Heathen Chemistry

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Heathen Chemistry
Heathen Chemistry.jpg
Studio album by
Released1 July 2002
RecordedOctober 2001 – March 2002
StudioWheeler End, Buckinghamshire and Olympic Studios, London
GenreAlternative rock, pop rock
Oasis chronology
Familiar to Millions
Heathen Chemistry
Don't Believe the Truth
Singles from Heathen Chemistry
  1. "The Hindu Times"
    Released: 15 April 2002
  2. "Stop Crying Your Heart Out"
    Released: 17 May 2002
  3. "Little by Little / She Is Love"
    Released: 23 September 2002
  4. "Songbird"
    Released: 3 February 2003

Heathen Chemistry is the fifth studio album by English rock band Oasis, released on 1 July 2002 by Big Brother Records.

A self-produced effort, the album was written and recorded with a back-to-basics sound with a more rock feel to it; the more crude and simple sound differs from the musical grandiosity of their previous records, Be Here Now (1997) and Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (2000), being more comparable to their early work.[citation needed]

Heathen Chemistry is notable for being the first Oasis album recorded with guitarist Gem Archer and bassist Andy Bell, who both joined the band after work on previous album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants had been completed. It would also prove to be last album to feature the band's longtime drummer, Alan White (minus one final appearance on their next album, Don't Believe the Truth, on the track Lyla), who left in early 2004, with Noel Gallagher claiming White's commitment to the band was not adequate. He was effectively replaced with Ringo Starr's son, Zak Starkey. The album was released to generally mixed reviews from critics.

The name "Heathen Chemistry" was taken from a second hand T-shirt that Noel had stumbled across.[1] The album has sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.[2]


Heathen Chemistry was recorded during 2001–early 2002 and is the first Oasis album to have significant writing contributions from members other than chief songwriter Noel Gallagher. Front man Liam Gallagher contributed three songs, and new bassist Andy Bell and lead guitarist Gem Archer contributed one song each as well.[3]

Although most of the song's instrumentation was complete by mid-to-late 2001, Noel indicated that the release date of the album was being needlessly delayed by Liam's apparent reluctance to lay down his vocal parts at recording sessions, and went on to state that he was "livid" at the lack of work being done:

I was really happy with (the album) until recently, but I'm fucking livid now. I finished my bits three-and-a-half months ago, and then we handed it over to Liam, and in three-and-a-half months he's done nothing. Just concentrated on his drinking habit again. It's just drifting at the moment.
All the backing tracks are done and it's a fantastic album of instrumentals. Hand it over to the singer and it just slows down and becomes this one really long, drawn-out, painful process. So, to be honest with you, I don't know when it'll come out now. It's down to him.[4]

Despite the setbacks during the recording process, when the album was finally complete Noel was confident that it was the group's second best album to date, behind their debut Definitely Maybe.[5]

The title of the album, according to Noel, came from a T-shirt he bought in Ibiza which featured a logo reading, "The Society of Heathen Chemists". Similarly, the name of the first single, "The Hindu Times", originated from a logo on a T-shirt that read the same thing, which Noel saw during a photo shoot for GQ's 100 Greatest Guitarists edition. The name was given to the track when it was just an instrumental and the name stuck once the track was finished.


The release of the album was overshadowed by an Internet leak of all 11 songs almost three months prior to release, which was evident at a Las Vegas show the group performed where fans knew the words to several new songs before the album's release.[6] However, listeners of the commercially released album heard slight differences to two tracks, "Little by Little" and "Better Man".

The length of track 11, "Better Man" is 38:03, this is because of a hidden track called "The Cage", which begins after 30 minutes of silence. In the Japanese and digital versions, "Better Man" and the hidden track "The Cage" were separated and the 30-minute silence was removed.

The album has sold around one million copies in the UK, being certified triple platinum,[7] and 154,000 copies in the US.[8][9] Upon release, Heathen Chemistry went straight to number one in the UK, though it fared rather poorly in the US, only entering at number 23.

It was the 11th biggest selling album of 2002 in the UK with just over 800,000 copies sold.

It spawned four singles, each of which made the top three in the UK charts: "The Hindu Times", their sixth number one single in the UK; "Stop Crying Your Heart Out"; "Little By Little/She Is Love", the double A-side sung by Noel Gallagher; and "Songbird", the first single written by Liam.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[11]
Blender4/5 stars[12]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[13]
The Guardian2/5 stars[14]
Los Angeles Times2/4 stars[15]
Q2/5 stars[18]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[19]

Reception for the album, which garnered a Metacritic score of 55 out of 100 (indicating mixed to average reviews), varied wildly. Some reviewers noted that it was better than the band's last effort, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, with Blender writing that Oasis was "a band back on track".[12] However, a number of other reviewers offered scathing assessments of the album; notably, Drowned in Sound,[21] Pitchfork,[17] and Stylus Magazine.[22]

Track listing[edit]

1."The Hindu Times"Noel Gallagher3:46
2."Force of Nature"N. Gallagher4:51
3."Hung in a Bad Place"Gem Archer3:28
4."Stop Crying Your Heart Out"N. Gallagher5:03
5."Songbird"Liam Gallagher2:07
6."Little by Little"N. Gallagher4:52
7."A Quick Peep" (Instrumental)Andy Bell1:17
8."(Probably) All in the Mind"N. Gallagher4:02
9."She Is Love"N. Gallagher3:09
10."Born on a Different Cloud"L. Gallagher6:08
11."Better Man" (song ends at 4:20, includes hidden track "The Cage", which begins at 33:13)L. Gallagher / N. Gallagher38:02

In the Japanese and digital versions, "Better Man" and the hidden track "The Cage" were separated and the 30-minute silence was removed.



  • Liam Gallagher – lead vocals, tambourine, acoustic guitar on track 5
  • Noel Gallagher – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Force of Nature", "Little by Little" and "She Is Love", drums on track 11[23]
  • Gem Archer – guitars, keyboards, piano on track 4
  • Andy Bell – bass
  • Alan White – drums, percussion

Additional musicians[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Oasisnetofficial's channel on YouTube
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon. "Oasis Turn to Heathens, Hedonism for Inspiration on New LP". mtv.com. 3 April 2002.
  4. ^ "Noel 'livid' as Liam delays new Oasis album", NME Online, 11 October 2001
  5. ^ Downey, Ryan J. "Oasis Set Up U.S. Tour Whether Liam Likes It Or Not". mtvnews.com. 16 May 2002.
  6. ^ Goldner, Jonathan. "Oasis Badger 'Thieving' Fans At Las Vegas Gig". MTV.com. 29 April 2002.
  7. ^ Heathen Chemistry certification. British Phonographic Industry. Accessed on 25 January 2009.
  8. ^ Cohen. Jonathan. "Oasis Pledges New 'Truth' In May". billboard.com. 7 March 2005.
  9. ^ Trust, Gary. "Ask Billboard: "English Beat". Billboard. 23 January 2009.
  10. ^ "Reviews for Heathen Chemistry by Oasis". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Heathen Chemistry – Oasis". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  12. ^ a b Collis, Clark (August 2002). "Oasis: Heathen Chemistry". Blender (8): 120. Archived from the original on 28 September 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  13. ^ Willman, Chris (12 July 2002). "Heathen Chemistry". Entertainment Weekly: 84. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  14. ^ Petridis, Alexis (21 June 2002). "Yawning glory". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  15. ^ Hilburn, Robert (30 June 2002). "Oasis, 'Heathen Chemistry' Epic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  16. ^ Fox, Jason (25 June 2002). "Oasis : Heathen Chemistry". NME. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  17. ^ a b Mitchum, Rob (10 July 2002). "Oasis: Heathen Chemistry". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  18. ^ "Oasis: Heathen Chemistry". Q (192). July 2002.
  19. ^ Moon, Tom (4 July 2002). "Oasis: Heathen Chemistry". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  20. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (August 2002). "Oasis: Heathen Chemistry". Spin. 18 (8): 113. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  21. ^ Reed, Mark (11 July 2002). "Album Review: Oasis – Heathen Chemistry". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  22. ^ Chakroff, Evan (1 September 2003). "Oasis – Heathen Chemistry – Review". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  23. ^ http://fasterlouder.junkee.com/noel-gallagher/825523/3
  24. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Oasis – Heathen Chemistry". Hung Medien.
  25. ^ "Oasis Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Oasis – Heathen Chemistry" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  27. ^ "Lescharts.com – Oasis – Heathen Chemistry". Hung Medien.
  28. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  29. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Oasis – Heathen Chemistry". Hung Medien.
  30. ^ "Charts.nz – Oasis – Heathen Chemistry". Hung Medien.
  31. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Oasis – Heathen Chemistry". Hung Medien.
  32. ^ "OLiS: sales for the period 01.07.2002 - 07.07.2002". OLiS.
  33. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Oasis – Heathen Chemistry". Hung Medien.
  34. ^ "Oasis | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  35. ^ "Oasis Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.

External links[edit]