Oasis’ ‘Standing on the Shoulder of Giants’ – Looking Back on Their Back-to-Basics Album
Nineteen-ninety-five’s ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ made Oasis huge stars. Super-huge. Like, putting-cocaine-on-their-raisin-bran huge.
So when they got around to making the follow-up album, ‘Be Here Now,’ in 1997, nobody dared tell them what to do. They were super-huge. So they fed every bad, bloated idea spinning around inside their coke-addled minds into ‘Be Here Now,’ and the result was a bad, bloated album that maybe was supposed to be a concept record. No one could tell because it was a loud, incoherent mess.
Oasis, particularly songwriter and guitarist Noel Gallagher, learned from their mistake and swore to get back to basics on their next album, 2000’s ‘Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.’ Arrogant we-are-gods title notwithstanding, the record, in some ways, was leaner than ‘Be Here Now.’ Some of the songs even made sense. But Gallagher was so driven to absolution (even if humbled and shamed aren’t in his lexicon) that he took his nostalgia trip all the way back to its logical place: the kaleidoscopic ‘60s that he’d been channeling since Oasis’ 1994 debut.
So the band’s fourth album loaded up on every possible psychedelic furnishing you can imagine, including sitars, mellotron and primitive drum loops. Even with the departure of two original members (who quit during the sessions), ‘Standing on the Shoulder of Giants’ sounds big and spaced out. But, like every album Oasis made after ‘Morning Glory,’ it also sounds full of itself.
A handful of cuts – ‘Go Let It Out,’ ‘Who Feels Love?,’ ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?,’ ‘Sunday Morning Call’ – were pulled as singles, and they manage to rise above the clutter. But it was too little too late. ‘Standing on the Shoulder of Giants’ was Oasis’ worst-charting record since the debut, making it no higher than No. 24. None of the singles charted, although ‘Go Let It Out’ stopped outside the modern-rock Top 10. After this, Gallagher pretty much put his creative impulses on coasting mode, releasing three more increasingly lifeless Oasis records before the group broke up in 2009. ‘Standing on the Shoulder of Giants’ is hardly their last hurrah. But at least Gallagher tried to make it so.
Watch the Video for Oasis’ ‘Go Let It Out’