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All reviews - Movies (106) - TV Shows (4) - Music (13)

It’s Not Getting Better (Man!!)

Posted : 2 years ago on 22 September 2015 06:13 (A review of Don't Believe the Truth)

I find Don’t Believe The Truth to be on par with Heathen Chemistry, half is great and the other half is filler. The album does benefit from a fresh sound with the band’s then new drummer Zak Starkey which is easily apparent but it’s not enough to save the album from being hampered with filler songs. Turn  Up The Sun is the weakest opener on an Oasis album but is still very good. However the Dylan-esque Mucky Fingers offers a great change of pace among Oasis songs. Oasis aren’t the first band I think of when it comes to experimentation but songs like this do show they had their experimental moments. Lyla and The Importance Of Being Idle are deservedly classic Oasis and can rank among the band’s best work but my favourite song on the album is Let There Be Love. A song with what at first appear to be very simple lyrics, is possibly the most socially consciousness song the band ever created.

 

Love Like A Bomb and The Meaning of Soul feel like incomplete songs to me, a shame since it feels like they are the basis for great songs. Guess God Thinks I’m Abel, Part Of The Queue and A Bell Will Ring fall into the annals of mediocrity that I have listen to them again to even remind myself what they sound like. So yes, another patchy album but the songs which succeed are excellent.

 

Don’t Believe The Truth Era B-Sides and Rarities

 

As with the Heathen Chemistry B-sides I was hoping the B-sides for the Don’t Believe the Truth would partially make up for the patchy album; unfortunately this is not the case. These b-sides are some of most boring songs in the Oasis catalogue and when listening to all of them at once they feel like the same song over and over. The only song which thought was slightly good is Sittin’ Here In Silence (On My Own) but only just. Although at the time this album was hailed as Oasis return to form, taking into account both the album and the b-sides I feel this period was the band at its most uninspired.



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The Duke Is Ziggity!

Posted : 2 years, 1 month ago on 9 September 2015 09:47 (A review of Trouble Along the Way)

*** This review contains spoilers ***

Westerns have never been a favourite genre of mine unless one is really exceptional or unique. So it should come as no surprise what ends up becoming my favourite John Wayne movie was his foray into Cary Grant-esque style comedy, something much more up my alley.

 

The Duke isn’t a favourite actor of mine yet I’ve always found to be strangely charismatic and engaging; although coming from Ireland, John Wayne is the one classic actor most people have not only heard off but have seen a movie from. Trouble Along The Way shows he was capable of a larger range than he’s given credit for although judging from the movie’s success audiences much preferred seeing him doing his usual stick of westerns and war movies. It’s apparent the studio must have put a lot into this movie hoping for it to be a big success, employing a top director and top cast, plus it feels like this role was written for Wayne. Despite the film being a chance of pace for him, the role still feels like a very John Wayne character; very American, very macho and very much an individualist.

 

The movie’s plot revolves around two things I’m not a fan off, sports and religion. I am informed the subplot involving the economics of college football (not to be confused with the sport of soccer, which in Europe is also called football, go figure) is more relevant today in a world where the financing of college athletics has gone out of control than it was in 1953. As for religion, although I am an atheist and staunchly anti-religious I can still enjoy movies about religion. Trouble Along The Way manages to express religious themes but never feels like I’m being preached towards. The movie even takes advantage of its religious based plot with some great religious jokes (“Couldn’t have booked one protestant school for a breather”).

 

Charles Coburn’s role as Father Burke is an archetypal representation of Catholic clergy in old Hollywood films as an entirely trustworthy figure of respect such as Spencer Tracy in Boy’s Town and Pat O’Brien in Angels With Dirty Faces. This being an attempt to appease the legion of decency; have a film condemned by the legion and you lose out on box office intake. I’ve always found this representation of clergy in classic Hollywood films fascinating as it provides a complete contrast to the media reports of today of priests molesting young boys. Trouble Along The Way provides Coburn with one of his best roles and a showcase as to why he’s one of Hollywood’s finest character actors.


You can believe Wayne’s daughter played by Sherry Jackson really would be the daughter of a John Wayne character. Most movie kids get on my nerves, so whenever one does manage to impress me I have to give a special shout out. I just wish Donna Reed could have had more screen time. In fact my reason for watching this film was my enjoying of the other Wayne-Reed pairing They Were Expendable. Her character could easily have been a real “love to hate” role as a heartless social worker but brings sympathy to the role partially due to the character’s surprising[Link removed - login to see] back story.

 

The other thing I must address which makes me wonder if John Wayne had much input into the film’s production is the speech Charles Coburn gives at the end of the film in which he discusses Steve’s unethical practices when assembling a football team in which Coburn states “He did it in his way, perhaps the only way”. Accompany this with the statement Steve makes when he’s been caught out that “I don’t regret what I did” makes me ask the question is this in any way referencing (and possibly defending) Wayne’s then recent involvement in the Hollywood Blacklist, or am I just looking into it too much?

 

From the outset I was expecting Trouble Along The Way to be some light, enjoyable fare; but to my surprise it proved to be a film with deep and complex story and characters. At nearly two hours it may seem lengthy for a comedy but the length is justified as there is so much going in the plot but never feels overbearing. The film is brave enough to leave questions unanswered. It’s not a depressing ending but unlike other light-hearted Hollywood films of the time it doesn’t wrap everything in a neat bow. At the end of film the main characters have to learn to let go of something important in their lives. It’s disheartening seeing Sherry being taken away from her loving father to live with her mother and having to drop her tomboyish lifestyle in order to be integrate with other kids her age, but I guess the movie is just telling us that life is tough and you don’t always get what you want.



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Half the Album Away

Posted : 2 years, 1 month ago on 1 September 2015 05:32 (A review of Heathen Chemistry)

Albums can be a funny thing, as in there exist albums I’d give an average rating yet I would listen to again and again. Heathen Chemistry is one such record, an album of two halves, half excellent and half mediocre. Do I look at the album in anger that half of it is a chore to listen to but at the same time five of the album’s songs on their own have given me many hours of music listening bliss. 

On the good side; Stop Crying Your Heart Out captures the same unashamedly weepiness of the likes of Wonderwall and Don’t Go Away, while the beauty that is Songbird shows of Oasis’ more tender side. I always remember a comment Liam made back in the 90’s in relation to some of the band’s downbeat b-sides that he was a “rock ‘n’ roller” and didn’t want to play that “wimpy shit”, yet the only two singles he ever penned are two of Oasis’ most tender songs. Little by Little is one of the band’s cheesiest songs, although the lyrics of both this and Stop Crying Your Heart Out indicate Oasis where aware of their falling popularity (“fading like the stars we wish to be”, “’Cause all of the stars are fading away”).

As for the filler half of the album, there is no Oasis song I find obnoxious or unpleasant to listen to; their weak songs are just really dull. I’ll admit I haven’t even listened to the six minute track Born On A Different Cloud in its entirety. A Quick Peep feels like the most pointless Oasis song, a short, overly simple musical interlude which contributes nothing. I also don’t like the album cover; I dislike that sickly green effect. Still, that’s half a great album which I listen to death. Curse you Oasis! I’m a slave to anything with your name on it.

Heathen Chemistry Era B-Sides and Rarities

Well I’m shocked; these are some ace B-sides! Naturally when listening to them for the first time my instant reaction is: why where these not the album!? Well I’ve come up with three possible reasons as to why:
-The artist is often wrong about their own work and isn’t aware of the quality of these songs.
-The band is fully aware these songs are better than much of the tracks on the album and make them B-sides in order to keep the B-side tradition alive and possibly as a way of rewarding loyal fans. 
-Or I’m just alone on this one and only I think these songs are good/great.

For me the undeniable centrepiece of these B-sides is (You’ve Got) the Heart of a Star. This song holds the distinction of being the last Oasis song I discovered which blew me away. This is also one of the cheesiest songs Oasis ever made but cheesy in the best possible way, it’s such a swoon inducingly beautiful song; my favourite post-90’s Oasis song, as well as one of favourite Oasis songs in general. I just have to say it again, “why was this song not on the album?!” instead of a snooze fest like Born On A Different Cloud. The next big stand out is Thank For You Good Times. If you can ignore the somewhat ironic title as Oasis have caused some disparaging times during this, their lackluster period, it’s still a terrific mood lifter, just what you need when you listen to Ider’s Dream and Just Getting Older (sort of like the anti Stay Young).

Even if these songs where on Heathen Chemistry in place of that album’s filler tracks, it still wouldn’t be up to the standard of the first three albums (then again few albums are) but would make it an excellent record. Perhaps genius never really left Oasis, maybe just the ability to choose a good album track listing. 



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Land of the Rising Fun!

Posted : 2 years, 1 month ago on 23 August 2015 08:50 (A review of My Geisha)

*** This review contains spoilers ***


Oh man, these are the kinds of quirky film concepts I live for, definitely up there with films like The Major and the Minor, The Whole Town’s Talking and Sylvia Scarlett. I’ve never previously been a Shirley MacLaine fan but My Geisha may have converted me. Unlike many dual identity films, I actually found the premise here believable, in that Lucy’s husband (Yves Montand) wouldn’t recognise her disguised as her alter ego geisha by the name of Yoko. At times I forgot MacLaine is pretending to be a Geisha. Ok the illusion might not work for everyone but it did for this viewer. Also on a more superficial appraisal, omg Yoko is so cute! I was also surprised and delighted that Edward G. Robinson actually has almost as much screen time as MacLaine, making the two a great comedic pairing. I stated in my review of The Whole Towns Talking (1935) that Edward G. Robinson appeared in some very quirky comedies in his career but this film just furthers that statement, My Geisha is by far the quirkiest of them all.

 

However it’s not just goofiness for the sake of goofiness, the dual identity set up actually allows for a deep and complex plot. For starters it examines the business of film by acknowledging the dilemma of casting white actors as non-white characters; you can’t get a large budget for a film unless it stars a big box office draw, most of who in the early 1960’s where white. The other surprising area of depth that comes out of the goofy plot is the examination of the husband’s ego, tired of being in the shadow of his wife’s success. Another point of interest if the moment when Edward G. Robinson’s character receives the news that Lucy’s husband has discovered the truth about Yoko, Robinson asks to be taken to the fourth floor of the hotel. The Japanese tend to avoid use of the number 4 due superstitions regarding the number as unlucky.

 

This film would likely not be made today would be seen as politically incorrect but even if it did despite that you know the film would stop for 20 minutes when Lucy’s secret is revealed (otherwise known as the liar revealed) in which one character would tell the other about how they’ve been betrayed and they never want to see each other again even though they get back together at the end. Not here though, when Lucy’s husband discovers she is Yoko (which I should add is done a very clever manner) he quietly accepts that he was fooled and there’s no big pointless, drawn out argument scene. Sorry, classic movie fan boy rant.

 

I wonder what the Japanese reaction to this was. I assume this is an idealised version of Japan but ether way this film sure looks beautiful. I believe this could likely be credited to surprising choice of director, Jack Cardiff, normally more famous for his work as a cinematographer. The entire film is a feast for the eyes and ears and even the film within a film looks incredible and is itself emotionally moving. If I can find any complaint in the film it’s that Bob Cummings’ character is a real creep. Aside from that, My Geisha is another obscure, quirky gem which I adore.



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Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 18 August 2015 09:36 (A review of Standing on the Shoulder Of Giants)

When it comes to general consensus regarding Oasis, there is near unanimous agreement that their first two albums are masterpieces. After that, it is not so simple. Be Here Now isn’t the most respected album in music history (I absolutely love it as stated in my review of the album) but from my time browsing Oasis message boards and reading various articles about the band, I would say most fans like/love Be Here Now. The other thing the majority will agree on is that the 2nd half of Oasis’ existence (although others might say last two thirds, as I said before it’s not so simple) didn’t reach the standards of their earlier days. With the final four albums, all of them have their defenders and detractors. Fans like myself will never stop debating where it went wrong, at what times did things go right, what tracks should have been removed from the albums and replaced with b-sides, etc.

 

So where do I stand with Standing On the Shoulder of Giants? Well for a long time I was dismissive of this album. Aside from the first three songs, I found the remaining tracks uninteresting and forgettable. However in retrospect I can contribute this to the first three albums being so incredible, Standing On the Shoulder of Giants didn’t stand a chance by comparison (also I feel they shouldn’t have dropped their classic logo, the old one was so much more welcoming). It was only after milking 90’s Oasis for every second of listening pleasure, that I came to revise my opinion of Standing On the Shoulder of Giants. This is not an album full of arena rockers, rather much of it more slowed paced and mellow than the previous Oasis albums.

 

Standing On the Shoulder of Giants is for the most part a dark record; what happened to my happy go lucky Oasis? Instead we get an album in which the opening song is called F**kin’ In the Bushes and begins with a sound sample of some thuggish sounding bloke shouting “We put this festival on you bastards, with a lot of love we worked one year for you pigs and you wanna break our walls down and you wanna destroy it? Well go to hell!” (taken from the documentary Message to Love). Or take Gas Panic!, likely Oasis’ darkest song (with a title reminiscent of a certain 20th century atrocity). Standing On the Shoulder of Giants is very much the opposite of Be Here Now, where as that album captured the sound of a band on top of the world, this captures the sound of a band fallen on hard times and trying it’s best to get by and I mean that as a good thing; there is a sense of desperation present throughout the album. At this point in the band’s history they could only go one of two directions - disband or reinvent themselves. Especially considering the brit-pop era had now come to an end. Resulting in an album which was the most experimental Oasis ever got (with a very distinctive industrial like sound not present in any other Oasis album).

 

Even before I came to reappraise Standing On the Shoulder of Giants, Who Feels Love? was already one of my favourite Oasis songs - such a spiritual and psychedelic tune. While I’m not a spiritual person, when listening to this song it really does feel like as the song describes, “My spirit has been purified”. However I hate Sunday Morning Call. I wouldn’t even bother dwelling on it as every artist is inevitability going to have some bad songs but this was a freakin’ single and it’s one of the most dreary and boring songs Oasis ever created. I can agree with Noel on this one; the song was even made a hidden track on the Oasis singles collection Time Flies, good move. Standing On the Shoulder of Giants is not my favourite Oasis album nor it ever will be but it is a good album and it deserves to be reappraised.

 

Standing On the Shoulder of Giants Era B-Sides and Rarities

 

These songs are some of Oasis’ most mellow tracks so no air guitaring in front of the mirror (except for Full On) but they are good selection of songs. Look at them as Oasis’ chill out songs.



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Oasis: Beyond Wonderwall

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 11 August 2015 06:23 (A review of Be Here Now)

Oh boy, Be Here Now, talk about a decisive album. I’ll cut to the chase and say that I am a lover of Be Here Now and considering it to be one of my favourite albums of all time. The album cover symbolises the bombastic nature of the record, and it even narcissistically has the date of its release is on the cover. The title on the other hand represents the arrogant nature of Oasis at the time whether or not that was intentional; it’s like Oasis are instructing that you are going to be here now! If the first two albums where about trying to achieve your dreams, then Be Here Now was about living those dreams. The sound of a band high on coke and on top of the world, a real powerhouse of an album with everything turned up to 11.

 

Be Here Now is not Morning Glory. I don’t want Be Here Now to sound like Morning Glory, we had Morning Glory and now this is something different. Unlike the first two albums, the songs on Be Here Now don’t have as many hooks and are not instantly catchy; Be Here Now is a dirtier, meaner record. When I first listened to the album I didn’t instantly latch onto it and took me a few listens to grow on me, unlike the first two albums which were love on first listen.

 

The opening track D’You What I Mean? Is 7 minutes and 42 seconds long. Before the vocals even begin we get a minute comprised of helicopter and Morse code sound effects with the final minute of the song just being guitar feedback; that’s the levels of bombastic indulgence we’re talking about here. This song is not radio friendly yet it was the album’s lead single and went to number 1 on the UK charts; only Oasis had the clout to get a song like this to be a single Yet they still even outdone D’You What I Mean?  with All Around the World, an epic all devouring song which lasts for a whopping 9 and a half minutes, and it too was a UK number 1; the longest song in length to ever do so. It’s such a monstrous, epic song; a real celebration of everything Oasis had achieved up until that point.

 

I disagree with the notion that the B-sides from the Be Here Now era should have been included on the album. They’re great songs but they’re more reminiscent of Morning Glory and don’t match the over the top nature of Be Here Now. But aside from the over the top arena rockers of celebration (God knows just how many guitar tracks are on My Big Mouth and It’s Gettin’ Better Man!!), we do get two more downbeat, emotional songs in the form of Stand By Me and Don’t Go Away; the latter of which being one of Oasis’ biggest tearjerkers.

 

No band could make Be Here Now today, no one would have clout to do so. But not Oasis back then; I can imagine a record label executive asking the band does All Around the World have to be 9 and a half minutes long, and them replying “Yes if f**king does!”. When was the last time a band made an album that had the same “we’re on top of the world” spirit as that of Be Here Now? I’ve never been a fan of the post millennium music scene, and for me personally 1997 is the last year in which there was a number of high profile album releases which I loved. The final sound effect on the album of a door shutting on the All Around the World Reprise signals the end of the brit-pop era and the end of Oasis’ golden age.

 

Critics praised Be Here Now on its initial release, only later to detract their praises. The complete opposite to what happened to Morning Glory, which received mixed reviews on initial release and later went on to receive acclaim. Are people just conformist drones who listened to Oasis because it was the “cool” thing to do and back lashed against the band when Be Here Now turned out not to be another Morning Glory; or perhaps I’m just in a minority opinion who think this album is amazing? Who knows? Regardless, for me Definitely Maybe, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and Be Here Now will always be the holy trinity of Oasis albums. Be Here Now, I salute you!

 

Be Here Now Era B-Sides and Rarities


As I stated before, the b-sides for the Be Here Now where more reminiscent of the Morning Glory era. There are not as many b-sides during the Be Here Now era, but all of them where good. Throughout their entire 90’s output, there are only two Oasis songs I don’t like (Hey Now! and Be Here Now); the band almost literally had no filler. I wonder if the backlash Be Here Now received prevented the album’s fourth single Don’t Go Away (which ended up only getting released in Japan) from having any new songs. (I Got) The Fever is one of my absolute favourite Oasis songs; what a choon! While it’s not the most lyrically significant Oasis song, but it’s one seriously uplifting jam. The band’s cover of David Bowie’s Heros is also superb; you can’t top the original but this is a dam fine cover.[Link removed - login to see] Now when will the deluxe edition of Be Here Now be here now?



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The Master Album

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 5 August 2015 07:59 (A review of (What's The Story) Morning Glory?)

There doesn’t exist an album which I would rate 10.0/10.0, because there is no album in which I would give every song a 5 star rating. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is one of a handful of albums which comes close. All but one song is a five star masterpiece of musical greatness. The song I’m talking about is Hey Now!, a song which fails to be catchy or memorable, and should have been replaced by one of Oasis’s many excellent B-sides but why am I beginning this review by focussing on the only negative aspect of what is otherwise one of my top 5 favourite albums of all time. The reaming nine songs are masterpieces of lyrical and musical composition craftsmanship, in other words each track is one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard.

 

Roll With It; damn, talk about a catchy uplifting song. Possibly the happiest Oasis song and one I always turn to lift my spirit and to remind myself not to care what naysayers think. Why is Wonderwall considered Oasis signature song? It’s a great song but why it? It’s become the cliché song of choice for guys with acoustic guitars at parties. Even the choir at my sister’s school sings it; I don’t deny it’s an amazing song but with a band with an amazing back catalogue as Oasis, choose another one to play on the radio. Some Might Say is the song which started my Oasis journey. I feel it’s the perfect introductory Oasis song, summing up what the band is all about. Cast No Shadow strikes such powerful imagery however the song Morning Glory is my choice for the centrepiece of the album. The lyric “another Sunny Afternoon walking to the sound of my favourite tune” describes many an afternoon to me; it’s kind of depressing actually. The song is about drug use and that is what this album is, a drug. You can’t stop listening to it, even when you think you’ve had enough of it you keep coming back for more. Even the two brief musical interludes are amazing, even the novelty song She’s Electric is amazing.

 

Closing the album is song with lyrics which are total gibberish but it doesn’t matter. With Champagne Supernova it feels like Noel took every memorising phrase he could think of (“Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball” or “Caught beneath a landslide in a champagne supernova in the sky”) and put them all into one song and somehow made it all work. Even the title is memorising, Champagne Supernova: what does that even mean? Who cares! It’s an amazing title. Ok, I know I’ve said amazing about a million times in this review. Allow me to place (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? on top of a pedestal and worship its greatness.

[Link removed - login to see]

(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? Era B-Sides and Rarities

 

With all these incredible B-sides it makes me think Oasis could have possibly made a whole album out of them, or make Morning Glory a double album but nope, they made them B-sides.

 

Why is Acquiesce considered their best B-side? It’s a great song but like Wonderwall I don’t get why it’s singled out so much. In my opinion it’s the most overrated Oasis song. Talk Tonight on the other hand sends shivers down my spine on every listen;  it has the most vulnerable lyrics Noel has ever written with the story behind the song seems too incredible to be true. I like to think of Bonehead’s Bank Holiday as Oasis’ attempt at a Blur song, a track previously only included in the vinyl editions of Morning Glory. Is it just me or did the songs that not make it the B-side compilation The Masterplan even better than those which didn’t; It’s Better People, Step Out (sounds like an early 2000’s pop punk song) and Round Are Way in my opinion are better than most of the songs on The Masterplan. Speaking of the actual song The Masterplan, a tune which sums the journey of life within five minutes: that we are all part of a masterplan which we can’t understand, so we should just make the best of it. It contains some of best, no, most incredible lyrics Noel has ever written. I love Noel’s comments regarding the song being a B-side, “Well, I don’t write shit songs!”



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D’Yer Wanna Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star?

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 1 July 2015 12:16 (A review of Definitely Maybe)

Oasis, a name which invokes power and grandeur. Some might say Oasis sucks, they’re a Beatles rip off, they haven’t done anything good since 1996, the brothers are pricks and just fight all the time, insert British band here is so much better. I’ll probably spend the rest of my life debunking such criticisms, just like how I’ll be spending the rest of my life listening to Oasis. Unpretentious songs about liking, nay, loving yourself, being true to yourself, simply trusting what you believe and speaking your mind. Ultimately this brand of non conformity comes at a price, and perhaps Oasis paid this price, and could this be one of the reasons they get the stick they do? I’m an optimist at heart, thus one of the reasons Oasis appeals to me. Few other artists can strike up such an emotional connection with the listener and worth getting passionate about to such a high degree.

In the tradition of the movie High Fidelity’s top 5 lists, top 5 side 1, track 1's, Oasis, Rock n’ Roll Star of Definitely Maybe. When I listen to this song I have to repeat the final 90 seconds over and over again and absorb every moment of its guitar riffing, drum bashing perfection. Oasis are an arrogant band, and this sums that up perfectly. The band’s combination of Noel’s catchy hooks and Liam’s enunciating on words (Gonnnnnaaaaa Liiiiiivvvvveeee Forevvvvvvvvverrrrrrrrr) is what makes Oasis the drug that it is, always coming back for more. Songs like Shakermaker and Columbia are hypnotic; I remember listening to Shakermaker well over a dozen times in a row shortly after hearing it for the first time. The opening lyrics to Supersonic on the other hand, the song which they first released sums up my life’s philosophy. Like many Oasis songs, it’s an obvious message, but I believe at the end of the day we need to reminded of obvious messages in our lives as we seem to forget them all the time.

Choosing a favourite song from Oasis ain’t easy, but does there exist a song more emotionally shattering than Live Forever? In 4 minutes and 30 seconds Liam’s powerful yet at times fragile voice waves a wide gauntlet of human emotion, the desire to be immortal, to never be forgotten. Noel Gallagher was motivated to write the song after hearing a song from Nirvana titled “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die”. Let’s face it, it’s easy to be pessimistic and look cool because of it, it takes courage to express optimism.

I have a poster of the Definitely Maybe on my bedroom wall, and will regularly take a look at it to admire its beauty, and always noticing something within it which I never saw before. As with the band’s album and single covers throughout the 90’s, the genius comes from their simplicity.

Oasis hit their peak early on; I remember hearing comments from Noel Gallagher stating he could never write songs like that again or else you would get laughed out of town; you can only write like that when you’re uninhibited and nobody is listening to your music. Definitely Maybe is the punkier, dirtier companion to the cleaner, more commercial sounding Morning Glory, not that makes Morning Glory any less album. The way I see it, Definitely Maybe is like The Terminator, where as Morning Glory is like Terminator 2. Sometimes I wish I could erase my mind of songs so I can listen to them again as if hearing for the first time, that couldn’t be truer here. Definitely, Maybe the best debut album of all time? Not maybe, definitely!


Definitely Maybe Era B-Sides and Rarities

What band has better B-sides than Oasis? Their B-sides are better than most bands biggest hits. It’s the greatest collection of unknown songs ever. Their singles where all like mini albums, each with a cover which was a work of art itself. For a time I was content with just listening to Oasis’ albums, but when I really started to delve into the band’s B-sides it was like falling in love with Oasis all over again.

The 1998 compilation album The Masterplan contained most the band’s B-sides up until that point, but not all of them, a shame too as there are some absolute gems which didn’t. The deluxe edition of Definitely Maybe brings all the B-sides from the Definitely Maybe era together as well as various other rarities, all apart from a live version of Bring It On Down from the Shakermaker single. Not a major loss as there is nothing particular stand out about it, but it would be nice for it to be there for completist sake. Now if we can just get a deluxe edition of Be Here Now then all will be well with the world.

Take Me Away is such a simple yet powerful song, with Noel’s vocals being so fragile, you can hear the desperation in his voice. Another downbeat song with Noel on vocals D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman? is so beautiful it hurts, plus it also gets the vote for my favourite Oasis song title. The story goes that Liam didn’t want to sing these downbeat songs as he considered himself a “rock ‘n’ roller” and didn’t want to play that wimpy shit, says the guy who later wrote songbird. You haven’t heard Oasis’ cover of I Am the Walrus until you’ve heard the full length version from the Cigarettes & Alcohol single, The Masterplan version was shortened by two minutes. The Beatles created it, Oasis stole it. Then there’s Half the World Away, a song which sums up a period of my life (and many other people’s lives), being stuck in a dead end town where you can’t express yourself creatively.

Cloudburst is the only slightly weaker Definitely Maybe b-side, it has energy to it but lacks a coherent structure. Everything else are absolute gems, like a secret collection of songs just for Oasis diehards. It makes me wonder what Oasis have never seen the light of day, perhaps those are the greatest Oasis songs of all.


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Pre-Code Jewel

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 30 June 2015 01:27 (A review of Jewel Robbery)

*** This review contains spoilers ***

I remember people criticizing The Wolf of Wall Street as immoral, then I’d love to see their reaction to this 83 year old gem.


Kay Francis has one of my favourite character introductions ever, as an army of servants march to pamper her after getting up in the afternoon, lying in a bath tub, briefing showing of one leg shot up in the air then being pampered like a goddess ahead of her day of leisure. Jewel Robbery’s display of wealth would be explicit for any era, never mind the great depression. Francis’ reaction to being handed a box of jewels from Powell makes Lorelei Lee of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes look like less of a gold digger. Yes these are shallow, superficial characters who never get punished for their actions, but that’s ok, only classic Hollywood actors could pull this off, making us enjoy rooting for characters like this. Although Francis’ character is at least self aware of this, in one pivotal scene stating that she is shallow and weak as she leads a shallow and weak life and with a little courage she could run away from it.


William Powell is the coolest criminal ever; you would enjoy being held in a stick up by this guy. This being pre-code, a criminal is the hero of the story who deceives dim witted guards. His methods of robbery, differentiating from what he calls “the stick ‘em up and shoot ‘em down school, no mess, no confusion” is so fascinating. Would his methods work in real life or is this just movie fantasy? He even gives his victims marijuana to calm them down. This movie waves to whole gauntlet of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Ok there’s no rock ‘n’ roll but there’s sex and drugs. The jewel robbery itself is so snappy and fast paced. It takes up a large portion of the film (which at one point made me wonder if the film would be a sort of high class version of Dog Day Afternoon) and its over in a jiffy. 


Jewel Robbery is one of the most erotic and sexiest films I’ve ever seen. Many of the scenes and dialogues are provoking in some way from Kay Francis wearing dress looks like it’s about to fall of her and exposes her back side to William Powell wrapping his arms around Francis to grab a ring of her finger; this is what you call a titillating movie. I also love Kay Francis and her girlfriend’s excited reaction to discovering a man infiltrated their house. Plus has there ever existed an actual dwelling that has an interior similar to that of William Powell’s hideout. If I ever win the lottery I am going to hand a copy of this movie to be interior decorator. Also the newspaper which appears near the beginning of the movie is called “Weiner Journal”.



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This Woman’s Mediocre Work

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 23 June 2015 11:58 (A review of The Sensual World)

It brings me great displeasure to say this but I don’t like Kate Bush’s 6th studio LP The Sensual World. This is the only Kate Bush album I’m not keen on (unless you also count Director’s cut). However I would think based on the album’s three singles this would be another masterpiece. I’ll begin with the good.

 

The title track, well it has sensual in the title for a reason. The combination of synthesizers and uillieann pipes creates the most well, sensual sound. Like Wuthering Heights I question if there exists another song like it and if it is one of the reasons why Kate Bush’s work acts like a gateway to a world of high culture. This Woman’s Work is my favourite Kate Bush song, despite this being my least favourite album of hers. This is it; this is the saddest song ever - the crème de la crème of tear jerking songs. I can’t listen to this song in a public place or else I’ll well up. Although the song is about having a baby from the father’s perspective, the lyric “Of all the things we should have said that we never said, all the things we should’ve done that we never did” always conjures up thoughts of regret that I have in my life of things I should have done but didn’t; but not necessarily in a depressing manner.

 

Upon hearing the song Deeper Understanding I could not believe just how ahead of its time it was; a song from 1989 about people not only being addicted but having relationships with computers. I wonder if this song if any way helped inspire the movie Her. Even the music video for the Director’s Cut version in 2011 is reminiscent of Her. By comparison, what could you do on a computer in 1989 that you would be spending hours on it? Is she predicting the invention of the World Wide Web? Also take the lyric “But I was lonely, I was lost, without my little black box, I pick my phone and execute”. Did she just describe an IPhone? Man screw Nostradamus, Kate Bush is where it’s at. This is one of two Kate Bush songs which speak to me the most, the other being Sat In Your Lap.

 

The rest of the album is mediocre to average. The Fog, Reaching Out and Never Be Mine; I feel there are great songs in there but these tracks feel incomplete to me. Heads We’re Dancing is a song I find lyrically interesting, involving a story about dancing with Hitler himself[Link removed - login to see] but the rhythm of the song is lacking. Between a Man and a Woman is completely disposable with its generic lyrics and mediocre rhythm but my least favourite song on the album, as well as my least favourite Kate Bush song in general is Rocket’s Tail. The choir featured in the song are far too loud, to the point that I feel like saying “guys can you keep it down, I’m trying to hear Kate sing” and right in the middle of it all is a very obnoxious guitar solo. It pains me to write this review but I guess you can’t win ‘em all.



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