Oasis: Stop the Clocks

Whatever you think of the Faces/Beatles-chord pilfering and Liam's ability to turn "shine" into a three-syllable insult, when these guys are on, they float right over their own press.


Stop The Clocks

Label: Columbia
US Release Date: 2006-11-21
UK Release Date: 2006-11-20

Co-headling this year's edition of the Thanksgiving Week Greatest Hits Festival: Oasis, who are putting up a typically grand show in pretending to have been dragged into the best-of thing but are probably as well-versed in such a disc's place in a band's biography as anyone. Not counting Axl, has anyone in recent years played the Dimwitted Disenchanted Rock Star role with more aggressive panache than the Gallagher brothers, one of the real world's best answers to Itchy and Scratchy?

Such is the weird, still temporary verdict on a group that, since its very first days, has been the epic version of a spoiled, rich-prick cousin -- yep, he can be an irritating bastard, but his toys are pretty super. Oasis' hits set arrives well after their probably inevitable slide toward diminishing returns but well before they skidded into comprehensive Behind the Music-ism. Luckily for them, and the always entertaining British press herd, their fame will persist as long they can continue getting in occasional fisticuffs and unearthing late-period gems like "Lyla" every now and again.

But it's hard to view the 18-track Stop the Clocks as anything other than the end of an era (and not just as it conveniently ends the band's relationship with Sony). Noel once claimed that Oasis would only consent to a best-of when the band inevitably imploded; the opportunity to get out of his deal, and the rather remarkable notion that hasn't happened yet, seems to have changed his mind.

He also managed to secure creative control of the tracklist here, which makes for a pretty fascinating study. Of the 18 tracks, Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory get five songs each, of course; Heathen Chemistry and Standing on the Shoulder of Giants get one apiece. Singles and ephemera get four, while Be Here Now doesn't even rank that AT&T song. Such an approach sure beats the "14 Singles and Two Old B-Sides We Re-Recorded" plan, and there's appealing self-awareness in the brothers' implicit admission that things haven't been all morning-glory of late. Still, the whole shebang is one of those two-disc sets in which the longer is 44 minutes; with very little editing effort Columbia could have been saved some pressing-plant money.

But when has Oasis given a damn about editing? Let 'em have it. These are monster songs, conceived big and uncoiled bigger and never with anything less than Super Bowl-halftime aspirations, even if they haven't got there much in a while. Whatever you think of the Faces/Beatles-chord pilfering and Liam's ability to turn "shine" into a three-syllable insult, when these guys are on, they float right over their own press. The aging process has left "Rock N' Roll Star", "Cigarettes & Alcohol" and "Champagne Supernova" as untouched as Barry Manilow's mug shot. "Wonderwall" is "Wonderwall" in all its bombastic glory; debate amongst yourselves. And what other band could end a hits comp with a song called "Don't Look Back in Anger" and make it seem like some kind of muttered sarcastic retort?

Stop the Clocks ends up the sound of a band who enviably never had to consider what judicious restraint might sound like, and what happens when rock-star dreams go unfiltered by silly pittances like humility, showing up places on time and not frequently punching your brother in the nads. It's just rock 'n' roll. Anything less would be some other band, probably one smaller than Jesus.


From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.