alan single,” which by all accounts and measures, it is. So in effect, you had a Noel Gallagher solo EP here, and a well rounded one at that — an introspective song, a flag waver, and a full out rocker. It’s almost like he’s serving notice on record that he can manage just fine himself (a feat he’d proved live several times before).

For three, look at the cover. Does it not say, “Alright, this party’s over”?

In the end, the single proved only to close the book on Oasis’ somewhat difficult transitional period — a couple months later, the band was fully reunited and making music as a collective five-piece again, and Noel got back to writing consistently even material without extracurricular influence.  In looking back this week, I realized I kind of set out what I didn’t want to do by ramming home how uneven all this material was, but I still say there is some great work among the ruins.

The point is, it’s not worth binning everything Oasis put out in the year 2000.

Oasis – Carry Us All
A lot of fans got a preview of this song when a the bootleg of the demos Noel had compiled for the album was released, and while at first I was fascinated with this song’s demo, I think it was because it was just an opportunity to hear a new Oasis song (see this series’ first post on the increasing waiting time between albums). The polished version here is nice and has a bit of heft to it, but at the end of the day, it still kind of sounds like a misfired attempt at doing a Neil Young-type protest song. I’ve always enjoyed Noel’s religious one-liners and this is no exception. I also enjoy the phrase “ten bob revolution.” But how, I ask, is faith in what you got going to carry us all? Still, this is a lot better than that cover of “Helter Skelter.”

Oasis – Full On
The downside of this era’s B-sides is that unless you were a fan, you just weren’t hearing them. That does a great disservice to this song and “One Way Road.” For whatever reason, The Masterplan compilation seemed to close the general public’s interest in Oasis, and all the B-sides from 2000 on seem almost to be like fan club exclusives. They don’t find their way into live sets like B-sides did in the 1990s, the singles aren’t selling at the volume they did in Oasis’ heyday, and maybe there is a justifiable argument in putting something like “Carry Us All” up against “The Masterplan” or “Helter Skelter” up against “Cum On Feel the Noize.” Maybe the songwriting wasn’t as stellar and maybe the covers weren’t as inspired. But see, I think this song would blow the roof off any Oasis set, and everyone who says Noel just can’t sing rock tunes like Liam can deserves to give this song a listen. Sure, I’d love to hear Liam’s take on this, but Noel’s really roaring on that chorus. This is a tune.

As far as the video goes, it seems to be kind of a sideways take on “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” but in the pantheon of the band’s videos, I’ve never rated this one that highly. Aside from the “Go Let It Out” video, all the ones they did in this era just visibly bore a “Do we really have to do this?” vibe about them. It looked stylish, sure, but it doesn’t really sell me.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series and are a little more appreciative of the era than Noel seems to be nowadays. Have a fabulous weekend, all.

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