Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Finally, this puppy leaked. For a minute there, I thought I was going to actually have to wait until it came out in America in November. Then again, I have been waiting for this to come out even when Oasis was still together, so I guess I could have made it another month. While it’s not acknowledged in the US (because the only songs that anyone knows here are “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova”, and frat boys with guitars have done a good enough job of taking the piss out of the former), Noel Gallagher has written some solid tunes in the past 20 years. In Oasis, he was always the guy behind the curtain. He wrote 95% of the band’s best material while his brother Liam, served as the singer and entertaining town-crier. But since Liam decided to be a dumb ass, sue his brother, an form the mediocre Beady Eye, everyone’s been waiting on Noel’s response. And Noel’s just bitch slapped Liam.

The album kicks off with “Everybody’s on the Run,” a song which has been circulating since about 2009 due to a bootleg  version floating around. Back then, it was just a soundcheck version with just Noel and his guitar. This is a man who used to snort his own body weight in cocaine, so he doesn’t fuck around. He’s thrown in a chorus and strings and kicked off the album epically. Beady Eye went from looking mediocre to shitty and we’re not even a 1/10th of the way through the album. Up next is “Dream On,” a song a bunch of journalists are disregarding because of lines like “the bitch keeps bitching.” Personally, I dig the song because of its flow and the vocal melodies. It’s one about holding your head up and all that jazz. “If I Had a Gun…” is cool too, despite it’s chord progression being dangerously close to “Wonderwall.” Noel can write love songs without being cheesy and using “baby” and other cliches so I guess that’s why I dig it. Plus, who names a love song if I had a gun? “The Death of You and Me” was the lead single and when it first leaked, I thought it was a bit of a departure for the stadium rock Noel’s known for (I mean, there are only two guitar solos on the whole album). It’s more personal this way and I think that’s what makes it work. Speaking of guitar solos, “(I Wanna Live in A Dream In My) Record Machine” has one of the best outros on the album. While I think the massive choirs and horns take away from the song (compared to the demo at least), the song still encompasses a message of escapism that any fan of music could probably relate to.

“AKA…What A Life” threw me off the first time I heard it. It had that club vibe/drum beat to it. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was completely sold on the song until I saw the music video (which is still not available in the US). Then I realized it was pretty cool and another example of how Noel writes empowering songs. “I’m gonna take that tiger outside for a ride.” That’s pretty badass. “Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks” is probably the most political Noel has gotten. He does it to a catchy horns and a good beat. “AKA…Broken Arrow” is probably the only track I don’t dig on the album. It’s pretty boring and I don’t find it necessary for the rest of the album. The next track, “Stranded on the Wrong Beach” is a foot-stomper that builds steadily. Noel sounds a bit cynical on this one and I love it. “Stop the Clocks” might be my favorite on the album. A song that’s taken about 10 years to finish, Noel questions his existence with spacey melodies in the background. It has probably the best outro for anything he’s written in the past 10 years. He delivers his last line “And when the night is over, where will I fall?” and then soon after jumps full speed ahead into a barrage of guitar solos, cymbal heavy drums and other organized chaos that will make the hair on your neck stand straight up. Damn, that was good.

So yeah, this review probably reads like a handjob at some points, but it’s hard to review your favorite artist without being biased. Either way, the album is probably one of the best things Noel has done since Oasis’s 2005 album, Don’t Believe The Truth. If the demise of Oasis means that Noel gets to go forward and create more rad solo albums like this, than I’m more than okay with that. Fuck em up, Noel.

Everybody’s On the Run – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

AKA…What A Life – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Stop the Clocks – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

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