Monday, 29 August 2016

Oasis: Non-Album Songs Part Two 2000-2015






Oasis at their scariest, Noel's [  ] 'Let's All Make Believe' sounds like the elder brother throwing in the towel. 'Let's make believe we're all friends and we like each other - that in the end we're gonna need each other' his sensitive lyric cries, sung with acute venom from Liam even though the song's probably aimed at himself. Other lines expand the song, the idea that one day poverty will be solved, that 'mankind's gonna feed his brother' and that Noel has been left 'praying to a God in which I don't believe and which I've betrayed' - a variation on his 'met my maker and made him cry' line from 'D'Yer Know What I Mean?', another song about the guilt of not being 'good enough' to live up to a reputation. The most horrific line for us listeners, though, is the idea that all rock and roll bands change and split, that that 'in the end we won't grow up'. An ice-cold arpeggio guitar part and a floaty mellotron part make Liam sound as if he's singing into an empty void, with the song reaching an impressive scale thanks to some backwards guitar and lots of echo. The result is one of the band's more mature songs which, ironically enough, features Oasis really pulling together on a song that demands more of each of them than normal, with a truly electrifying appearance as Liam cackles like a demented witch, perhaps Noel's darker side mocking him (legend has it Noel wrote this song the night Guigsy left by fax, with the guitarist trying all afternoon to reach him on the phone, a week after Bonehead handed in his notice). This song should by rights have appeared on 'Heathen Chemistry' - perhaps Noel felt it too uncomfortably close to the truth to release? Stunning stuff and evidence that there was more to Oasis than singalong anthems - any band would be pleased to have this terrific song in their catalogue, never mind hidden away on a B-side. Find it on: the CD single 'Go Let It Out' (2000)

'Cigarettes In Hell' is another typically revealing Noel Gallagher B-side from perhaps the best collection of flipsides the band ever put out, speaking more to fans of the deeper side of the band's music than  than the fun but slightly slight A-side. It's another track that tells us a lot more about where his mind was post Oasis' glory years, depicting an addict who hates his lifestyle but is too lethargic to escape it (yet). Noel suddenly sounds old, a lot older than he was just a couple of years earlier during the 'Be Here Now' sessions, returning to two themes of earlier Oasis song and looking at them both through the eyes of a wiser, sadder man. The first of these is his earliest triumph 'Live Forever', with 'Cigarettes In Hell' looking forward to the day he dies (a theme that will grow and grow in his writing from here on in). The original song was a 27-year-old yearning for success to put everything in his life right; the now 34-year-old Noel knows that actually fame wasn't worth the wait. The 'modern' Noel reckons this life 'ain't all that as far as I can tell' and he's quite happy not to be 'immortal'. But the song comes with a condition based on an earlier song 'Cigarettes and Alcohol': he's now so hung up on the one thing that used to offer glorious escapism that he'll only 'die' if they've 'got cigarettes in hell'. The sound of Noel lighting up and then coughing up what sounds like blood emphasises how much has changed: bad habits aren't fun aren't anymore (though chances are what Noel really has in mind are the stronger drugs he was taking in the 'Be Here Now' period. A slow, weary, simple backing track is the biggest change: this song couldn't sound less like the energetic, exuberant wall of noise everyone always associates with Oasis. As if to suggest that this is now the writer's 'mature' years (post-Merseybeat) a  faintly psychedelic mellotron drums away in the background - another sound that's going to be key to the band's sound in the years to come. With extra lyrics about still being stuck on life's treadmill (such a change from the delights of 'Rock and Roll Star' which was about avoiding exactly that), 'Cigarettes In Hell' marks a massive change in Noel's world viewpoint and writing. The song remains one of its authors most accomplished compositions, laying down the message that he and Oasis have to change to keep their sanity, the single most important song on this list since 'Champagne Supernova'. Find it on: the CD single 'Go Let It Out' (2000)

'This is a song by Neil Young - no I wasn't born either!' quips Noel at the start of a devastating full on roar on Young's tribute to rock and roll  'Hey Hey My My (Into The Blue)'. Actually Noel would have been 12 when this song was released on Neil's 'Rust Never Sleeps' LP and is a far more 'Oasisy' song than their other recent cover versions, reflecting both on the fact that rock and roll is going to 'live forever' and the sadly impermanent state of some of the performers who can't keep up. This is a key song in Neil's canon, reflecting on how he has to keep moving and change what his audience thinks of him or he's in danger of 'rusting' into one position for the rest of his life. Noel's committed vocal suggests he's already having fears of a similar sort (2002 was not a good year for Oasis, trying to claw back some of their old standing with in the rock world) and turns in a gripping performance, swapping some excellent lead guitar work with Gem. The result is the highlight of the 'Familiar To Millions' live album and a display that Oasis lived and breathed rock and roll before they started playing it (unlike, say, bitter rivals 'Blur' who came to rock music as a logical next step from studying poetry and literature - both bands will 'swap over' somewhere around the millennium, with Noel's songs becoming wordier and less about the riffs). Find it on: the live CD 'Familiar To Millions' (2000)

The Beatles cover  'Helter Skelter' is a less obvious choice than 'Walrus' but still a rather generic choice for a band who knew the fab four's discography and could have pulled out some real long lost gem (an Oasis version of 'Hey Bulldog', for instance, would have been a winner). Paul McCartney wrote this song after reading a review of The Who single 'I can See For Miles' where the reviewer described it as the 'rawest, loudest, dirtiest' thing he'd ever heard. The bassist was disappointed because he'd always longed to go far out - but was relieved when he heard Townshend's single, which is more about carefully controlled power than simple chaos. 'Helter Skelter' pushed The White Album Beatles to the limit, forcing them to play together for once across the album and originally lasting some 20 minutes. Oasis' version doesn't quite match that but they do extend the running time to six-and-a-half minutes thanks to a lengthy coda with some soaring guitar solos that just keep on coming and - just like the stereo editions of the original - a false ending that keeps on coming, with the same gruff repeated over and over. Many fans assumed that Oasis would have been perfect for a 'heavier' Beatles song like this, but actually they're a melodic band despite their reputation for noise and they don't quite nail this song's tight rhythm section as well as they could - in either setting. To be fair, the song's first recording came in an imperfect concert setting - The Beatles never did this one live. They play well enough and certainly intense enough though - surely they all had 'blisters on their fingers' by the end - while Noel gets nice and carried away on the vocal, although the star is clearly Whitey who makes mincemeat out of what was always one of Ringo's better drumming performances. A six minute effect-riddled studio version actually appeared later as a B-side and features much the same line-up and texture but without the 'fizz' of a live performance. Noel's vocal is treated with effects, which is a shame (if any song should sound 'real' it's this one), while the 'wall of noise' is too busy for a song that's all about going back to basics. The spacey feedback effects over the elongated fade are rather good though.  Find the live version on 'Familiar To Millions' (2000) and the studio version on the CD single 'Who Feels Love?' (2000)

The rather sweet, if gloomy, [  ] 'One Way Road' sounds like another Noel Gallagher confessional. Now a reformed addict, he sounds pleased to have got out intact and slightly horrified at what became of him ('I wanna get high - but I never could take the pain'). The sweet metaphor 'like a one man band clapping in the pouring rain' sums up his feelings of being lost as he considers the drug experience one that never lived up to what was billed: he wanted to see 'diamonds in the sky' (another Beatles reference) but all he felt was more 'rain' (the weather, of course, being Noel's usual metaphor for inspiration and spiritual guidance). Drugs, he fears, are a 'one way road' if you go down them too far and it's not a road where others can help you - the biggest concern was how 'alone' he felt as he was tries to get his kicks down a drug-ridden route 66. Sung with the shy and humble setting that often works best with Noel's voice (more 'Heart Of A Star' and 'Talk Tonight' than 'The Fame' or 'Flashbax') it's a pretty song with a nice tune that would have fitted on the 'Shoulders' album well, even if Noel returns to his habit of simply repeating himself rather than adding a middle eight or third verse that would make a very good song great. Still well worth seeking out though. Find it on: the CD single 'Who Feels Love?' (2000)

Noel's demo for [  ] 'Gas Panic!' was only the second home recording released by the band officially and started the trend for a whole run of releases. It's a good place to start, being both fascinatingly close to the finished version in terms of mood and arrangement and very different, if only for featuring Noel's slightly mellow vocals, which make this version of the song less intimidating than Liam's but no less scary. Even the sound effects are there for this moody demo of another 'Giants' highlight. The sudden spark into life on the second verse is rather muffed and there's less electric guitar over the shade-too-slow fade and a lot more tuneless flute, but the principle idea is there and sounding rather good. Liam will do a better job though - in fact the vocal on the finished product is one of his greatest - but you can see why Noel fancied this song for himself too. Find it on: the CD single 'Who Feels Love?' (2000)
The 'Sunday Morning Call' single is notable for featuring only Noel's vocals throughout, with [  ] 'Carry Us All' featuring a very similar mellow vibe. The song appears to be Noel talking about the band's changing reputation, with the first verse having him hear a song on the radio he knows is really good and which inspired his competitive edge - but sulkily he doesn't bother to write it and 'let's it go' because he knows nobody's going to take it seriously (given the praise he heaped on it in interviews, it seems likely Noel had The Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony' in mind, a very Oasisy slice of modern day living). Noel vows that he's still a 'bona fide keeper of right and wrong' and is open to his old Oasis fans growing up and having other belief systems. He's adamant, though, that religion is no replacement: 'Faith in any God is gonna bury us all' is Noel's strongest line yet against religion (usually it's God disappointed in Noel - this is the first song where Noel's disappointed in God) and there are further lines about hiding from prophets so he can't hear what they say (though the way the lines are written these could be music critics; hey, I'm a prophet!) He also dismisses 'ten bob revolutions' that cause nothing but chaos.  It turns out Noel doesn't really have the answers, for the first time in a long time, and the thought shakes him. It also seems to have disrupted his usual ability at writing hummable tunes with 'Carry Us All' one of his weakest and least memorable, although the lyrics are well worth paying attention to. Find it on: the CD single 'Sunday Morning Call' (2000)

The final song to be released from the 2000 sessions rather points the way forward to the noisier Gem 'n' Andy sound of the albums to come, with [  ] 'Full On' a cross between the four-in-the-bar stomp of 'Don't Believe The Truth' and the aggression of 'Dig Out Your Soul'. Noel sings, well screams really, on a song that would more normally be sung by Liam. The track concerns a rush of adrenalin, one the narrator's felt before and will feel again ('From the cradle till you're insane!') while he also reflects that life's'time tunnel' is 'long' and there will be time enough again to repair the damage caused by Oasis' recent slump in sales. Noel promises that if we hang around long enough for the comeback it's going to be 'full on', although whether recycling the tune from 'My Big Mouth' (not one of the band's greatest ideas) is proof of that is doubtful. Noel also unwisely quotes from 'Spirits In The Sky' on the chorus, blissfully unaware that X Factor is going to make that song unlistenable in the coming years. Find it on: the CD single 'Sunday Morning Call' (2000)

By now Noel is saving his most expressive, honest songs for Oasis B-sides. 'Just Getting Older' is another gorgeous Noel B-side about feeling increasingly detached from his younger, party-loving self. He's staying in , 'can't be bothered', bored of all his records and has lost touch with all his real 'mates', now all he has around him are 'people I don't know'. Asking the question 'am I cracking up or just getting older?' Noel eventually answers that it's the latter, but sounds less than pleased at the idea that he's 'finally grown' with the alarming prospect of nothing interesting to do but 'sit here all day and moan'. Once again the backing is sparse and delicate, only breaking into life for the painful middle eight where Noel has one last try at staving off old age. The song soon falls back into the same old stupor, though, trapped back where it started. Noel was all of 35 at the time - the same age where his idol John Lennon left the music business to become a house-husband; though you can never really picture Noel baking bread and bringing up a baby he's clearly suffering from a similar sort of malaise (by contrast the younger Liam has never sounded more alive in this period although when he catches his brother up five years on, during the late Oasis era, he's suffering from a similar dose of the same thing). Another of Noel's most under-rated songs and impressively different to the rock oompah of the A-side. Find it on: the CD single 'The Hindu Times' (2000)

'Idler's Dream' is a pretty song that once again is too good to be 'thrown away' on a B-side. A love song with just Noel's heavily echoed vocal and a piano, the elder Gallagher promises an escape from all of life on 'a day that never ends'. However less romantic is the middle eight, with Noel's startling admission that he's not really in love - he just hates the idea of 'waking up on my own'. The second half of the song then takes an extra twist: she's a 'made up' person, more about what Noel wants her to be than who she is, an 'idler's dream' he created when bored one day. Even by his standards, you get the feeling that we're overhearing something deeply personal that wasn't really meant for our ears. The result is a song that feels slightly unfinished, with the twist perhaps better if it came with a bigger signpost, but it's another highly welcome glimpse into just how much is going on in the head and heart of Gallagher senior which you wouldn't necessarily know from the hit singles and albums. Find it on: the CD single 'The Hindu Times' (2002)

As with so many other Oasis demo recordings, I much prefer Noel's home-brewed version of [  ] 'The Hindu Times', curiously only made available on the limited edition 'DVD Audio' version of the single (which also included a ten minute extract from the documentary 'Noise And Confusion'). Noel has turned his wall of noise into an art form, with even more guitars than the record and a classic drum riff that for once sounds better on machine than played by Alan White. Noel sounds less comfortable on the lyrics, perhaps because he hasn't perfected them yet, with an entirely new first verse: 'You fall in, fall down, there's no love in the shot-gun town, when you believe it's not fair, when you leave yeah but love won't care, the goal is in your soul that leaves me calling, said girl said it's your soul that leaves me calling, 'cause you get so high you just don't feel it...' (there's none of the spiritual or religious imagery of the finished version, interestingly, no 'souls that won't drown' or 'God gimme the soul in your rock and roll - babe!' Find it on: the DVD-single 'The Hindu Times' (2002)

One of the more important B-side of the period is Noel's [  ] 'Shout It Loud', a song that lyrically is a match for any of the 'dream big' anthems of the band's early years with the 'feel' of the more recent recordings of a man whose seen it all and know fame isn't all it's cracked up to be. Lyrically it sounds like Noel is torn between two loves in his life, as indeed he was: though still married to Meg Matthews, he had already met second wife Sara MacDonald and sounds torn in two about what direction to take it. As a result this is the old Oasis days of 'singalong' anthems with a gloriously uplifting chorus, couched in a minor key recording that sounds as if both the brake and accelerator are hard down at once. The song also sounds as if it's written for the fans too: 'I hope I filled a hole in your soul' Noel shyly asks in the first verse, less sure of himself than normal. Together with a delightful tune, which sounds like an extension of the mellotron part on 'Go Let It Out', this is one of its creators most overlooked songs, especially from the second half of the band's career. Find it on: the CD single 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' (2002)

[  ] 'Thankyou For The Good Times' is more what you'd expect, with Liam back singing a Noel lyric with mucho swaggero against one of the last great 'wall of noises' of the band's career. Though Noel is as ever ambiguous enough to be writing about anything, this sounds terribly like a message to his brother: though the title reads like a typical Oasis slap on the back it's actually a song of hurt about never being thanked properly. Noel can sense that things are winding down and is waiting for a new band to 'rise' and take the band's crown, but before the good time fade away completely he longs for one bit of recognition from someone he's close to and helped raise from nothing. Liam's sneering vocal suggests he isn't going to get a thankyou anytime soon, though, while Noel's guitar is unusually loud, sounding like a bee stinging Liam throughout the song. Some things never change, eh? Find it on: the CD single 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' (2002)

Oasis' latest demo is another good 'un'. [  ] 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' sounds very different in its original form, a fragile ballad where a single lone acoustic guitar part fights a single held mellotron chord that appears to be holding it back. Noel effectively sings to himself, taking both his and Liam's parts and whole he can't sing the song anything like as well as Liam (he's often admitted that the worse he sounds on the demo, the more he knows Liam is 'meant' to sing a track) this is clearly a song that means a lot to it's author as he tries to haul himself out of his own lethargy. A side effect of the new arrangement is that with less instruments the chord resolution from the verse into the chorus sounds much gentler and 'normal' here, rather than jarring as per the record. The song would never have made #2 in the charts like this, or gained such a strong following, but it's another fine version of a great song and welcome to have out in the open instead of on bootleg (but, again, why relegate it to just the DVD version? - those things were pricey back in the day!) Find it on: the DVD single 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out'

Of all the band's 1960s cover versions, The Who's hit [  ] 'My Generation' suit Oasis the best. Liam sings the song with even more of a sneer than Roger Daltrey and Noel adds more guitar than Pete Townshend would ever dream of, Andy nails John Entwistle's shoulder shrug of a bass solo and Whitey sensibly backs out of trying to copy Keith Moon and adds a more Oasisy backbeat to the song. This is a slightly more focussed idea of rage than the manic wheeling of the original and while the band are singing about an entirely different generation, many of the principles still stand (the 1990s did after all owe more to the 1960s than any other decade, especially in Oasis' hands). Oasis have always shared with The Who a particularly strong 'link' with their audiences and while they haven't made their own shared history project like 'Quadrophenia' yet or tried to enter their audience's DNA into a machine that can bring the lost chord to life a la the aborted 'Lifehouse', 'My Generation' is very much in tune with the Oasis character. Predictably, the song ends in a minute long mass of swirling guitars all battling each other. Not even close to the original of course, but what is? Find it on: the double A sided single 'Little By Little'/ 'She Is Love' (2002)

There are comparatively few differences between the demo of [  ] 'Little By Little' and the final product - the 'Chemistry' version was, after all, near enough a solo Noel performance. However the vocal line is very different, with Noel putting on more of the 'mockers' voice a la Liam (was his brother originally meant to sing it?) before finally getting authentic in the chorus. You miss the few overdubs of the finished product - the soaring guitar and the sudden crunch into double-time towards the end, but demos of quality songs are always welcome and this is one of Noel's best. Did I mean what I just said?... Find it on: the double A sided single 'Little By Little'/ 'She Is Love' (2002)

One of the more obscure Liam Gallagher vocals appeared on the second album by London psychedelic band Death In Vegas (who had to change from their intended name 'Dead Elvis' after a lawsuit by the Presley estate). [  ] 'Scorpio Rising' is a very Oasisy song that could easily have been on the 'Heathen Chemistry' album with Liam's sharp and direct vocals the only link back to Earth on a freaky backing track full of backwards tape loops and space age effects. Though Liam didn't play any part in writing the song, it even sounds like one of his with a similar bravado perfect for his sneering voice: 'When you kiss the base of my spine make my body into your shrine!' Like 'Cigarettes In Hell' in reverse, Liam has come from Hell, 'flying high upon the gallows', and only wants to see Heaven, which sounds nicely hippieish the way it's described in the last verse ('Potted gold and tattooed faces, Harrison murals on the corner, tupperware boxes full of hops' - sounds like Oasis' tour rider!) Find it on: 'Scorpio Rising' by Death In Vegas (2002)

Perhaps realising the stick he'd get if he covered the song 'for real', Noel relegated his second Slade cover [  ] 'Merry Xmas Everybody' to a giveaway freebie with a festive edition of the New Musical Express. Actually I much prefer this cover to 'Cum On Feel The Noize': Noel slows the song down into a pretty ballad and takes the song back to basics, so there's none of that irritating false party bonhomie and Noel doesn't even try to scream 'it's Xmassss!' Instead he sings this song as if he's already looking ahead to the new year and worrying about what might be, with this song's chorus of 'look to the future now - it's only just begun' sounding at one with the optimistic zen imagery of Oasis' early songs. Trust Noel to get melancholy even at a Christmas party! Though that's probably Whitey on the drums, no other members of Oasis seem to appear. Find it on: given away free with the December 2002 issue of the NME

By 2003 the days of multiple B-sides right up to an album's fourth single release were long gone - Noel was writing less and the others weren't yet as prolific as he. However the gorgeous (You've Got) The Heart Of A Star proves that quality can sometimes win over quantity. One of Noel's loveliest songs, it finds him in a much better place than of late, returning to his favourite theme that 'you can only be what you are'. While the chorus cry 'come on my brothers and sisters' is probably meant in a larger sense, this sounds like another song written for Liam. Once again Noel has mixed feelings towards his brother, offering the sort of advice elderly brothers are always giving ('Go about your business, but be aware life ain't your mistress!') and while Noel is proud of his brother, a natural born 'star' in a way that he could never be, he's amazed at how little a price Liam seems to pay for his misdemeanours, not caught in the spotlight of chaos his 'starlight' throws on everyone else. 'This is what life's like when you're finally grown' he tells his brother, although why he's saying all this now is unknown. A lovely backing, quieter than normal, sees a brass section on an Oasis song for the first time since 'Going Nowhere' and the result is one of Oasis' prettiest recordings. Find it on: the CD single 'Songbird' (2003)

[  ] 'Columbia' has a surprisingly long lifespan in Oasis' repertory, long after most of the 'Definitely Maybe' material had disappeared. Perhaps that's because the band had been playing longer than pretty much any of their other early songs and clearly know it inside out on the breezy 2001 version recorded in Glasgow's Barrowlands. Noel is getting ever more psychedelic on his guitar opening, Whitey plays the song subtlety different to McCarroll and Liam has tones down his sneering to a tone of disgust. The song is very much in rude health in its seventh year. Find it on: the single 'Songbird' (2003)

The noisy [  ] 'Eyeball Tickler' is a less focussed version of the same wild thrash as 'Headshrinker'. Gem's words (this is his first B-side for the band) are most unusual, a kind of Oasis version of John Lennon's 'Cold Turkey' with a 'monkey' (an old blues term for drugs, usually heroin) 'on my brain but feel no pain'. However the rest of the song is more like the gibberish of 'Come Together' - Liam is tired of a junky 'sucking on your veins - get no ways'. However the song sounds like it means something to its author, possibly in the grip of an addiction to something himself, as the song relentlessly pushes on and on, ending in a bloodcurdling 'aaaaahhh' where the band's lyrical middle eight would normally be, suggesting that Liam is too far gone to think of anything to say. Oasis sound rather good playing simply and spiky, without any overdubbing or 'layered' sounds going on, but the song is a little too unfocussed and confusing to work as well as similar songs from the band's early days. Find it on: the CD single 'Lyla' (2005)

Liam's yearning ballad [  ] 'Won't Let You Down' is a 'grower'. I really didn't like this song at first, which sounded like a poor man's 'Don't Let Me Down' although actually the more you dig into this song its actually 'Dear Prudence', Liam trying to coax a reluctant friend to 'come out and play'. A deeper song than it seems on first hearing, this is Liam talking to someone - perhaps his brother, who he admitted he rarely saw in-between gigs on the last two Oasis tours - and both warning him that 'you're surrounded by clowns' and inviting him out for a drink ('Let's get out of our minds' is his drunken cry). More than this, though, the song is an example of how Oasis' power and commitment can rescue a song: the backing is simple, growing verse by verse, held together by a lovely mellotron part and some tight 'Give Peace A Chance' style drumming. Above it all soars Liam's vocal, sneering at full speed oblivious to the sweet backing behind him and one of his last great full-on rock and roll attacks. Something of a template for the 'Beady Eye' sound to come (still heavy, but with softer parts than Oasis), in retrospect this is a sweet and rather important song in the Oasis canon, better than a good half of the 'Don't Believe The Truth' CD. Find it on: the CD single 'Lyla' (2005)

The noisy and rather tuneless [  ] 'Can Y'See It Now?' was written as background music for a documentary of the same name included on the 'Lyla' single and, though the audio wasn't released as a separate track in most countries, the Japanese edition of 'Don't Believe The Truth' included it as a 'bonus' track. To be honest it's not much of a bonus: it's just three minutes of Noel playing a hypnotic riff against synths and drums that sounds as if it needs a good tune and the only lyrics are the title, spoken over the fade. At one with Noel's other experimental concoctions (such as 'Fuckin' In The Bushes'), it's also evidence that while Noel longed to unite other branches from rock and roll like electro music to the fold, he never had as solid a grasp as to what made the best of those songs 'work'. It's still more unlistenable than most of the similarly tuneless songs around in 2005 though. Find it on: the Japanese edition of 'Don't Believe The Truth' (2005)

'Pass Me Down The Wine' is another Liam B-side, evidence that Noel was going through a bit of a dry spell just as his brother was getting into gear. This is another surprisingly angry sounding B-side from the 'Don't Believe The Truth' sessions, even though the lyrics are actually quite innocuous. The narrator is going 'oh no not again' because of some major debacle going on 'off screen' as it were and reaching for the bottle in anticipation of another hard and difficult night. Once again the old Oasis exuberance and hope is long gone - 'What you got tomorrow? Only pain and sorrow' the song complains. An unusual ending section repeats the same chord over and over, Liam sneering away by handing out messages to various members of the audience: you know the sort of thing - 'To all my brothers, bet you're feeling pretty high!' However the ending is one of the nastiest bits of any Oasis record 'To all the fathers - who are getting sick of being fucking tired!' This sounds like a 'clue'. Was parenting going badly for Liam? 'Little James', his wife Nicola Appleton's son, was turning nine by this time, while Liam also had a six year old (Lennon) and a three-year-old (Gene) who sound like they're all getting a bit too much for him. This sounds like the sort of world weary song only a parent of a new born (or a chronic fatigue sufferer - it amounts to the same lack of sleep and symptoms) can sympathise with and the rest of the track has a real 'drained' quality to it, as if the weight of the world is on the narrator's shoulders, like the Beatles song 'I'm So Tired' would have sounded if John Lennon had been at home raising son Julian instead of hanging about with the Maharishi. The sound of an addict sliding deeper into dependency and unable to shake off the feeling of entrapment, 'Pass Me Down The Wine' is another very hard-hitting song. Find it on: the CD single 'The Importance Of Being Idle' (2005)

Gem's wry observation on how Oasis would have collapsed long ago without a buffer between the brothers, be it Bonehead Guigsy Whitey Andy or himself,  'The Quiet Ones' is a suitably understated ballad with even Liam's sneer turned down a level. Raising a glass to the unsung heroes of the world, who get on with their jobs without drawing attention to themselves, it's surely meant not for our ears but the band's. Bell's natural humility and quietness of speech made him an unlikely candidate for Oasis, but a good foil for Liam in particular, offering the vocalist a whole new range of material to get his teeth into that came in slightly deeper and more thoughtful shades than some of Noel's songs. An Oasis fan already, Bell took to the band's signature sound with aplomb, actually providing more of the signature 'Oasis' sound than a rather bored Noel was by the end. However years on the road with a disintegrating band not afraid to express themselves must have really taken their toll. Unable to get anyone to listen to what they had to say, Bell quips 'Can't get near them, so I'll write a song', getting Liam to put forward his own point of view as a 'reminder' that he won't be pushed around. For beneath the quiet demeanour of both bassist and song is 'steel' : 'Listen up!' the lyric goes, quoting from an old Oasis B-side. Unfortunately the song is just a little too quiet to make much impact, which rather flies in the face of the song's true message. Perhaps Andy should have taken a leaf from fellow bassist John Entwistle's book, who made his song 'The Quiet Ones' (from 'It's Hard' 1982) one of the noisiest songs in the band's discography. Find it on: the CD single 'The Importance Of Being Idle' (2005)

As with the other demos for songs Noel ended up singing anyway [  ] 'The Importance Of Being Idle' doesn't sound that different, despite being a solo performance with acoustic guitar without the noisy drums or haunting piano. Noel sounds more like himself than on the final version (which was treated with all sorts of fancy effects the song didn't need) although he's still singing in falsetto. The best part is the solo, which instead of being performed on a screaming guitar features Noel whistling along and making this track sounds more like The Kinks than ever.  Worth releasing, but not getting too excited about. Find it on: the DVD single 'The Importance Of Being Idle' (2005)

The very Lennon-like 'Sitting Here In Silence' is a final B-side from the band's penultimate album sessions and the only 'proper' B-side Noel wrote in this period. As the title implies, this is Noel sitting largely on his own (with just Zak Starkey's drumming for company), singing a song 'after everyone else has gone home'. The song sounds like a combination of Lennon's 'Instant Karma' (with an echo-treated piano and crashing chords) and Oasis' own 'Let There Be Love'. The difference here is that there's no love to be found - this song expresses disdain, not brotherhood. The song then collapses at the end, not really sure of where to go except to fade slowly away after a mere two minutes. That's not really long enough to get to know any song, especially one as slow and empty as this and the effect isn't really that convincing. Of all of Oasis' songs, this is the one that comes closest to sounding like The Rutles (the court case on 'Whatever' notwithstanding). I'm still in two minds about whether this is a bad or a good thing. Find it on: the CD single 'Let There Be Love' (2005)

As if to make up for the short running time of the previous song, the 'Let There Be Love' single also includes a whopping eight minutes of a live rendition of [ ] 'Rock 'n' Roll Star' played live at the band's Manchester homecoming in July 2005. Though the band don't play with the hunger of the original, this is a good version with more of a spring in the band's step compared to the versions on the last few tours. Liam roars, the crowd sings, Noel has an audible grin all over his backing vocals and Oasis are having a good night. There's also a gonzo guitar solo (by Gem?) over the close and the 'it's just rock and roll' ending goes on for nearly three very noisy minutes. The song then rounds off with a tape played on a loop through the pa speakers advertising the 'Don't Believe The Truth' album ('You are sleeping, you do not want to believe...you are...') Though eleven years old by this time, 'Rock 'n' Roll Star' still sounds gloriously juvenile, with a noisy feedbackky ending that would have impressed The Who or Jefferson Airplane. Find it on: the CD single 'Let There Be Love' (2005)

Finally for the B-sides, Noel also included his rather poorly recorded demo for final album single [  ] 'Let There Be Love' on the respective CD single. Less impressive than the final version, losing out on the contrasts between the brother's vocals, it's still worth hearing thanks to a nice guitar part cut from the final arrangement and lots of percussion. What might have been more interesting would have been to let us hear the original demo of this song 'It's A Crime' which had been knocking around for several years on bootleg by this time with very different lyrics. Find it on: the CD single 'Let There Be Love' (2005)

Easily the most obscure song of the year was the Noel Gallagher original [  ] 'Who Put The Weight Of The World On My Shoulders?', which was released as part of the soundtrack album for the film 'Goal!', a film about an American 'soccer' player who comes to England in search of his dreams. Noel spent a lot of time on the soundtrack, released on Oasis' own Big Brother label, getting the Happy Mondays back together for a song (which is a job in itself) and recording not only this track but a new (and rather ropey) version of 'Cast No Shadow' specially for the soundtrack (which also included a more aggressive remix of 'Morning Glory'). 'Weight' is a sweet song in world-weary 'Sunday Morning Call' manner, with a softly spoken Noel seemingly collapsing under the pressure of expectation, 'surrounded by a silver screen of all the things that could have been' as the narrator watches replays of goals he should have scored. Noel censors himself with an unusual pronunciation of 'f-e-uh.....ck' but there's nothing half-hearted about his performance which is his most committed in years, with an especially good string part in the chorus switching the ballad into 'epic' mode. The lyrics are rather fitting for the period too: 'Who put the lies in the truth that you sold us?' Well worth searching for if you can find it. Find it on: the Various Artists album 'Goal! The Original Soundtrack' (2005)

Unusually, both Gallaghers appeared as guests with The Prodigy on their characteristically noisy fourth album 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned'. You can't hear much of Noel on the album finale [  ] 'Shoot Down', although that's presumably him playing the fast-paced aggressive guitar lick at the heart of this song, while Liam sounds much more at home and has gone right back to the simple punkish songs of the band's early years. Sounding much more like a Prodigy song than an Oasis track, this song largely got blasted by the samplist's own fanbase who couldn't understand why their favourite group were associating themselves with rock and rollers. Oasis though were good friends with the band and had traded headline spots on many festivals with them and you and hear their delight at being able to play around with a different way of making records on this song, although to ears brought up on Oasis this song is repetitive and unfinished, lacking the melody, lyrics or authenticity that are Oasis' hallmarks. It's not even as good as 'Fuckin' In The Bushes', for instance, Noel's one and only attempt to sound like his rivals on Oasis soil. Find it on: 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' by The Prodigy (2005)

The last and arguably the best of the Gallagher collaborations in this list comes between Noel and his idol Ian Brown, the lead singer of The Stone Roses on the very Oasis-ish [  ] 'Keep What Ya Got'. Noel sounds as if he's gone right back to Oasis' early beginnings as a Stone Roses-style band and plays with more laidback shoulder-shrugging than he could ever get away with in Oasis. 'Remember where ya came from' the chorus runs 'we all love our home' - fellow Mancunian Noel would surely have agreed. Ditto the lines slagging off hangers-on which sound very 'Shoulders Of Giants' ey: 'When your halo slips for good you'll have to wear your hood...All you users, all abusers, wasting all my precious energy!' Noel could have been given more to do though and his guitar style isn't all that easy to recognise lost in a sea of period effects, while vocally Noel's entire contribution is a falsetto 'ooh'. Noel does appear in the video, busking on the corner of a Manchester street as Brown walks past near the end. Find it on: the Ian Brown album 'Solarized' (2005). The song was also released as a single. 


A strange ode to the art of battling despite the odds, [  ] 'Lord Don't Slow Me Down' is a Lyla-style foot-stomper released as a rare non-album single (the second and last, after 'Whatever') and apparently written by Noel after a religious fan showed him the medallion he carried around with him to keep himself safe (the message actually read 'Lord Slow Me Down' but Noel characteristically wasn't having any of that and asked his maker to allow him to keep going). In a way it's a shame that Oasis have lasted long enough to reach this point: the band that once stood for adrenalin and joy over everything else have now become a weary shouty band moaning about the rockstar blues without enough self-mocking irony to make the song work. You sense that of all the songs of the later Oasis years, this is the one the pre-fame Noel would have had the biggest issue with: his complaints in this song include being tired of travelling the world yet again, of having a 'habit that I just can't kick' and most damning of all, keeping on hard at the 'dreams you made' even though you don't believe in them in anymore because 'at least it beats sleeping on the floor'. Noel hasn't sounded this angry for a long time even if he doesn't actually sound that cross the way he sings this track and it's kind of the polar opposite of 'Live Forever' whose central chant is 'please shoot me now before this get works'. Against the odds, the song works thanks mainly to a strong band performance that features the closest Oasis mark two ever come to nailing the band's earlier 'wall of noise' and some terrific eccentric drumming from Zak (he could have just stuck with the tightly-hemmed beat everyone else is playing but no - he's going down fighting, still excited enough to be in this band to let his feelings show). The end result is of a band who still sound like they have a way to go and in many ways it's a shame that this song slipped through the cracks the way that it did: it's certainly better than most of the songs on 'Dig Out Your Soul' and would have fitted that album's fed-up vibe rather well. Oasis went through quite a 'slow' period in the four years between 'Don't Believe The Truth' and 'Dig Out Your Soul', the longest gap between records of their career. We now know, of course, that this was because the Gallagher brothers were at the peak of their tantrums and difficulties with the last record delayed the set indefinitely. Perhaps that's why, after a promising demo version of this song performed by Liam (with his customary sneer), Noel decided to reclaim this song for the final version (which typically ended up sounding more joyous than deflated - perhaps that's why the shift was made so it didn't sound quite so much like third-world-problems of a multi-millionaire band forced to tour for a month every other year, which is how the song comes over). The track only peaked at #10 in the UK, the lowest for some thirteen years - funnily enough, it matched the exact same figure as polar opposite 'Live Forever'. What goes up... Find it on: the CD single 'Lord Don't Slow Me Down' (2007) and the track was also featured heavily on the DVD of the same name from the same year (in most parts of the world at least). In Japan the song was held back until 2008 when it appeared as an 'extra' B-side on the back of the 'Shock Of The Lightning' single


The last collection of Oasis B-sides are a particularly interesting and mixed bunch, hinting even more than the 'Dig Out Your Soul' album at the divisions within the band. Oddly the first of these, a remix by the Chemical Brothers of album highlight [ ] 'Falling Down' appeared a full week before the album's release, meaning that Oasis fans quick off the block actually got to know the remix first! The two groups had been fans for a long time and the 'remix' seems to have been a 'reply' for Noel guesting on one of their songs in 1999. Alas, though, while Brothers fans lapped up this noisy electronica re-make, Oasis fans from the 94-95 era will find that Oasis have by now turned into everything they once fought against so hugely. This is more like those self-indulgent 12" mixes of the late 1980s and early 1990s where the actual 'song' is sprinkled like dusting over the top of a really flat and boring cake of electronic tape-loops and digital drum beats. It takes a good 90 seconds before you anything even barely recognisable as the song and what there is doesn't seem to fit somehow. Remixes rarely work and the few ones that do succeed by taking everything that was in the original song and adding more - taking bits away like this is, in the words of Noel, an 'absolute nonsense' and possibly the most pointless Oasis B-side of them all. They could have at least re-mixed the A-side, which as it was something of a musical collage anyway, sounds as if it would have better stood the ideas of being taken apart and re-assembled again. Find it on: the CD single 'Shock Of The Lightning' (2008)

The [  ] 'I'm Outta Time' single is unique in the Oasis collection for including no less than three versions of the song: the album version, a remix and a demo. Of these the demo is the most interesting, a near-enough finished version whose low status is only given away by a rare Liam vocal that sounds less than committed. Though the verses sound a bit flat, the middle eight works a lot better than the finished version because it sounds more 'real' with less effects involved and the solo features a mellotron and guitar going head to head in a duet that overlaps slightly, adding a sense of 'authenticity' (the finished version is too 'Hollywood' for a group like Oasis. The Lennon soundbites are a lot easier to hear on this version too, though they end a bit sooner. As for the remix, a six minute version of the song is really pushing things unless you're a real fan of the song. The opening is nice, with the 'Dear Prudence' style acoustic guitar looped before Liam's voice comes in - only a minute or so later do all the other instruments in and this close magnifying glass shows off what a great vocal it was. However the original song felt it went on too long - doubling it in length has doubled the song's problems, not halved them. As for the other album remixed included on this single, the Jagz Kooner remix of 'Shock Of The Lightning' is the best of the bad bunch simply because it's a song that demands to be OTT although it's still a little bit too OTT and not up to the album version and the 'Richard Fearless' version of 'To Be Where There's Life' is mainly a drum loop with what sounds like a digital watch humming over the top of it (I know Oasis are retro, but they're 60s and 70s retro, not 80s!) You'd think an album that took this long to make would have had more than enough room for actual proper B sides wouldn't you?... Find them all on: the CD single 'I'm Outta Time' (2008)

[  ] 'Waiting For The Rapture' (Alternate) is listed as a 'different' version even though it's as much of a remix of the others. It is more worth your time, though, if only for sounding the way the song would if made for any other album. Noel sings rather than sneer and is far mellower than on the finished product and I'm not quite sure if this is an improvement or not: this version is much more friendly on the ears but it still feels as if its missing something at its core, becoming rather boring by the end. Fittingly for a song about waiting for something you're afraid is never going to come and 'take you from that merry-go-round' you long for the track to try something else, but it never does. The one new bit comes on the fade: 'I can't keep my soul on the ground, I can't take it all lying down!' Find it on: the CD single 'I'm Outta Time' (2008)

Onto single number three and - finally - an actual bona fide new song as a B-side. [  ] 'Those Swollen Hand Blues' is one last great Oasis flipside to cherish, with all the old hallmarks of being deeper and more experimental than anything on the record. Seemingly 'buried' here because it 'revealed' too much (like many of the best Noel Gallagher songs), it's another cry for help from someone whose clearly lost and directionless but one that's far easier to feel empathetic with than 'Lord Don't Slow Me Down'. The curious title, which isn't mentioned in the lyric, seems to come from Noel's favourite Pink Floyd album 'The Wall' again and though its actually from the song 'Nobody Home' (about the character Pink's mental illness making him turn inward and become unreachable - Noel chose this actual song on his 'Desert Island Discs' appearance so we know the imagery means a lot to him) it has many shades of the better known 'Comfortably Numb' too. The track starts with what sounds like the 'cloister bell' warning from Dr Who's Tardis (perhaps picking up another Pink Floyd sound from 1994's 'The Division Bell'), signifying the start into an eerie journey that sounds like smoke and mirrors. Noel complains that he can't 'see the wood for the trees - I can't find the birds of the bees' before adding the self-effacing joke 'wonder if they're down the back of my sofa?' This Noel narrator is a long way from the songwriter of the band's early days: far from setting out to change the world, this one is trapped in front of the TV in a room he feels he can't escape. He vaguely remembers being 'the apple of my eye' when he used to play guitar - but is too drunk to remember why because his playing sounds awful to his modern ears. 'If only I could keep myself sober for more than a day!' he complains, like an AA meeting victim (as opposed to an AAA victim addicted to lengthy album reviews about obscure B-sides you've never heard!) This week's Beatles reference comes in the last verse when Noel wishes he'd learnt to play piano, just as Ringo did on his first solo B-side 'Early 1970' about the distances between the fab four (the chords are similar too; it's a good song and one of the drummer's very best before you think that's an insult by the way). Oasis sound over, even more definitively than on the record and apart from Zak's heavy bass drum thumps this might well be a solo Noel recording, testing the waters for his solo career, with an especially impressive ghostly mellotron part that's one part 'I Am The Walrus'es nee-nawing siren and one part Rolling Stones '2000 Light Years From Home' alien landscape. An impressive reminder of how good Noel could be when he pushed himself, it's better than any of his songs on the album (except perhaps the similar 'Falling Down', another near solo performance - the two make a great pairing on this third album single) and - worryingly - this flipside is better than all the 'new' songs on his first actual solo LP. Find it on: the CD single 'Falling Down'

The [  ] 'Falling Down' single also included a ridiculous five versions of the main track, spread across lots of 7" and 12" vinyl, CD and promo versions (annoyingly no one version contained all the songs - Oasis had always been good value for money for fans, right up to here when they're clearly after a few extra dedicated fans buying the whole bang lot to make money).  The best of these is, as ever, the demo version which is much more Oasisy despite lacking both guitar and drums. Instead it sounds more like prog rock, with Noel's treated vocals screaming out the lyrics of paranoia while a church organ counts down the chords to doomsday. Not as great as the finished product perhaps - it's a low budget version of a song that's crying out to be an epic - but fascinating and dramatic all the same. As for the remixes the twenty-two minutes 'Armorphous Androgenous' remix wins by sheer effort, with a nicely prog rock feel complete with Moody Blues style flutes. Good luck staying awake to the end of it though: this is a song built for three minutes and loses impact stretched out to seven times that. Rumour has it that Liam hated this version of the 'poncing' but popular remix team being linked with Oasis - Noel was at one time said to be working on an entire remix album with the AA which should have been in the shops a month after his solo debut but which fell through (Liam also went ballistic when an interview with the pair revealed Noel was hatching plans for making it while still in Oasis but never said a word). As for the 'Prodigy' remix, this is strangely normal, distorting Noel's voice with electronic effects and dampening the instruments to make it sound other-worldly in theory (and, in practice, as if Noel is singing the song down a very bad phone-line), while in the middle a microwave beeps ncessantly (is dinner ready?) A 'twisted firestarter' style makeover of an Oasis song sounds promising, but this one barely lights a match. The CD single also included our old friend the album edit and the 'Chemical Brothers' version already heard on the 'Lightning' single. Find them all on the CD single 'Falling Down' (2008)

It's a measure of how low Oasis' stock had fallen that their last release barely even registered a ripple. Officially titled 'The Boy With The Blues EP' (even though at three tracks it included less songs than almost all Oasis singles), this was a release made available exclusively through iTunes (though I found mine through Amazon - which is just as well because I hate iTunes, from that it-took-me-two-minutes-and-a-broken-pen logo to the size of the downloading space to the fact that my laptop has to be coaxed every few seconds into playing anything from there; before you ask I'm not that hot about Amazon's player either but it's the lesser of the two evils - in the same way that at the last election David Cameron was the evil of the two lessers). Released in April 2009, a month before the 'official' divorce', both 'new' tracks sound more lie the forthcoming Beady Eye than Oasis and probably don't even feature Noel (while he might well be the only one on an even more bonkers mix of album track 'Get Off Your High Horse Lady').

[  ] 'The Boy With The Blues' is a straightforward Liam song, with the plodding piano of 'Don't Look back In Anger' and the rhythm of 'Soldier On' suddenly taking flight the only way Oasis can on a magical but all too brief rush of energy on the middle eight. Oddly, though, it's a song from an earlier vintage left over from the 'Don't Believe The Truth' sessions four years earlier. Like 'Born On A Different Cloud' the song is clearly addressing somebody close to Liam and my money's on Noel. 'You sing, you shout, you turn the world about' but still don't seem happy is Liam's reflection on the angst of his elder brother before reminding of how far they've come and that, as a boy once from a council estate with no future, there's 'nothing to lose'. The chorus again has Liam professing the love he can't say in person but thanks to the moody music it doesn't sound like love per se but the mixed-bag multiple-emotions of brotherly love you feel for someone you hate, feel jealous of, can't help winding up and yet still ultimately love. 'Remember to shine' sneers Liam as if Noel is never going to shine again, before getting the band to add some unity in a chorus that's all the better for ripping off Beatles track 'Come Together'. It's not the best song Liam ever wrote for the band but it's a lot more deserving of release than the padding of the remixes from the previous year. Bizarrely the first official release came not on anything with the Oasis name on it but the various artists soundtrack to the 'NCIS' series (even Gibbs would have raised more than an eyebrow at that fact). Find it on: the download only EP 'The Boy With The Blues' (2009)

[  ] 'I Believe In All' is - fittingly for the last 'new' song the band will ever release (at least at the time of writing) - like a greatest hits compilation. Liam's song combines the joyful optimism of the band's first three albums in the lyrics and the turbulence of the next four albums in the chaotic jagged music. Again sounding very like the first Beady Eye album, Liam seems to be offering the hand of friendship, promising to 'catch' the mysterious person when they 'fall' and admitting that throughout the years they've known more than their rival ever thought (ripping off a Who sing this time with the central line from 'I Can See For Miles'). Liam ends up singing the vocal line from 'Soldier On' over the instrumental (the loneliest na na nas you'll ever hear) which is the best part of the song and again while no classic this is better than a good half of the 'Dig Out Your Soul' record and a light year ahead of the remix B-sides of 2008. Find it on: the download only EP 'The Boy With The Blues' (2009)
Oasis' career ends not with the bang with which it started fifteen years before, but a whimper. [  ] 'Get Off Your High Horse Lady' was easily the worst moment on the band's last album and frankly life is too short  to sit through it all again for another blooming remix. Devendre Brehart (a he? she? it? Even the internet doesn't know - and it knows evertything!) make a bad song even worse by taking out even the sense of drama and danger from the heavy drums and simply leaves Noel's weediest vocal over some noodling synth and a flamenco guitar part that really doesn't fit. To be fair the original didn't give anybody much to make a masterpiece out of, but this is a truly pathetic way to round off Oasis' career. Ironically given the title, there's nothing more likely to get me on my high horse, baby, than ripping off a Carl Perkins tune wholesale with awful lyrics and then giving the whole things over to a bunch of remixers whose only requisite for mucking with one of the finest bands in the land seems to be that they have a home studio to work on. This is why rock and roll bands like Oasis were dead by 2009 (along with brotherly bust-ups and flying fruit bowls) and hearing your heroes fraternise with 'the enemy' feels like a betrayal. However I fear I've got off my high horse long after the stable was bolted - thankfully neither half of Oasis will mess up quite this royally again. Find it on: the download only EP 'The Boy With The Blues' (2009)

Non-Album Recordings Part #14: Beady Eye 2010
Though dismissed at the time as a 'mere' cover, the B-side [  ] 'Sons Of The Stage' said a lot more about where Beady Eye were headed than the first A side 'Bring The Light' did. A gorgeous throb of rock and roll, but played with more finesse and more space than the old Oasis sound (which had grown into a little bit of a rut), Oasis beat even the fine World Of Twist original from 1991 hands down. A five minute romp through some rock and roll clichés, Beady Eye are on enough of a performance role to really nail this song's heartfelt rock posing and playful lyrics. Chris Sharrock never played a better drum part, while the 'wall of noise' is now built up out of the nicely retro keyboards as much as the guitars while Liam was born to sneer and strut this lyric about 'being' a rock and roll star ('Your head is gone and your body shaking, there's nothing you can do 'cause there is no solution, gotta get down to the noise and confusion!) Beady Eye were, at one stage, set to be named after this song which quickly became a fan favourite and deserved a place on the debut album (it works very well as an 'encore' after the big drama of 'Morning Son' as a little hint). Though Oasis promise they are 'out of our minds on the stage', what comes across most is actually how disciplined and tight the band sound after a couple of slightly dodgy Oasis LPs. Find it on the CD single 'Bring The Light' (2010)

Non-Album Recordings Part #15: Beady Eye/Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds 2011

A fascinating switch of gearsfrom the 'Different Gear' sessions, the playful original [ ] 'World Outside My Room' adds a touch of Noel Coward to the usual oasis sound via a Chet Atkins country guitar solo. Sharrock gets out his brushes, the guitarists play on acoustic and Liam proves he can sing a ballad sweetly on this great song that doesn't carry an individual credit but is surely one of Gem's. An anthem about being an introvert, it's a song about the importance of imagination compared to reality, with the narrator so content in his cosy house full of books and the television that he doesn't understand why the noisy people outside (heard through sound effects) bother to go out at all into the freezing cold winter outside (because 'in my head it's always June', in the best of many words 'nearly' rhyming with 'room'). Though this song shares a certain lethargy with Noel songs like 'Swollen Hand Blues' and 'Waiting For The Rapture', this one actually enjoys the quietness after a life lived hard and the narrator knows that this state of being 'comatose' won't last forever. Though Oasis were known for their acoustic B-side ballads, none of them ever sounded quite like this and it's a real shame Beady Eye go a little further down this path - as an all-acoustic radio session from 2013 suggests (the best gig the band ever played) an 'Unplugged' album might have been the best of the many directions open to the band. Find it on: the CD single 'Four Letter Word' (2011)

[  ] 'Two Of A Kind' sounds much more like the 'Different Gear' album, an urgent rocker that's played with a real sixties production feel quite different to the Oasis wall of sound and where the piano is the most important instrument in the room. Though like most Beady Eye songs this one is credited to the group, my guess is it's one of Andy's as it shares a similar from-the-rhythm-up feel with his songs for Oasis. A song about thinking you've found your soulmate, the music plays out like a chase with the band urged on through the song's relentless riff that won't stop moving for a second, with Liam singing in the more 'romantic' mood of his 'Songbird' style. The fluttering stuttering sixties guitar work is particularly impressive and while the song isn't quite as strong or original as some others a tight and disciplined recording gives it an extra layer of finesse. Find it on the CD single 'The Roller' (2011)

The angriest song from Beady Eye after 'Four Letter Word', B-side [  ] 'Man Of Misery' sounds like a much more aggressive track than most of the band's songs and is surely one of Liam's with the same snarl and toughness as 'The Meaning Of Soul' et al. However the song also has finesse too, with a 'Green Onions' style riff that's lighter of foot than the usual four-in-the-bar stomps and there's a nice chord progression from the more straightforward verse into the chorus. Lyrically I'm tempted to see this song as another one written for brother Noel and one far less apologetic than the tracks that made the album. Noel was always being painted in the press as a 'man of misery' and this song seems to be Liam's complaint that the recent battles with his brother are in danger of making Liam turn into the same thing. Liam recounts a 'dreadful night, fighting for my life' and complains that his assailant has, without even knowing it, played a trump card of power that's 'got me on my knees - you naughty little tease!' Liam even sneers a middle eight that his Beatle-loving brother had come out of the mess 'alright - he's got a ticket to ride', suggesting that even this early on the press seem to be taking the High (Flying Birds) ground in the Beady Bird wars. 'One thing's for sure' Liam scoffs though, 'he'll leave you wanting more!' before rounding off into a cackled manic 'bye bye!' although the ambiguity of the song means you're not quite sure if Liam is joyously waving goodbye to his brother or sarcastically waving goodbye to his own career. The 'down' mood and the fierce way Liam sings this song suggests the latter - we've never heard the younger brother this down before or so unable to bounce back from oppression. Another  fascinating, overlooked Beady Eye B-side. Find it on: the CD single 'Millionaire' (2011)

By now things are looking bleak for Beady Eye and their next B-side [  ] 'In The Bubble With A Bullet' sounds like a sarcastic memory of olden days of being on top of the world. 'I would take it all - if I had any left' starts a song that again sounds like a Liam song (especially the gospel-tinged singalong chorus). Liam looks back on the olden days with a slight sense of awe that it all happened to him and now seems so long ago - he sounds more depressed than angry that a great moment of his life 'burned up on re-entry' but is still angry enough to declare 'it's all you - it isn't me!' before adding a more characteristic declaration that 'I'm bulletproof!'  Though musically the T Rex style chorus  'we do what we want' may well be the single worst moment of Beady Eye's first collection of recordings, the verses are impressive, a song that's unsettled and flits between keys as if looking for familiarity and direction. Tellingly, the song ends not with the chorus but with the 'linking' riff taking it back to the verse again, suddenly rounding off unresolved and leaving a 'question mark' hanging in the air (the early Lennon solo albums are full of examples of this, especially 1971's 'Imagine'). Again, not the greatest Beady Eye song but it's impressive hearing the band tackle a much mellower style with such conviction and Liam's decision to still sing this track as full throttle rock and roll is a great idea, giving the track a weight and conviction is only half-heartedly got as a 'song'. Find it on: the CD single 'The Beat Goes On' (2011)

Perhaps the most important event of Beady Eye's first year together was Liam's sudden passion for politics and helping others. Japan had by now adopted Oasis as one of their favourite bands and the 'friend of handship' was extended to Beady Eye much more readily and easily than at home or in the States. The band had got to know the country well over the years and were as horrified as anyone by the earthquake and tsunami that struck the country's East Coast in March 2011. Though safely back home in the studio by then and out of harm's way, Beady Eye felt they wanted to do something for the stricken country. So for the first time in his life Liam organised as well as played a gig, the chief mover and shaker behind an all-star cast who turned up at London's Brixton Academy to raise money for the British Red Cross Appeal. Liam, the whipping boy for the music press at the time, never got the recognition he deserved for rounding up old friends like Paul Weller, The Verve's Richard Ashcroft, The Coral and Primal Scream to play the gig at short notice, as well as push forward rehearsals for Beady Eye's planned concert tour so they made their live bow here far earlier than planned. Taking place a mere fortnight after the disaster, it was a huge triumph - and yet the press just fumed that Oasis hadn't reformed for the gig. Beady Eye also rush-released a single-track download containing yet another Beatles cover [  ] 'Across The Universe'. A track with a suitably troubled history, Lennon had written it in a drug haze in 1967 but had never been sure what to do with it - the fab four re-recorded it many times, finally releasing it on final album 'Let It Be', but though Lennon rated it as one of his favourite songs to his dying day it's over-written and unmemorable by his high standards. Beady Eye's version is heartfelt but even more painful, Liam's characteristic sneer on the line 'nothing's gonna change our world' sounding more like a futile rant than a moment of peace and tranquility. In case you're wondering, the spiritual mantra 'Jai Garu De Va' means 'I am at one with the world - and the world is at one with me', not the most fitting of statements given the context. It's a worthy idea, but not a worthy choice of song - the sadly unreleased Beady Eye cover of Lennon's 'Cry Baby Cry' (sadly only ever heard on a radio broadcast) is far superior. Find it on: the Download-only single 'Across The Universe'.

Surely the oddest release of Beady Eye's all-too-brief career was the demented slowed down cover of the old standard [  ] 'Blue Moon', which doesn't even rock as hard as Elvis' and even includes Liam Gallagher whistling for crying out loud! The song was recorded during the 'Different Gear' sessions as a one off for Manchester City football supporters who had made the song their own, chanting it up and down the terraces since Rodgers and Hart first wrote it back in 1949. In a move that would have been unthinkable a few years ago when Oasis were still around, the single was released not with a big promotional campaign but to promote the new (and pricey!) football strip for the 2011/2012 season. Though Beady Eye don't sound as if their heart is in this wretched song at all (Liam sounds drunk!) something about it must have worked because Man City bounced back to top the premier league that year. Goal! Find it on: 'Blue Moon' the standalone single available from the Man City supporters club

Meanwhile, later in 2011, the High Flying Birds are taking off too, with a typically ambitious set of flipsides by the B-side king. Noel's B-sides are, as usual, far more interesting and generally better than anything that made the album, without quiet being up to Oasis standards. [  ] 'The Good Rebel' feels like an early Oasis song, though, a glorious sunny pop song that sounds as if the weight of the last few years have finally left Noel's shoulders. Like many a Noel song it's a weather report that disguises the idea of inspiration and creativity. Noel is by now confident enough to declaim that 'I don't care for the sunshine' because even the rain has proved to be an enjoyable path in his life. The 'Rain' parts sounds lifted directly from The Beatles B-side of the same name, but in a much happier mood, opening with a great first line that ties up the threads of several Gallagher Senior lyrics lately about whether writers should take credit for bursts of inspiration ('If Heaven helps you, then help yourself'). The melody and playing are a lot stronger than anything on the first High Flying Birds  record (even the good songs written years earlier) and this happier song would have made that sorry-for-itself album a much easier listen. The track even opens with a characteristic 'cough' as if this was the 'real' follow-up to 'Morning Glory; delayed by a difficult decade. Find it on: the CD single 'The Death Of You And Me' (2011)
As if to emphasise how at one with his maker Noel is feeling, [  ] 'Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me' continues the theme by requesting inspiration (not begging or demanding it note as in earlier songs). A slow, slightly chilly musical landscape is impressive (again far more than anything on the artificial sounding first album) and the mood feels very like 'Cigarettes In Hell'. Noel feels 'bent and broken' and feels he's hit rock bottom in a similarly hazy alcoholic state to 'Swollen Hand Blues'. However he hears a light in the darkness 'singing me to sleep' and when he wakes up (to the sound of a screaming guitar sound very like the brilliant one in 'Stop The Clocks' - unfortunately this is soon drowned out by some terrible gospel wailing that suggests Noel had Pink Floyd's 'The Great Gig In The Sky' in mind for this track) he's back on his feet again with his old strength. Unfortunately he also finds himself 'stranded on an island', the first hint that Noel actually misses his old Oasis mates in his quest to turn his muse into music. With a great backing track, that rises by peaks and troughs like all great Gallagher songs, this is the best version of that muse at work in a 'new' song since 'Falling Down' three years earlier. If the first album had been more like this B-side I'd have loved it, not loathed it: what the hell is this great song doing lost on a single hardly anybody bought (because the A side was already out on the album)? Find it on: the CD single'AKA...What A Life' (2011)

Though not in the same league as the earlier B-sides, [  ] 'I'd Pick You Up' is another song much more interesting and original than the album, a country-rocker similar to Beady Eyte's 'World Outside My Room'. A simple love song, presumably for Sara, this song is clearly in awe at the power and presence someone has in his life just after he'd got used to the idea of being alone spiritually forever, though Noel being Noel he can't quite get that romantic and simply chickens out by going 'yeah, I'll pick you up...I guess'. The backing track actually uses banjos - yes that's right, banjos on a song by a member of Oasis. Never thought I'd see the day... Find the song on: the CD single If I Had A Gun' (2011)

As with Beady Eye, Noel also gave the Japanese market a little extra. Actually, I take back 'little' because [  ] 'A Simple Game Of Genius' is a classic, easily the best 'new' recording from these first sessions. A slow burning piano groove is surrounded by a 'Wonderwall' guitar and twinkling stars for a gorgeous minute long introduction to a seven minute track that's a characteristic mix of humility and ego. I'm not sure about the rhyme of 'Cecilia' and 'Be With Ya' but the rest of the lyrics are fascinating, a 'Wonderwall' style promise of always being there for another as 'two souls break all the rules' life had set for them. The melody, meanwhile, recalls 'Champagne Supernova' via 'Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me', with the same blissed out trippy feel and a backing track best described as 'psychedelic', reaching each new peak in 'waves'. The song ends up in an unhappy place for a while, with the warning that 'the future's got it in for us' but Noel regains his footing after looking in his soulmate's eyes and realising that his life has been pre-destined anyway to get him to this point, that 'all my life and all I've ever had lies here waiting for you'. A gorgeous last burst of inspiration, them Japanese fans got very lucky with this exclusive! Find it on: the Japanese version of 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' (2011)

[  ] 'Alone At The Rope' is another rather good experiment from the same source that really should have made the album too. Perhaps hidden away because of how revealing it is about the Oasis split, this is another nostalgic song that seems to date back years - perhaps to the Gallagher's childhood. Noel sighs that he remembers 'that look in your eyes' that meant he'd crossed a line and senses it again. Noel can still remembers the thoughts that used to whizz past his head as he tried to work out what made his brother different from him and 'still feel the pain I carried with me for years' at the sibling rivalry. Noel could of course be singing about his other brother Paul or even his mam Peggy, but there's something about this song - so like Liam's own tracks like 'Born On A Different Cloud' - that surely makes this album his younger not older brother. Despite the fact that it's Noel who went 'solo' (or at least created a band full of musicians nobody recognised), Noel reflects that his brother has finally scared all his friends off and is 'all alone at the rope', trying not to look down in case he falls. Usually Noel sounds emotional when singing about 'real' things like this song, but here he sounds detached and the icy calmness adds a real frisson of danger to the song, as if it's saying 'I mean it this time'. Find it on: the Japanese version of 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' (2011)

Non-Album Recordings Part #16: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds 2012

Rather less impressive compared to the 2011 run of B-sides is [ ] 'Shoot A Hole Into The Sun'. Though the cover doesn't list the fact anywhere, this is a lazy remix of 'If I Had A Gun' based around the song's second line and is as pointless and irritating as the ones from the 'Dif Out Your Soul' singles. Eight full minutes of messing around with the not-very-convincing original backing track, an atmospheric opening soon gives way to a track that sounds much longer with Noel's falsetto wailings sounding blooming awful without the full-on backing track to go with them. I'd shoot a hole in this single too which together with the awful A-side marks the worst Oasis-related release every and makes 'Digsy's Dinner' sound like Dickens. Find it on: the CD single 'Dream On' (2012)

Non-Album Recordings Part #17: Beady Eye 2013
Beady Eye are following Noel's lead with the 90 second Andy Bell fragment [  ] 'Dreaming Of Some Space' played backwards to make it sound more 'interesting'. Unfortunately even backwards it sounds repetitive and cliched, while the Oasis/Beady Eye chords are too 'clean' and aggressive to pull this off the way the mellower, floatier summer of love songs could. The single worst Beady Eye recording, this is not an auspicious start for the new run of B-sides. Find it on: the CD single 'Second Bite Of The Apple' (2013)

Much more interesting is the urgent [  ] 'World's Not Set In Stone'. A very 60s song, with a fabulous walking bass riff and a great melody that sounds rather like Stevie Wonder's 'I Just Called To Say... I Love You' (not 'Hello') jazzed up, it's at one with the 'apologetic' lyrics of the two Beady Eye albums. My candidate for another Andy Bell song (with the same tender lyrics as 'Keep The Dream Alive' and 'Kill For A Dream'), this track tries hard to get into the mind of someone, claiming 'I wanna see ya and I wanna be ya' (is this where the second album's title 'Be' comes from?) and offering comfort after a setback. Though you could read this as another song written to Noel, my guess is this is a song to Liam who was taken aback by the poor reception to the first album and thinking about a solo career; in this context lines like 'There's no need to be alone' sound more career-orientated than personal. The song comes over with a delightfully upbeat tone as Liam effectively sings to himself 'girl this is a thing that can last!' and the band 'tell' him that their future isn't yet mapped out - that they're just a lucky break away from the big time again. As such it's the most upbeat song Liam's been on since 'Be Here Now' and more than worth a rummage through online shops to find if it passed you by (as it did most people to be fair). Find it on: the CD single 'Shine A Light' (2013)

[  ] 'Back After The Break' is a sad and sorrowful acoustic song written by Gem (the band actually credit the individual writer on the sleeve for once!) in which the narrator feels very sorry for himself. 'Where is my flesh coloured smile? Don't know where or why?' as yet another band seems to be falling apart with whatever 'it' may be 'it' clearly 'ain't here'. Alas while the acoustic side of Beady Eye is always welcome to hear, the band have already done better songs about the final Oasis days and this song's sad chorus reminder 'walk tall' is hardly a match for 'feeling supersonic'. Sensibly left off the album, although it points to a possible reunion later in both the title and final lines 'I'll be there for you'. Find it on: the double vinyl and deluxe CD versions of 'Be' (2013)

Very similar all round, Gem's (why are the writers getting credits all of a sudden?) track [  ] 'Off At The Next Exit' even sounds like it uses the same melody. 'Here we go again' it sighs over a pretty backing track that asks forlornly 'are you giving me up, babe?' before quoting from an old Oasis B-side as a partnership that was once so strong 'fades away'. Gem again promises to be 'here' when the difficulties are over, though, with hope of a reunion on the cards at a future date. Nice but again not quite up to the album. Find it on the deluxe CD version of 'Be' (2013)

Lucky Japanese fans got an extra two tracks on their 'deluxe' edition of Beady Eye's second album the rest of us never got to hear. [  ] 'Girls In Uniform' is more polished than most beady Eye tracks with two Liams singing together over a very sixties backing track with a pretty acoustic guitar twirl that's delightful. Unfortunately the lyrics are atrocious: 'Girls in uniform, your days in action are too kind, the more you need the more you fall behind'. The girls could be nurses, though with a lyric this wide and vague who knows. I wouldn't get too worked up about it if you can't get hold of this song - and it's impossible unless you have a Japanese pen friend (thankyou Maxito Singing Dogito!) Find it on: the Japanese deluxe edition of 'Be' (2013)

Beady Eye bow out where they more or less began, with [  ] 'Evil Eye'  another very Lennonish song that recalls 'The Roller' (while the middle eight is a direct steal from Beatles track 'Hey Bulldog' - the 'you can talk to me' part) Another song that sounds like a get-out clause, this track (and goodness knows who wrote it - at different times it sounds like Liam, Gem and Andy) pleads with someone (the other band members? the audience?) not to give them the 'evil eye' because they tried their best and though they meant well 'there are some roads you can't walk down'. Liam doesn't sound that fussed though, sounding less committed to this song than most while the song runs out of ideas far too early. A sad way to end, though far too good to keep for release only in one country!  Find it on: the Japanese deluxe edition of 'Be' (2013)
Non-Album Recordings Part #18: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds 2014

Meanwhile, over at Noel's place, things are getting weird. [  ] 'Do The Damage' is an ugly modern squawk over a throbbing bass line that's trying too hard to be taken seriously and came complete with a music video in which Noel stares on as two skateboarders have a row. Worse than anything even on the first album, it made my heart sink a mile when I first heard it (and I didn't like the A side that much either). 'You could have had it all' the lyrics sight for the hundredth time in this book, while the 'gold in the city' Oasis left to find 'was never quite enough to pay the rent'. With more lyrics about people nearby being 'setting suns' as Noel yearns for more and lyrics that return to 'Waiting For The Rapture' with Noel waiting for someone to save him, it's kind of like a sampler of the two High Flying Birds albums. But worse. Find it on: the CD single 'In The Heat Of The Moment' (2014)

Non-Album Recordings Part #16: 2015

Phew! At long last Noel has released one of his better songs from the days of grotty quality oasis bootlegs and soundchecks, a track which dates back to at least the 'Shoulders Of Giants' period. A sign of how far Noel had fallen [  ] 'Revolution Song' (which bootleggers knew as 'Solve My Mystery') is the best 'new' Noel Gallagher track outside 'Stop The Clocks' and 'Record Machine' (both tracks of a similar vintage). Unfortunately this wordy song is given a horrid arrangement that doesn't suit it at all, like trying to give a punk a bath and dressing it up in a ball gown: this song needs to rock, not sound all posh. The production trappings and multiple overdubs can't disguise the lovely chorus, though, where Noel gives up on all the distractions that have taken up his time for so long and decides 'I'm singing out my revolutionary song and nothing else matters!' The first verse suggests that Noel was more hurt by the critical backlash of 'Be Here Now' than he let on, suggesting that the world 'put me in a headlock' and 'sealed my fate' by 'ignoring me' when Noel told them all he was 'on top of the world'. Actually Noel had done a rather convincing job of telling the world he wasn't on top anymore in his own songs of this period but no matter: unlike every other song from the 2000 period except 'Go Let It Out' this is an anthemic song about how glorious life still is, with the 'Masterplan' style boast that there's more to Noel than meets the eye, 'a million houses in my hall'. This song really should have been put on the 'Chasing Yesterdays' album and deserves a far higher profile than just being thrown away like this, although to be honest if you don't know the song I'd skip past 'go', collect two hundred pounds and keep an eye out for the many rehearsals and soundcheck versions where this sweet little feisty rocker sounds in far better health. Find it on: the CD single 'Ballad Of The Mighty I' (2015)

The third and easily best album single 'The Riverman' sadly gets another boring and generic B-side once again. [  ] 'Leave My Guitar Alone' is a close cousin of 'High Horse Lady' with peculiar voice effects and an unlikeable melody suspiciously something classic and fifties via Noel's own B-side 'Angel Child' quoted at length in the lyrics. The piano lick, meanwhile, sounds heavily influenced/stolen (delete where appropriate) from the Lennon primal scream album (especially 'Mother') but without anything like the same passion. Oddly, there's barely any guitar on this track - it's us fans who want you to leave that guitar alone, Noel, and stop wiping it out with those godawful synths! Find it on: the CD single 'Riverman' (2015)

Sounding like a children's TV theme tune, [  ] 'Here's A Candle For Your Birthday Cake' is clearly written for Noel's growing family as he celebrates another birthday with a few wise words to pass down the family line. 'The road is long' he warns before adding 'don't fly away' and then proceeds to list the presents he really wishes he was able to give: a candle for the cake, wind for 'the wish you make', a map 'for the road you're on' and  a mirror 'for the look of love'. Performed with banjos (again!), this is a real novelty song which has divided fans right down the middle. Personally I rather like it as Noel softens his usual rock persona and revels in being a daddy, while the lyrics describing family life are delightful (it's nice to hear the guitarist so content in his life at last!) That said, I can't say I've played this song too many times: best once a year eh?! Find it on: the CD single 'Lock All The Doors' (2015)

One final song from the 'Chasing Yesterdays' sessions is[  ] 'Freaky Teeth', a so-so rocker that rocks harder than most songs on the album without being that distinctive. Sounding like an old Dr John song, this song just breathes the early 70s 'voodoo boogie' sort of songs despite the very modern day trappings. A nasty lyric, unusual for Noel, could be seen as a rather unkind comment on Beady Eye's fortunes, where a group of people who 'tried to take the lightning from the sky' found a large cloud of rain instead. 'The pushing came to shove and our love just wasn't enough' is the best line yet either Gallagher brother has written about the break-up, while the chorus hints that Liam is now a 'vampire' where the crowds who once loved you for the way you sang your soul...have now come for you in the night!' The chorus gets nastier, with 'your wife and your momma' both rejecting the unhappy character while 'the devil stole your soul' and 'the holy men your tambourine'. What was that about an Oasis reunion again? I don't think it's coming anytime soon after hearing this song myself...Find it on: the deluxe edition of 'Chasing Yesterdays' (2015)

Other Oasis related articles from this site you might be interested in reading:


'Be Here Now' (1997) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2013/11/oasis-be-here-now-1997-album-review.html
‘Heathen Chemistry’ (2002) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/oasis-heathen-chemistry-2002.html

‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ (2005) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/oasis-dont-believe-truth-2005.html

'Dig Out Your Soul' (2008) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/oasis-dig-out-your-soul-2008_31.html

'Different Gear, Still Speeding' (Beady Eye) (2011) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/news-views-and-music-issue-93-beady-eye.html

'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' (2011) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-119-noel.html 


'Chasing Yesterdays' (Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds) (2015) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/noel-gallaghers-high-flying-birds.html


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