“Dig Out Your Soul” Digs into the Past

Beaux's Sita and Sarita

Beaux's Sita and Sarita

As an art historian, I’m interested in how artists reference the past in their works. For a simple example, I love Ceclia Beaux’s “Sita and Sarita” (1893) witty response to Edouard Manet’s (in)famous Olympia. The hand, the cat, the cushy pillow — all citations of Manet’s well-known nude. But Beaux makes her sitter an American woman, noble and virtuous in her white dress and adverted gaze with a controlled sexuality. So her work references the past, but it is a work thoroughly modern and thoroughly her own.

The truth is, no contemporary artist can escape being influenced by those who came before. I wrote a paper about a Vancouver-based First Nations artist named Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton about a year ago — he said he doesn’t need Emily Carr (a famous early 20th century Canadian Landscape painter from the Vancouver area), yet his work is in many ways a response to Carr’s swirling scenes of logged forests. The similarities in subject matter and color are striking, and his work gains more meaning because of Carr’s legacy.

But this blog entry isn’t to talk about art. It’s to talk about Oasis.

Oasis’s new album, Dig Out Your Soul, is fantastic. It’s been out for a while now, and I have yet to tire of it. It’s a great album, “heavy” as they would have said in the 60s, with a real grounded rock sound and addictive guitar riffs. As new as the album sounds when pitted against the sugar-coated songs of Taylor Swift or the Jonas Brothers, part of what makes Dig Out your Soul so good is that it sounds so familiar without sounding stale. It’s the guitar of Oasis that we love set against great lyrics, but it’s also a wonderful homage to some of the most innovate rockers of the past.

Dig Out Your Soul

Dig Out Your Soul

Oasis is a band tirelessly compared to another Liverpool, England, export — The Beatles. Definitely, their music (and their look) draws on the Fab 4 and there are several tracks on Dig Out Your Soul that sound like something the Beatles would have done if they had stayed together through more of the 70s. The Nature of Reality has one riff that is just too much like Revolution to be ignored (not to mention similarities in lyrics). There’s also a little Marylin Manson in this song… anyone else remember the Dope Show?

Waiting for the Rapture
is one of my favorite songs on the album and it sounds absurdly familiar. It’s been driving me crazy for months. What does this sound like?!? Finally, today while listening to a Q104 WorkForce block of the Doors I found the answer — Five to One.

Then there’s Get off your High Horse Lady, which reminds me of Beck’s Farewell Ride. It’s not just because both songs talk about horses… really, give it a listen.


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