Wednesday, 9 June 2010

2005 Oasis: Lyla

Oasis, no less than U2, have always aspired to secure a place in The Club of usual suspects in any 'Classic Rock' line-up - that particular stall was set out on the opening track of their debut album when Liam drawled "Tonight, I'm a rock 'n' roll star". That aim was arguably achieved long before 'Lyla', long before this decade even began in fact, helped in spades by a rabid fanbase and compliant media who heard things in 'Wonderwall' and 'Live Forever' that I never could. Both would say that the loss was mine, but even though shifting line-ups and a vague 'dad rock' backlash had taken some of the edge off the lustre by 2005.

But nevertheless, enthusiasm and expectation surrounding the band was still enough to take this, the debut single from their sixth album, to number one; 'Lyla' is a teeth bared, hard metallic clunk of sound where an opening borrowed from 'Street Fighting Man' gives way to a dumb, brick wall hitting Ramones-a-like chorus that does nothing of note bar drag on for at least half as long as it needs to, and each round of the "Hey Lyla" chorus polishes its impenetrable surface further and further until it reflects only what it thinks it is. What does it think it is? Well, a 'classic rock single' in the vein of the same ones The Rolling Stones and The Ramones used to release. Why is it 'impenetrable'? Well, because in holding up a mirror to its own inspiration, it forgets to add anything of its own or show any understanding of what it's actually trying to achieve; 'Lyla' puts me in mind of someone trying to pass themselves off as a master baker because they know what a cake looks like. The U2 of 'Desire' were guilty of trying too hard to get membership of The Club in attempting to naturally hitch onto a lineage they could never have been a part of; 'Lyla' is arrogant enough to believe it can barge its way to acceptance by force alone. But it can't, and despite what they were proclaiming back in 1994, 'Lyla' manages to neither rock nor roll. In fact, it's joyless and dull. Very, very dull.

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