Outta Time

The 10 Best Oasis Songs, Post-'Be Here Now'

by Brice Ezell

16 August 2012

 

5 - 1

 
5. “Bag It Up”
(Dig Out Your Soul, 2008)


One of the vocal tactics the Gallaghers didn’t do enough was sing in alternate verses or in tandem. (No doubt the brothers’ constant feuding contributed to each sibling singing alone on their respective tracks.) When the two came together, the results were often fantastic, especially on cuts like “Acquiesce”. On “Bag It Up”, Liam tries something different: harmonizing with himself. I’s amazing how a single vocal trick can enliven a song; using the double-octave vocal trick made famous by Prince was a smart choice by these songwriters, who many saw as on their last legs. (And, of course, they were.) Liam sings about gold, silver, sunshine, and Lady Grey over a boot-stomping riff, creating one hell of an opening for Dig Out Your Soul.

 
4. “She Is Love”
(Heathen Chemistry, 2002)


Forget “Lyla”: if you want to talk about simplicity in the music of Oasis, “She Is Love” is the song to check out. It’s just a shaker, an electric organ, and Noel singing while strumming an acoustic guitar. For a band known for its excesses, for their ballads that aim at dramatic grandeur but usually end up in empty cliché, this poignant little ditty is refreshingly honest. It’s also probably the sweetest thing they’ve ever written—despite having written their fair share of love songs, their boorish behavior in public isn’t the type to lead to success romantically.

 
3. “Guess God Thinks I’m Abel”
(Don’t Believe the Truth, 2005)


The titutlar pun of “Guess God Thinks I’m Abel” is never really quite explained. This is probably for the better; despite all the hits they have, Oasis have never been known for theologically clever jokes. Ostensibly, it’s about feeling always like the loser as the result of some perceived divine fate, but there’s no evidence in the lyrics to suggest this. Pushing aside the witty-yet-confusing title, “Guess God Thinks I’m Abel” is one of Liam’s best vocal performances, delivering the noir quip “You could be my railroad / We’d go on and on” just like a rock star should. And while it may be hard to believe Liam when he sings “No one could break us / No one could take us / If they tried”, for a guy who once sat at the top of the musical world, you at least know he’s been there before.

 
2. “Let There Be Love”
(Don’t Believe the Truth, 2005)


If Oasis had followed the format set by “Let There Be Love” for the many ballads that took up Be Here Now, they might not have suffered the fall from grace they did. Be Here Now cuts like “Stand by Me”, while catchy, were at times dramatic and over-the-top, to the point where any of the intended emotion just clubbed you over the head. On the beautifully, stately “Let There Be Love”, the Gallaghers use just enough of all the musical ingredients to make one of their all-time best ballads. They use strings, but the embellishments don’t overpower the song and transform it into some syrupy feel-good session. The acoustic guitar and piano are lightly played, giving emphasis to the lyrics, which are actually pretty good. (“Who stole the soul from the sun / In a world come undone at the seams?”) And, best of all, the brothers share vocal duties, which, even if only for a second, will make you believe there is—or rather was—some love in Oasis.

 
1. “Little by Little”
(Heathen Chemistry, 2002)


With the greatness of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? still ringing in my mind after discovering Oasis early in high school, I expected a lot from the next Oasis record I was going to buy. In deciding which one to pick, I stumbled upon the song “Little by Little”, one of the singles from Heathen Chemistry. Despite reading some particularly vitriolic reviews of the LP, I was taken immediately by that single. I like Liam’s voice well enough, but Noel’s always took the cake for me, and his performance on “Little by Little” remains my favorite of his to this day. Like “I’m Outta Time”, it can be something as a precursor to Oasis’ eventual dissolution, especially in the chorus lyric “Little by little / The wheels of your life have slowly fallen off / Little by little / You have to give it all in all your life / And all the time I just ask myself / ’Why are you really here?’” At times it’s a drag to listen to celebrities complain about the plights of stardom, as real as they may be—Liam and Noel Gallagher have achieved an amount of fame in 17 years that I won’t likely match in my lifetime. But at the same time these complaints remind us that they’re human, and that they may be in circumstances they hadn’t anticipated. In “Little by Little”, Noel sings the most honest words he’s sung during his tenure in Oasis, and long after Heathen Chemistry’s release their power can still be felt.

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