The Importance Of Being Idle

"The Importance of Being Idle" is a song on the British rock band Oasis' sixth album, Don't Believe the Truth, written and sung by lead guitarist Noel Gallagher. It was the second single released from the album in the UK, on August 22, 2005, where it debuted at number 1. It was also the first time that Oasis earned two successive number 1s in the same calendar year. It was written by Gallagher sometime during the summer of 2004, before the band made their final attempt at recording what would become Don't Believe the Truth. He got the title from the book of the same name, which he found whilst cleaning out his garage (it belonged not to him but to girlfriend Sara McDonald).

Structure

Musically, as Noel has commented, the song sounds like tunes from two British bands, The Kinks and The La's. In particular, the guitar playing, as well as the sentiment expressed is noticeably similar to The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" and "Dead End Street", and the use of falsetto for every other verse line recalls The La's "Feelin'". The guitar sound is similar also to The La's b-sides "Clean Prophet" and "Over". It also is a breakaway from the sound of Oasis's latter albums, especially the straight ahead rock 'n' roll anthems of Heathen Chemistry. The keyboard used on the pre-chorus sections was bought by bassist Andy Bell from the auction website eBay.

Inspiration

Noel has said that the lyrics of "The Importance of Being Idle" are inspired by his own laziness. Some of the second verse, with the reference to begging his doctor for "one more line", seems to be referring to an actual event as this resembles Noel's account of how he gave up cocaine in 1998.

Reception

Most reviewers acclaimed the track as one of the highlights of Don't Believe the Truth, which itself was widely praised as a marked return to form. The band mentioned in interviews in June that it would become the second single, after the UK Number One "Lyla". The b-sides are Liam Gallagher's "Pass Me Down the Wine" and Gem Archer's "The Quiet Ones."

Q Magazine readers placed the song at number 1 in a list of 2005's greatest tracks.

The song is included on Oasis' compilation album Stop the Clocks.

Music Video

The promo film was directed by Dawn Shadforth, (whose previous videos include Kylie Minogue's award-winning "Can't Get You Out Of My Head"). Shadforth's film for "The Importance of Being Idle' starred Welsh actor Rhys Ifans and pays homage to the style of early 1960s kitchen sink drama British films, and is set during the build up to a funeral procession in a northern town, with the extravagant undertakers parading the coffin at the video's climax and Ifans playing the part of a high-kicking funeral director whose funeral it is.

The video is based on the film and play Billy Liar with Ifans playing the role of Billy. Noel and Liam therefore play Shadrack & Duxbury, the owners of the funeral parlour where Billy works. The rest of the band (Gem, Andy and Zak) make a brief appearance as lazy workers playing cards in an undertaker's office. It was widely acclaimed at the time as being probably the best video Oasis had ever made, not least by the band themselves, who were said to be very happy with the finished product. The video is very similar in style and concept to the music video for "Dead End Street" by The Kinks.

Track listings

CD RKIDSCD 31
"The Importance of Being Idle" (Noel Gallagher) - 3:43
"Pass Me Down the Wine" (Liam Gallagher) - 3:51
"The Quiet Ones" (Gem Archer) - 2:01

7" RKID 31
"The Importance of Being Idle" (Noel Gallagher) - 3:43
"Pass Me Down the Wine" (Liam Gallagher) - 3:51

DVD RKIDSDVD 31
"The Importance of Being Idle" - 3:41
"The Importance of Being Idle" (demo) - 3:40
"The Importance of Being Idle" (video) - 4:03
"The Making of" (Documentary) - 5:22

OASIS - The Importance Of Being Idle