[sic] Magazine

Oasis – Time Flies 1994-2009

And so it comes to an end. 15 years is a lifetime in music: 15 years which saw a change of the world. Oasis arrived with a sneer the week Kurt Cobain ate a shotgun, saw the failure of Nu Labour, then imploded in late period rich boredom before finally derailing to mostly apathy last summer. In truth, as we know, Oasis was all – and was always – the brainchild of Noel Gallagher , who singlehandedly dragged an underachieving indie band, who wrote the songs, whose ambition and vision was always shackled to a less talented, arrogant younger brother.

Here then, is the funeral. A lavish set of four discs, containing every single A-side the band ever released, the last live recording ever made, and a DVD of every video. As a collection it is an enormous, book-ending, definitive slam of the big door.

Thus, ‘Time Flies 1994-2009’ is probably the only Oasis album you need – if you need any album. A collection of each and every single, in a bafflingly non-chronological order. Noel Gallagher said it was to sound like a great gig – but really, the running order is designed to hide the fact that the latter, fat and rich years of Oasis were when they went rubbish. The band forgot what it was like to hunger, to need, to hold the glowing chalice of music as the passport out of the suburban graves. The latter years, built when Noel Gallagher had exhausted his collection of pre-fame ditties, are best typified by ‘Go Let It Out’: a somewhat aimless ramble with no memorable lyrics and even less of a clue what the hell was going on; I will pay anyone 5p who can give me 1,000 words on what the meaning of that song is and not tell a lie.

So, realistically, this is like a bigger, fatter version of 2006’s now redundant ‘Stop The Clocks’ ; no new songs, no real rarities, and all the hits jumbled up so there is no such thing as a gradual decline in quality, just great songs sandwiched between not-so-great ones. Stuff like ‘Little By Little’ and ‘She Is Love’ are at best average will-this-do fodder inbetween the rest of the collection; which peters out with the unhummable ‘I’m Outta Time’ and ‘Falling Down’. There’s loads of great songs in here (and some less than good ones).

You can pinpoint the exact moment of decline to the closing chords of ‘All Around The World’: the point where Oasis ceased containing the kids from the skids, and became a compendium of session musicians with the departure of the core remnants. From that moment, where ‘Go Let It Out’ started, Oasis was a brand, not a band, a collective of workers in the business of making money. As evidenced by the live portion of this set – the last recorded Oasis live performance in London – which is, unsurprisingly 12 songs from their first three albums and 4 from the next four albums. It’s a blistering (and edited) live performance that showcases Oasis live as a perfect reproduction of their clichéd image, a latter day Indie Rolling Stones that they had undoubtedly become. It’s fine, roaring indie rock; only tempered by the knowledge that this was a stadium rock band in its death throes.

Finally, and rounding out this undoubted value-for-money package, is a long-overdue DVD that collects every promo and video the band ever made, in order. You can see and hear the sharp decline in quality from hungry chancers to bloated gazillionaires in full technicolour: not only is every single here, but also every oddity and foreign release that pads out a total of 35 songs on the DVD.

So here it is: ‘Time Flies’ is the chronicle of a band that was once great, turned average, then split up, told across a sharply uneven compilation, a sparkling live set, and a weighty, full DVD. It is a great introduction and a fitting finale, and undoubted value-for-money.

For more from Mark, please visit The Final Word