Oasis – Heathen Chemistry

by Terence Leung

Ok folks, I don’t know how else to say this, so I’m just going to say it: This “album” is pure shit.

Pure, obsolete, runny and unholy shit.

Is it all you need to hear then? Sweet merciful crap, review over.

Wet, lather, rinse and repeat review. As a matter of fact, you can do the same to every other band who is a claimant for the throne of Rock & Roll Savior. Applicants include The Vines, The Hives, The Strokes and The White Stripes whom, when measured up against luminaries such as Joey Ramone, Sid Vicious and early era-Mick Jagger simply look like a horde of court jesters.

And thusly, this is what Oasis has been reduced to. A once self-proclaimed king (once deservedly so) of Rock & Roll cheapened to carnival sideshow due to long, bitter, yet immensely entertaining bouts of drug-ridden hedonism, failed marriages and sibling rows. It would seem this was the price to be paid for stardom. The contract Liam and Noel Gallagher signed with Satan prior to their births is being paid in full, because after the astonishing brilliance of Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory, the Prince of Darkness must be pissed, returning us a work of extraordinary depravity called Heathen Chemistry.

Depravity in this case levels with disappointment. From a band capable of delivering a song deserving (at least considered) Single of the Year honors with its opening track, The Hindu Times, you would think, for nary a moment, you were back to the heyday of Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory with its swagger, its classic Liam sneer, its pompous, nearly epic structure and its ability to take you back to the magnificence of the classic Brit-pop era. For almost four minutes, air guitar is born again. Now repeat after Liam, “And I get so high / I just can’t feel it!”

Upon the following tracks… there it is. The undeniable final deathblow to a musical-parallel-universe Mike Tyson who once screamed under a thick, raging cloud of a lisp, “my style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable and I’m the ferocious” can now only look down as a beaten champion with bleeding eyes and quietly utter the phrase, “I guess I’m gonna fade into Bolivion”. The rest of the album consists of a stake driven upon classic Brit-pop era bands such as Pulp, Suede, Happy Mondays, pre-arty Blur and the Charlatans, which is what hurts most about this album. To be lifted and inspired again to the time when you cheered for albums such as Dog Man Star, Different Class and Definitely Maybe, only to be pushed off a cliff (after only one track) with sheer tripe otherwise known on this album as Force of Nature and Hung in a Bad Place. Shoddy guitar riffs + sloppy pacing + recycled hooks + Liam trying to sound like he still cares = One colossal album of wank.

Where Definitely Maybe was worthy of a shrine in the Rock & Roll hall of fame, Morning Glory worthy of a statue in front, Be Here Now worthy of a spot in a drug-rehab clinic, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants worthy of a yawn, Heathen Chemistry is worthy of the Gallagher brothers being stoned to death while having Damon Albarn “taking the piss” on them with Robbie Williams shit-kicking Liam’s lifeless corpse signing George Michaels covers. Such is the life of Rock & Roll giants having lost their way, their inspiration, their spirit and their willingness to explore.

On track 6’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger Part II”, or technically, as it says on the tracklisting, Stop Crying Your Heart Out, the very last bit goes, “Where all of us stars / We’re fading away / Just try not to worry / you’ll see us someday.” It is an aptly put line, however much more eloquent it may be than fading into Bolivion.

Yet for some reason, despite the severity of this review, I simply cannot shake the feeling and vibe of The Hindu Times. Brilliance, though a skeleton now deeply buried, reanimated for this one track, is nevertheless still present and could very well be revived under proper circumstances. It is unfortunate Heathen Chemistry is not the child, niece, nor nephew of such circumstances, but one can only hope, cross fingers, or unlock the secrets to the universe for their next go around.

And with a heavy sigh, I will, along with legions of believers, wait patiently for their next album, hoping they will return with direction, with spirit, and with creativity. Hoping for true Brit-Pop to resurrect itself in a form qualified to reclaim its place in musical kingdom. Hoping for more swagger, less wank.

  • Oasis – Heathen Chemistry
  • by Terence Leung
  • Published on September 1st, 2002
Heathen Chemistry
Sony Music
July 2nd, 2002

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