Oasis doesn’t need an elaborate introduction. The British lads basically had the world by the bollocks since around 1994. You don’t need me to describe Liam and Noel Gallagher, the feisty brothers who made up the core of the band, with Liam on vocals and tambourine duties and Noel as the principal songwriter and occasional singer. They swore, they fought (each other), they drank, and they created some blissful BritPop music that paid more than a casual homage to their heroes in the Beatles and the Stone Roses.
The band, who broke up in 2009 with a climactic backstage brother brawl before a show in Paris, just released a definitive boxed set entitled Time Flies…1994-2009, which contains every one of their UK-released singles, from 1994’s Supersonic all the way up to 2009’s Falling Down.
Missing from this set is Champagne Supernova, arguably one of the band’s best songs, and one of the handful that caused a stir in the United States. It wasn’t technically a UK single, so it isn’t included in this set. I ordered the US version on Amazon, which is supposed to contain the song, but received the normal UK version. Oh well.
The twenty-eight songs on this two-disc set contain some of the best BritPop music to have ever been laid down in a studio.
The collection starts out with Supersonic, the band’s debut single, off of 1994’s timeless Definitely Maybe, and Roll With It, off of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the band’s 1995 album that launched them to super popular stadium band territory.
Everyone knows Liam & Noel are, well, supremely quotable blokes. Noel rose in infamy making outlandish, extremely self-aggrandizing statements about his band’s importance and has tended to come off as a bit of a prick over the years, honestly. Liam is even more antagonistic, with his “I don’t give a toss” personality and a palpable sense of self-importance that is not unlike that of his brother. While their combative personalities turned some people off of the band, it was something that drew me to them, as their outright “Britishness” struck me as magnetizing. That, and Morning Glory was my first-ever CD album that I purchased, so there’s also that.
The fact of the matter is, though, that they’re responsible for the BritPop movement that emerged in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994. It went on for a while in the UK before we paid attention here in the States, but you just can’t deny the impact of songs like the classic Wonderwall, the hopefulness of Live Forever, the moving Don’t Look Back in Anger, the bloated but memorable D’You Know What I Mean?, and the rest of the songs on this set.
Every album the band released is showcased here, of course, from Definitely Maybe through 2008’s underappreciated Dig Out Your Soul, which serves as a fine cap on their prolific career.
Oasis weren’t a band for everyone. While we in the States only seemed to care up through Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova, amused by their adoration for the Beatles and their larger-than-life charisma, I remained a fan for the rest of the band’s career. I’ve been lucky enough to see them two times, at a half-empty Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View, CA in 2005 and then at Oracle Arena in Oakland in late 2008. The fact that they might actually be finished for good is sad to think about, as I’ve enjoyed most of their catalog, even 1997’s Be Here Now, the follow-up to Morning Glory that was, as Noel has put it, the result of “four guys on drugs in the studio, not giving a fuck”. Still, it’s hardly shocking that we’ve reached the end of the band, given the number of times Liam & Noel have had verbal (and physical) spats.
This package is even more impressive considering that Disc 3 is a DVD with ALL of Oasis’s music videos over the years. I love things like that, and it makes this already amazing collection even better. Disc 4 is a live set from the Roundhouse in London in July 2009, weeks before Noel quit the band once and for all.
So to recap, you have two discs of 28 of Oasis’s biggest singles, then a DVD with all the videos, and a live set thrown in for kicks. The booklet is nice too, filled with quotes from fans and Liam & Noel themselves about songs and fans’ attachment to the band. The “box” itself is a really slick clamshell-type thing that, when opened, is a picture of a huge crowd from a densely-populated Oasis gig. This whole collection is extremely satisfying, and it’s a great way to go out as a band.
In closing, I was sad to hear that Oasis was no more. When Noel got in a fight with Liam and called it quits, a big part of my musical upbringing went by the wayside. Thankfully, this collection exists for me and other fans to always remember the band and their legacy.
I don’t care if you always hated Oasis, Liam, Noel, BritPop, England, brothers, buzzy guitars, hype, accents, or anything affiliated with that. BritPop was an important musical movement, and Oasis was a big part of it.
Time Flies…1994-2009 is a fitting au revoir for a band that was bigger than its peers, a band that often encompassed working-class longing in its lyrics while retaining a sense of melody and style that didn’t betray its members’ outright swagger and enthusiasm. Noel, Liam, and the revolving door of bassists and drummers may have closed the book on their musical career, but their songs will live forever.