07 July, 2006

Old wave

I heard 'Roll With It' by 90s chart-toppers Oasis on the radio earlier. It felt like it was from 100 years ago.

Everything about it just seemed to reek of a time long long past. The thing sounded shockingly primitive. The singing was crap (another of Liam's reading-the-shopping-list deliveries), the music was crap (page two of Noel's a-tune-a-day guitar manual), the production was crap (it sounded like it had been taped in a church hall) and the arrangement was crap (the rest of the band prodding around as if uncertain of the harmonies).

In fact, it sounded like a musical joke - a band taking the piss, a band not caring about what they were bashing out. A band, moreover, who didn't need to care about what they were bashing out.

There was no substance, no emotion, no nothing. Yet it went to number two in the hit parade. And was, of course, one of two contenders for the title of Britpop kings, squaring up the same week to Blur's even worse offering 'Country House'.

I doubt either record gets much airplay nowadays. It's instructive, but somehow strangely fair, the way some things age faster than others. Though come to think of it, 'Roll With It' sounded out-of-date the moment it was released.

Pop music needs to be fresh, new, exciting and fun. Fortunately songs that fit all four criteria can hail just as much from 1955 as 2005. Which I guess is just part of pop's magic.


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