Why Oasis are rubbish – the quantum explanation
NOEL Gallagher is not the only rubbish songwriter in the world. There are plenty of others, possibly myself, possibly yourself, certainly sacred cows like Bob Dylan.
Noel and Bob are purveyors of the impenetrable, proudly waving the nonsense flag of James Joyce and William Burroughs before a marching band of electric guitars.
A song must be about something. All the way through. Puff the Magic Dragon was about something, all the way through, therefore it is a song worthy of the name. All Along the Watchtower might be about something, but you wouldn't guess by listening to it. Maybe it has a meaning which could be explained. But if a song, or a painting, has to be explained, it wasn't worth doing in the first place. Only so its creator can add to their mystique and, usually, their earnings.
Poor Noel never wrote a meaningful sentence in his life. I reluctantly trawled through every single Oasis lyric for research and found not one line that even related to the next, let alone anything else in the 'song'. No, we can't keep saying 'song'. We must give a name to things like this. 'A series of words sung to a borrowed Beatles tunes'. Snappy? No. Noelistic. That'll do. A Noelism, My dictionary defines nihilism as: a belief in nothing; denial of all reality, or of all objective truth. Hmm. A 'song' full of nothing. That'll be a noelism.
As you now know, Noel is not the only rubbish songwriter in the world. The galling thing is that people not only think he is a great songwriter, but a songwriter in the first place. All the poor thing knows is that every two lines must rhyme. So he writes a stream of drivel which, to be fair, does scan (but then that's easy unless you are a clever poet trying to shoehorn words of meaning into the scansion) followed by another which ends in a rhyme with the last. Let's try it ourselves.
Walking slowly down the hall, faster than a ... Berlin Wall? Stuart Hall (British TV and radio figure)? Bloke named Paul? Pashmina shawl? Mobile call? Shopping mall? Whatever you like. Ice cream brawl, bad recall, wonderwall, anything you like, Mike, on your bike. This is idiot stuff, the kind of thing five-year-olds enjoy when they're just beginning to understand the rhythm of words. Poor Noel never progressed.
Cole (rhymes with Noel) Porter was a songwriter, a superb constructor of scansion and lyric. More than that, his tunes were superb and memorable and the wit so refined. It's odd that Cole, so privileged and educated, wrote similarly elegant stuff to his great contemporary, Irving Berlin, from a totally different background. Irving had worked his way up from his poor, Jewish New York background as a singing waiter, plinking and plonking on only the black keys of the piano in his breaks, using the white keys as an ashtray, to write Cheek to Cheek, White Christmas and the gorgeous What'll I Do. He could have stopped there, and I'm sure you and I would have, thinking it couldn't get any better, but he didn't and it did.
Both Cole and Irving (rhymes with deserving) won many awards, as has Noel. In 1996, he was named Songwriter of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards. It's like you or I being named Milkman of the Year (apologies to any milkmen reading this). Talking of milkmen, one of the most perfectly constructed songs of recent years is Ernie (the fastest milkman in the west), by British genius Benny Hill. Of course it rhymes, scans, has a verse which tags the title and gallons of wit, but, most importantly, it's about something. All the way through. It tells a story, from beginning to end. Unbelievably, Benny Hill never won an Ivor Novello Award. But then he never shrouded himself with a mystical aura, never failed to explain himself with an inarticulateness which manifested itself as something so deep that it couldn't be explained. With Benny, what you heard was the truth. No air of mystery, no pretensions of omniscience. "A stale pork pie caught him in the eye and Ernie bit the dust." It doesn't get any better than that.
Students of quantum mechanics will understand that Oasis can be both rubbish and not rubbish at the same time, but never both. Some might say that they have sold out concerts around the world, sold millions of albums, etc, and therefore this could not have happened if they were rubbish. This is like saying that the ugly, bullying Windows operating system is a much better thing than the user-friendlier Macintosh, based solely on units sold. The biggest-selling newspaper in Britain is The Sun, which has pictures of topless women every day. The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles overflows with worthless junk which people bought by the shedload. In songwriting terms, Joe Dolce's Shaddup Your Face has no merit, but it reached number one on the British charts.
But how did Oasis achieve commercial success? Their music is derivative and although the guitars are turned up loud, lacks real energy. The biggest problem is the speed, or lack of. The clumping, dawdling tempo of most of their noelisms conveys the impression that they may never get to the end. So if we take away the lazy music and the lazier lyrics, all we are left with is what they look like.
Oasis are cool. It was their swagger, the constant assertions that they were the best band in the world, that won them fans. Many music journalists were trampled in the scramble to publish anything about Oasis, just like Beatlemania all over again. Beatle worshiper and plagiarist Noel may have noticed the irony. People will always be happy to associate themselves with a winner and bask in the reflected glory. It's easier than thinking.
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