1997, Music

Urban Hymns (1997) by The Verve

I have made no bones about my dislike of Oasis, a band nearly everyone else seems to love (or at least enjoy). I don’t like their songwriter’s songs, I don’t like their sound and I find their biggest hit to be poorly produced. So what the hell am I supposed to do when I have an instinctive liking for a band that is clearly just second-rate Oasis? Dammit.

Characterizing this band as “second-rate Oasis” is unfair because, as far as I can tell, The Verve beat Oasis to the punch: they formed before Oasis and they released their debut before Oasis. So maybe Oasis is second-rate Verve and all of my humming and hawing here is for naught. But in my memory I knew Oasis first, and so I feel like The Verve followed Oasis even if that’s not true. (And maybe Oasis were more successful in North America first, I don’t know.)

Regardless, I find the bands sound very similar to each other. Oasis should be a better fit for me, on paper, because they are a little harder, a little more prone to some classic rock cliches (not that The Verve aren’t prone to such cliches…). But, for some reason, I listen to this record and I find myself enjoying it much more than I would Oasis. Maybe I just like Ashcroft’s songs better than Gallagher’s (damning with faint praise).

Anyway, I have the same essential problem with The Verve as I do with Oasis: they are a band that lives in the past. I can accept that when the songs are good enough but they’re not quite there. I still think I would rather listen to these guys than Oasis, but that’s not much, coming from me.

6/10

All songs written by Richard Ashcroft, except where noted.

  1. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ashcroft 5:58
  2. “Sonnet” 4:21
  3. “The Rolling People” The Verve 7:01
  4. “The Drugs Don’t Work” 5:05
  5. “Catching the Butterfly” The Verve 6:26
  6. “Neon Wilderness” Nick McCabe, The Verve 2:37
  7. “Space and Time” 5:36
  8. “Weeping Willow” 4:49
  9. “Lucky Man” 4:53
  10. “One Day” 5:03
  11. “This Time” 3:50
  12. “Velvet Morning” 4:57
  13. “Come On” / “Deep Freeze” The Verve 15:15

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