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.


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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