Last week, my iTunes library went past the 10,000 songs mark. I don't think I've even listened to a sadly significant proportion of those, let alone know them, but still, my mental library contains a lot of songs too. It's hardly surprising then that new songs can sometimes sound strikingly familiar because they have something in common with one of them. Just a hazard of listening to lots of music, really. But it still occasionally ruins songs, and "My Neighbour's House" is one.
You see, the riff in "My Neighbour's House", the big fuzzy one that blazes through it and rarely lets up, is basically the same one as in Oasis' "Rock 'n' Roll Star". Turn on "My Neighbour's House" and the first words that come into my head aren't 'My neighbour's house is burning down and I wish that I could care', they're 'I live my life in the city, and there's no easy way owwwwwt'. Followed, of course, by the unforgettable 'soon-shyiiiine'. The problem is magnified by the fact that the riff it resembles is a really well known song, by one of their supposed peers, and that they play it in very much the same turned-up-to-11 style. No other Bluetones song would sound as much like Oasis anyway. I'd like to think that the resemblence wasn't deliberate, but it all points to an uncharacteristic laziness.
A shame because in some ways "My Neighbour's House" has a lot more to recommend it than most of their other songs from last year's self-titled album. It's full of energy, has a really effective breakdown where the riff doesn't interfere, and has some of Mark's most idiosyncratic and intriguing lyrics, with him wishing for 'some fellow feeling' that he just can't find and fearing harsh (divine?) judgement as a result. But all that pales next to the Oasis factor and choosing this as comeback single at a time when mainly dismissed as Britpop throwbacks was sort of willfully stupid. The first full Bluetones single ever to miss the top 40, incidentally.
YouTube: 1-minute sample of My Neighbour's House. Enough to see my point, hopefully.