Don't Believe The Truth


Epic, 2005

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


For the sake of the reader's busy schedule, I divided this review up into two major segments. Consider it a 'choose your own adventure' review. You know - one of those stories you used to read when you were a kid: you chose the character's fate and read the result.

So, in this case, the review opens up in a record store. You are there shopping for another CD and Oasis' latest album comes on overhead. Because of a massive rainstorm, you cannot leave the record store, so you must listen to this entire album. If you hate Oasis, you may now advance to the next paragraph, labeled OASIS HATER. If you love Oasis, advance four paragraphs to OASIS SUPPORTER. Let the adventure…begin…


Okay, first off, stop with the celebrating. "Their best album in a decade?" Hell, they haven't released a good album in a decade. The fact that Don't Believe The Truth is not a colossal failure does not justify giving it a high grade.

I mean, seriously, if Travis or Coldplay released this album, critics would tear it to shreds. Where do I begin? The band has the balls to rip off the Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man" on "Mucky Fingers" and then goes on to ape the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man" in "Lyla." The chorus for that song even rips off the Oak Ridge Boys' "Elvira."

And don't get me started on the lyrics. Liam, you think shifting a few letters around makes "Guess God Thinks I'm Abel" a statement on your wit? Not with lyrics like "Let's get along, there's nothing here to do / Let's go find a rainbow." Optimism is fine if it's backed up with substance, and the hollow feel-goodness of a line like "The sun will shine on you again / A bell will ring inside your head / And all will be brand new" does not create inspiration for a listener.

The thing that irks me is that people are praising Don't Believe The Truth just on the premise that it doesn't suck. That's like giving someone a raise for not coming to work in a drunken stupor. We should expect more from bands like Oasis. After all, they have the fame and the hype. If this album were to be released by any struggling band in your town, most listeners wouldn't give it the time of day. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 [Editor's note -- With that, skip four paragraphs to FINAL VERDICT .]


Finally! Almost a decade after their career-sinking Be Here Now, Oasis do a 180 with Don't Believe The Truth. First off, fans need to stop trying to will the band into making Definitely Maybe II. It ain't gonna happen. Instead, what Don't Believe The Truth does is offer some of Noel Gallagher's best songwriting and a few truly great songs that can qualify as "memorable."

Part of the joy of listening to Don't Believe The Truth is sifting through the album to find the band's influences. Consider the album sort of a scavenger hunt. "Ohh! There's Velvet Underground's guitar riff in 'Waiting for the Man' in 'Mucky Fingers.'" "Ohh! There's The Rolling Stones' 'Street Fighting Man' in 'Lyla.'" But don't let the haters try to tell you that the chorus sounds like The Oak Ridge Boys "Elvira," -- they're just jealous.

Oasis has have never been the most original band out there, but they've never professed to be original. What the Gallagher brothers do boast about is that they're a great band. Liam Gallagher recently bragged that he wouldn't feel out of place if he were sitting with Elvis and John Lennon. The fact that we have this sort of cartoonish figure still around in an era of over-modest rockers like Coldplay and Travis is cause for celebration. And Liam's warm, weary singing on songs like "Guess God Thinks I'm Abel" shows that he can still make a song stick with a listener.

Don't Believe The Truth has its share of fillers, but "Lyla," "Gues God Thinks I'm Abel," "Let There Be Love" and "A Bell Will Ring" are stone-cold Oasis classics. In "A Bell Will Ring," Liam Gallagher sneers "I can tell you want you wanna hear/I've been there once before." Even though the song wasn't written by either brother, his sings it with a conviction of someone who has lived through ten years of drugs, fights and constant write-offs from other critics. Consider Don't Believe The Truth to be the band's sweet revenge. [Editor's note -- With that, skip ahead to FINAL VERDICT .]


Depending on your mood, Don't Believe The Truth will either sound like one of the most inspiring albums you will hear in 2005 or the sound of a band who has long outlived its stay in the pop music world. For those who came of age in the '90s, you never want to see a band that came of age at the same time you did begin to stumble and fall into State Fair obscurity. That's what happens to those aging boomer bands, but not "your" bands.

Even the most hardened Oasis hater would have to concede that the barnstorming chorus of "Lyla," the moving piano climax to "Let There Be Love" and the catchy chorus of "A Bell Will Ring" are good, if not great pop nuggets. Still, it makes you wonder if the great reviews that greeted Don't Believe The Truth are because the music world so needs coke-fueled hooligans like the Gallagher brothers that reviewers are willing to grant the band some leeway. After all, the music world's too boring without them.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic, and is used for informational purposes only.