Oasis- Don’t Believe The Truth (Epic)

The Arts — By on July 14, 2005 at 3:12 pm

Noel Gallagher has long been pop music’s prince of thieves. The dude’s lifted melodies & hooks from such disparate sources as John Lennon (“Don’t Look Back In Anger”), Stevie Wonder (“Step Out”), Gary Glitter (“Hello”), and an old Coke ad (“Shakermaker”). But on “Part Of The Queue”, a standout cut from Oasis’ latest album, Noel sets a new standard for himself: he actually borrows the verse melody from Shannon’s mid-80’s dance-pop classic “Let The Music Play.” Needless to say, this is about the only R&B influence on Don’t Believe The Truth (save for the hyper-Motown beat of “The Meaning Of Soul”), the group’s seventh studio album and the follow-up to 2002’s return to form, Heathen Chemistry.

Ah, but all is not well. Truth has its highlights, but ultimately fails to satisfy. One reason could be the lack of Noel’s presence- he only wrote five of the eleven songs, as opposed to his sole authorship of early Oasis masterpieces Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? In fact, Noel seemed to be a bottomless well of great tunes from 1994-1997 (the overspill of B-Sides comprised 1998’s The Masterplan). Now, he’s shooting blanks like “Mucky Fingers” for every gem like “Lyla.” And speaking of gems, fellow guitarist Gem Archer is now two for two in the songwriting department with his contribution, “A Bell Will Ring.” Noel’s brother Liam (he of the sneering vocals and incomprehensible speech) keeps trying to atone for 2000’s “Little James” with the atrociously-titled-but-actually-quite-good “Guess God Thinks I’m Abel.” “Turn Up The Sun” is a good 60’s-ish tune from bassist Andy Bell, but won’t stop true Brit-pop fans from wishing for a Ride reunion.

The bottom line is that it’s sad to get an album devoid of a true classic from a group that used to turn out albums that were nearly full of them. If this trend continues, we could see Noel standing alongside his apparent influence Shannon on an episode of “Hit Me Baby One More Time” sometime in the future.

RATING (1-10): 6

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