Well I suppose it had to happen sooner or later, and to be fair it has taken twelve years for arguably the biggest band to come out of Britain since The Beatles to finally put out a best-of compilation. While Stop The Clocks can't be described as being anywhere near definitive, its tracks still knock giant spots off most of the album chart competition out there at the minute.
While it has been a popular pastime for indie elitists to regularly knock the Gallaghers - particularly since the admittedly dynamic-less duo of Be Here Now and Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants - it would be difficult to imagine any music lover of a certain age, whatever genre path they eventually followed, not owning at least one Oasis record. Indeed, the chances are that the average DiS reader has probably got most - if not all - of the eighteen songs that make up this album in one format or another. If, like me, you're one of those saddo completists, you may have already taken the trouble to compile your own personal best-of, too.
Forget the fact that this is basically a get-out clause, enabling Oasis to depart from Sony with their heads held high (although that probably explains the lack of new material on here - rumour has it Noel Gallagher didn't want to give anything away to his past employers). What makes Stop The Clocks fascinating is that its tracklisting was selected by the band: bearing in mind that only two of the current line-up played on fifteen of the songs here, that makes the Gallaghers' own admission that they've never really matched the euphoric standards of Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory quite admirable, and even a little poignant.
Aside from the obvious inclusion of flagship anthems such as 'Supersonic', 'Cigarettes And Alcohol' and 'Live Forever', this compilation also includes some of the band's b-sides, most of which could (and in some cases should) have been singles in their own right. Even now, many of them sound head and shoulders above most of what came afterwards, i.e. post Morning Glory, whether that feeling is because of Oasis themselves or any of the lad-rock pretenders embarrassingly following suit in their wake.
The only gripes here are that only eighteen tracks doesn't really do one of the most influential bands of our generation justice, and also that the lack of material from the band's last two albums (go on, admit it if you dare: Heathen Chemistry and Don't Believe The Truth are actually pretty decent records), which blatantly suggests that Stop The Clocks may just be the start of Oasis's journey aboard the compilation gravy train.
Despite a good decade or more having passed since the majority of these songs were recorded, Oasis's heyday really does feel like yesterday. Like it's been 24 hours since the last time you burst into song about being a rock and roll star, or that you were sniffing Alka Seltzer through a cane. No doubt in another ten years it will still feel the same. I wonder if you'll be able to say that about Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly in 2016? Who...?
Tonii-iiight, and forever, they are rock'n'roll stars
You all know what these songs sound like. Like tea and soggy biscuits, snaking dole queues, recreational drug abuse and rainy, wasted days, these are songs - not only born from all of the above - but microcosms of modern life: songs woven into the tapestry of British culture itself. Here's a theory: if folk music is supposedly music of the people, but modern-day folk music generally consists of bearded, smelly plebs in Arran sweaters singing songs about fishing, then surely these songs are the embodiment of what contemporary British folk music really is? Songs for the terraces, for closing time, for parties - these are songs owned by the population of Britain. You can stop laughing now. NME can stop trying to cross the speeding motorway of theoretical bullshit. And we can all get on to the important stuff.
Theorising Oasis is like drinking butter - pointless and bad for the heart. How do you theorise the beat of a pulse, the strut of a peacock, the clang of a Les Paul? Just for a second though, bear with us. Yes, Oasis came to be at a time when rock music was on its knees (or splattered all over Kurt Cobain's conservatory if you'd prefer a more visceral image), and yes, for a brief time in the mid-'90s they seemed to provide a soundtrack to colossal, cataclysmic social and cultural change. Yes, all of the above is true, yet, like the songs, you've heard that shit so many times before, it's no exaggeration that this writer, upon typing those words on to the page, actually sighed. This is wrong. There is nothing about this record - and as a collection of singles, album tracks and B-sides culled predominantly from early era Oasis, we're talking about a record dosed to the gills with rich pickings - that should ever induce the practice of sighing.
To understand these songs is to know what if feels like to be 18 years old, with a great haircut and a great set of clothes, walking into a club with more heart and hope than dough, and thinking - metaphorically at least - "Everyone in this shithole is going to suck my fucking dick." These are songs about triumph and adversity ('Talk Tonight'); about having nothing and wanting everything ('Rock'N'Roll Star'); about being pissed off with the world, yet coming from such a poor lot, you're too pathetically educated to be able to express such rage linguistically, and anyway, the cool-as-fuck, forever iconic, six-syllable stretched pronunciation of 'Im-ag-in-aay-shee-en' says everything you want to say much more succinctly ('Cigarettes & Alcohol'). It's also about fighting - and, if you take into account Oasis' much underappreciated, career best dewy side ('Slide Away', 'Wonderwall', 'Don't Look Back In Anger'), forgiving. Put plainly and simply, these are songs about every intake of air that goes into your lungs, swills about inside you for a bit, and then returns from where it arrived. These are songs that chronicle the experience of life.
Let's qualify that last statement: when Britpop ruled the roost and every half-arsed, talentless chancer (and Blur and Pulp) fancied themselves as a modern-day Alan Bennett - retelling tails of suburban strife via the eyes of detached sociological voyeurs - Oasis were singing songs of prize, choice-cut gobbledygook. No, these are songs about life in all its extremity, encompassing the minutiae of existence and the thrill of experience. Much like Liam wore Noel's words like his own, these are songs for your life to wear. Consider 'Champagne Supernova' and its nonsensical refrain of "Slowly walking down the hall/Faster than a cannonball". Now close your eyes. Remember where you were when you first heard it. Now try saying it means nothing. Repeat with the couplets of 'Supersonic', 'Morning Glory' and 'Lyla'. Turn stereo to 11. Those songs say everything about life. They document it. They pulled you through it time and time again.
'Stop The Clocks' is a faultless record compiled by a band riddled with faults. After such early promise, Oasis never delivered beyond the stream of brilliant early album tracks and B-sides that marked their inception into the world. And while there's an argument that says there could be another 20 great songs bolted on to this record ('Whatever', 'Cast No Shadow', 'Bring It On Down'), there's not much worthy of inclusion that clocks in post-1996 within the scope of their discography. If anything, 'Stop The Clocks' serves as an unflattering mirror to Oasis circa 2006. A national treasure, forever amusing/inspiring interview copy, and an inconsistent creative force, yet a band - for all the Gallaghers' bravado - at least 10 years past their peak. Where did it go wrong? Wah, that one's for the theorists/marriage guidance councillors/drug dealers. This is an album of celebration - a toast to the band that embodied everything you ever believed rock'n'roll ever could be. And moreover, the band who embodied everything you ever believed life could be.
We'll say it again: you all know what these songs sound like - but stop the clocks, take a look back, rejoice! Celebrate how they made you feel.
Manchester band finally releases best-of compilation that will break contract with Sony. There are no new songs, but the essentials are here.
I never used to be a huge fan of Oasis. I always found it hard to ignore the Gallagher brothers’ flagrant arrogance and how they shamelessly ripped off other artists. All that aside, there was one leading motive behind my disdain for the band and, all things considered, it was pretty stupid. When I was a sophomore in high school, I bought a copy of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? for my then-girlfriend. With the exception of their early MTV buzz clip for “Live Forever”, I felt indifferent about Oasis in general. Nearly a week after giving her the album, she broke up with me and never gave it back. After that, my interest for the band never reached anything more than mild curiosity whenever I read about Noel or Liam getting into a bar brawl. This changed dramatically after I went to college.
During my final year in school, I became best friends with a musician who happened to be an Oasis fanatic. One of our typical conversations about music would usually revert back to Oasis. He owned every one of their albums and his hard drive was full of b-sides, unreleased, and hard-to-find material that he collected over the years. After acquainting myself with their back catalogue, I was amazed to discover what a fantastic songwriter Noel Gallagher is. Unfortunately, if you were to ask any casual mainstream music fan their opinion on Oasis, most would be surprised to hear they still made music.
The next few records they released following Morning Glory are mixed bags, but despite a handful of throwaways, both Standing on the Shoulder of Giants and Heathen Chemistry contain several noteworthy Oasis tracks. Their most recent album, 2005’s Don’t Believe the Truth, is feasibly one of their greatest, and most cohesive, albums in years. After an extensive tour (which included a record-time sold-out date at New York’s Madison Square Garden), there were rumors abound that the band planned to leave Sony / Epic because their contract was almost fulfilled. Stop the Clocks is the catalyst for Oasis to break their ties with Sony. Guitarist Noel Gallagher stated in recent interviews that he did not want the album to include just singles, but to collect of their best singles, album tracks, and b-sides.
Is this criteria met for Stop the Clocks? Well, yes and no. At first glance, it’s hard not to see this cd as a quick way to cash-in. On the other hand, it is also a fine testament to a band that has weathered several almost-breakups, provoked numerous scuffles with law enforcement, traded barbs with other musicians, and had abundant drug problems. The songs on Clocks are sequenced out-of-order from the dates they were released, which gives the collection a decent flow. Stand-out b-sides like “Talk Tonight” and “The Masterplan” sound better than ever on this collection when placed between early rave-ups like “Cigarettes and Alcohol” and “Some Might Say”. While I’ve never fully appreciated the Oasis essentials “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” or “Wonderwall”, they are entirely necessary for this best of.
If you were to parallel Stop the Clocks to other greatest hits albums by alternative groups who achieved mainstream popularity in the past decade, a fitting comparison would be Stone Temple Pilots’ Thank You. The only difference is that Stop the Clocks has no new or unreleased songs, even though there is a tune that Noel supposedly wrote and later shelved called “Stop the Clocks”. Nevertheless, I find it an admirable move that a band would not offer anything new on a greatest hits release than to tack a sub-par song on the end just to get devotees to shell out money for the album.
With more than half the songs being pulled from their first two albums, one might wonder what else Oasis could have (or should have) added from later releases that would have enhanced Stop the Clocks.1997’s bloated Be Here Now isn’t represented here at all (although “All Around the World” is still being used in AT&T commercials) and one song each is taken from Standing on the Shoulder of Giants and Heathen Chemistry. “Let There Be Love”, the final single from Don’t Believe the Truth, also absent as is “Little By Little”, one of Noel’s finest anthems and a live favorite. Almost inexcusable is the omission of Whatever, a one-off single that defines the core of Oasis. The driving rhythm section and string accompaniment energize Liam’s raspy sneer and substantially reinforce the lyrics, “I’m free to do whatever I / Whatever I choose and I’ll sing the blues if I want.”
It would have been interesting to divide Stop the Clocks in half with one disc containing some of the best songs featuring Liam and the other disc featuring Noel’s vocals (not unlike Outkast’s adventurous Speakerboxxx / The Love Below). As with most best-of collections, not everyone is going to be pleased with the final tracklist. Regardless, Stop the Clocks is a definitive statement of a band who started out with nothing and became one of the most superlative bands to come out of England. Perseverance like that has seldom made cocky assholes like the Gallaghers seem so charming.
The 411: There's a number of different ways Oasis could have approached this collection. While die-hards will argue that most fans already own these songs, any casual fan will be more than pleased with what this album has to offer.
You forgot about the things that he could say like I dont think that I like you anymore Well I found new feelings at the feeling store and I cant find you at our kissing place and I'm scared of those new pair of eyes you have
All Music Guide - 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. AMG Album Pick!
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
A young Noel Gallagher at the height of Oasis' popularity in the mid-'90s declared that the band would not release a compilation CD until the end of their career, since such compilations implied that a band's career was indeed over. A decade later, an older, presumably wiser Gallagher realized that if you're about to leave your longtime label and that label will release a compilation whether you participate or not, it's better to write your own draft of your band's history than having the label do it for you. And so, Gallagher designed the first Oasis hits compilation, 2006's double-disc, 18-track Stop the Clocks. As he so often has done in his career, he looked to the Beatles for guidance, choosing their two 1973 hits comps 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 -- better-known as The Red Album and The Blue Album -- as a template for Stop the Clocks. Those records mixed up hits with album tracks and B-sides to offer an overview of the band's identity, and so it is with Oasis' double-disc set, as it overlooks big hits -- "Roll with It," "D'You Know What I Mean," "Stand by Me" -- in favor for things that were tucked away on albums or singles. Where the Beatles albums sampled more or less equally from each phase of their career, Gallagher is a bit more ruthless in rewriting his own history, thoroughly excising 1997's Be Here Now from the band's past -- an overreaction that's nevertheless perfectly in line with everything regarding their overblown third album.
Such fits of pique are typical for Gallagher and Oasis -- which at the time of the release of Stop the Clocks had only his brother Liam as the other remaining original member -- and another is the exclusion of the non-LP Christmas 1994 single "Whatever," omitted presumably because if it was here the band would have to shell out royalties to David Bowie. But even if "Whatever" is missed along with such other great singles both early ("Shakermaker") and late ("The Hindu Times"), Stop the Clocks works at its most basic level: it offers an excellent primer to Oasis at their best. Of course, this means that it draws very heavily on the glory days of 1994-1996, offering five tracks each from Definitely Maybe and (What's the Story) Morning Glory, plus various B-sides from this era. All in all, a whopping 15 of the 19 tracks here date from this time, and the four songs that do come from the 21st century -- "Lyla," "The Importance of Being Idle," "Go Let It Out," "Songbird" -- more than hold their own since they rely on what has always been their strengths: sturdy classicist songwriting and spirited performances. And that's why Oasis' best music has dated very well: anything with such aspirations to be classic lives and dies by the strength of their material, and this manages to capture its time and transcend it, since its attitude remains potent, and the songs sound as good hundreds of times after their fist spin. No, even at two discs Stop the Clocks doesn't contain all of the best of Oasis, but it does contain Oasis at their best and enough of it that it can indeed be passed along to future generations as an introduction to one of the best bands of their time, just like how the Red and Blue albums converted many young listeners to the Beatles.