Oasis – Stop the Clocks
Record Label: Big Brother, Sony
Release Date: November 20, 2006
There are a lot of opinions about the band known as Oasis. For some people they are only known for "Wonderwall" or labeled Beatle rip-offs. I've always felt this to be a lazy opinion from someone who doesn't know their music well. For being one of the biggest bands in the world, Oasis is incredibly underrated. But the music they have made over the years has dated very well.
Once, guitarist, co-vocalist, and main songwriter Noel Gallagher stated there would never be an Oasis greatest hits album until the band was done. Unfortunately the label didn't feel the same. But Noel wisely decided it would be better if he put together a true representation of the band's history instead of a greatest hits album. With their 2-CD retrospective Stop the Clocks, it's time to stop, listen, and appreciate.
It would have been incredibly easy to make this a greatest hits album, and frankly I'm sure a lot of people would just expect only that. But there is a lot more to their music than hits, and not enough people know that. Stop the Clocks does an amazing job of collecting hits, songs from their albums, and b-sides. You'll find the big hits like "Wonderwall" here, but if anything it just drags the record down a bit, because of how overplayed it is. With all of the praise put on “Wonderwall”, a song like "Slide Away" is really where the quality lies. It's a just a fantastic, rocking love song. The lyrics are some of Noel's finest and describe an imaginary teenage love affair. It comes through well, and there is an underlining sincerity running through it. Vocally, it's one of Liam Gallagher's best as he maintains a strength and smoothness. "Live Forever" is the colossal song that made Oasis known to rest of the world. Without it, any Oasis retrospective would be incomplete. The song is still incredible, and hasn't aged poorly at all. It's Oasis' equivalent to songs like The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now" or Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit": rue eternal classics.
One of the strengths of Stop the Clocks is it really puts the hits on par with all of the other material, especially the b-sides. With "The Masterplan", "Half The World Away", and "Talk Tonight", you'll be amazed the songs weren't put on any of the albums. "The Masterplan" along with "Don't Look Back in Anger" almost feel religious in the way they sound. "The Masterplan" is a great combination of acoustic guitar and an orchestral symphony that conveys it's meaning of how uncertain life is. It shows an existential quality that's rare for an Oasis song. "Talk Tonight" and "Half the World Away" are great examples of how amazing Noel Gallagher is as a songwriter, and how amazing Oasis is acoustically. There is a real honest quality about these songs that make them easy to connect to, and it shows that side to Oasis' music well.
Stop the Clocks has a nice flow throughout it to balance everything. "Half the World Away" is quiet enough of a song to give "Go Let it Out" a surprise start. "Go Let it Out" sounds like a modern day Beatles song. It's the type of song you want to walk out of the house to. A lot of confidence comes through and compliments the rhythm of the song extremely well. Along with "Go Let it Out", you'll see a lot of Oasis' more recent material with "Lyla", "The Importance of Being Idle" and "Songbird" that do more than just hold up their own to the earlier material. One weakness of Stop the Clocks is that it doesn't show enough of how great some of their later material is.
Stop the Clocks contains most of what's great about Oasis. There's something transcendent about these songs, and the way they make you feel. This is the type of compilation that can be passed onto newcomers and future generations as an introduction to one of the greatest bands ever. There are plenty of songs like "Listen Up", "Don't Go Away", and "Let There Be Love" left for people to get into. Stop the Clocks best serves as a bookmark on the band's history rather than an epilogue. Soon, we'll have a new album from Oasis, but until then, the credit deserved by these songs should be given and appreciated.