Thereís a profoundly worrying trend emerging within the music market. There are certain bands - which would have once been labelled "Indie" bands (and still are by The Sun) - which are selling ridiculous amounts of records, despite their more recent work being considerably more rubbish than their early tunes. Whereas, say, Blur are now one hundred times more creative now then they ever were in their Country House heyday (despite the popular press decrying them as tuneless experimentalists), their contemporaries seem more content to peddle the middle-of-the-road in order to maximise commercial potential. This is a bad thing. Read on.


They may have been absurd "urban glam terrorists" in their early days, shackled to a manic depressive anorexic, but at least the Manics had an edge. Clearly, their raucous third album, The Holy Bible, burnt the anger out of them once and for all, and their subsequent work on Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours has been weak, watered-down banality. Their lyrics may be as obscurely intellectual as every, but musically the Manic Street Preachers are edging ever closer to the comfortable, over-produced melodies of Texas. Compare a song like Motorcycle Emptiness, or You Love Us to You Stole The Sun From My Heart, and tell us they havenít sold out. No wonder Richey James went mad and dematerialised. 
KEY ALBUM: Generation Terrorists.


They went crap the minute Bernard Butler left, and have been peddling a poor imitation ever since. The early Suede had a certain special, otherworldlyness about them which the subsequent, fan-filled version has sought to capture, but never succeeded. Admittedly, the band needed lightening up - things were getting very dark - but Brett Anderson has taken things to a ridiculous extreme, becoming a virtual, Prozac-fuelled parody of himself. Their last two albums have practically been indistinguishable, while simultaneously rewriting the singles from the first two albums (frankly, it was the album tracks which stood out). Asphalt Word or Elephant Man: isnít it obvious which is the better song? 
KEY ALBUM: Dog Man Star.


They may have shifted huge numbers of their second and third albums, thanks to the hype and the marketing, but there is at least the consolation that everyone knows theyíre not as good as they used to be. Whereas Definitely Maybe showcased short, punchy punky, singalong-a-pop tunes, Noel Gallagher has become obsessed with re-writing Hey Jude, with almost every song on Whatís The Story (Morning Glory) and Be Here Now clocking in as a six minute-plus epic. Noel Gallagher may have worn his influences on his sleeve, but at least for the first album. Oasis were an honest rock and roll band. If he wants to emulate The Beatles he needs to experiment. By Rubber Soul their influences had become diluted. It was their musical innovation which transformed them into the most important pop group of all time. Unless something special happens with Oasis album No.4, the Gallaghers and company will forever be known as a good pub band who got lucky, and little more. 
KEY ALBUM: Definitely Maybe.

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