Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

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Cathode Ray Sunshine
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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:01 pm UTC

Ok, don't know how many (if at all) are Oasis fans, or maybe think they're a bunch of wankers, but even though I'm a pretty big metal fan, I have a soft spot for those guys. I love the first two, and pretty much like almost all of their releases, except the last one, Dig Out Your Soul, even though it had 2 really good songs there.

Anyway, the point of the thread is not to talk about Oasis, though you can if you want to. Recently I took the time to listen to Noel's solo album, and my expectations weren't really high at all. I thought it would be a pretty bland release, considering how I disliked the last Oasis album. But I was pretty surprised actually, I ended up liking all the songs, and If I Had a Gun is probably one of the best songs Noel has written in at least a decade. I've read a lot of reviews saying how it's the best he's done after Morning Glory, and although I wouldn't go that far, it's much better than Dig Out Your Soul and Don't Believe the Truth, but I have to say DBTT isn't bad. I've been waiting for a Noel Gallagher solo project for years. I like Liam and all, but I think Noel is definitely the best singer of the two.

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TheAmazingRando
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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:56 am UTC

I've never really got the hype about Oasis, but I think they had some catchy songs. They've been playing If I Had a Gun on the radio around here pretty much non-stop and I like it at least as much as any of the big Oasis singles. You don't hear that kind of spark in singer/songwriter pop songs these days.

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Various Varieties
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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Postby Various Varieties » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:56 pm UTC

If you attempt any "objective" musicological approach to discussing Oasis' music, it's pretty indefensible. Their lyrics overdo the references to Beatles titles and to the weather (and in Liam's case, to the fact he's writing songs); Noel's guitar solos are pretty simplistic (I was amazed to discover when I began learning the guitar that the Live Forever and Supersonic and Don't Look Back in Anger lead parts barely venture beyond the two most basic minor pentatonic positions); Liam's vocals in live performances had deteriorated drastically by the time of Familiar to Millions; and overall they were a band that was more backwards-looking than forwards (all that plagiarism...er, I mean, referentiality). Plus they have other strikes against them, like being one of the main reasons for the Loudness War. A few years ago, Felstaff made a post about them that about sums them up.

So by rights I shouldn't like them - "Cigarettes & Alcohol" does not describe my lifestyle at all (except the bit about being unemployed :( ). But whether it's nostalgia or some other reason, I still love 'em anyway! :mrgreen: Rock 'N' Roll Star, Acquiesce, Half The World Away, The Importance of Being Idle, Slide Away, Whatever, Falling Down, The Hindu Times, The Masterplan, Go Let It Out... I even retain a soft spot for All Around the World ("hey, wouldn't Hey Jude have been better with three key changes and a reprise?")

However, even though I enjoyed Liam's contributions to the last few Oasis albums, I didn't have any desire to get the Beady Eye album. But I really like what I've heard of High Flying Birds so far. If I Had A Gun's opening couplet is terrible (reminiscent of Liam's "Little James" - surely Oasis' lowest ever point?), but the song improves drastically after that.

Liam's a twit, of course (though I hope that some of it is just him playing up to his image), but Noel can be really entertaining in interviews and other chats such as Russell Brand's radio shows. This article by Chuck Klosterman is a good one.

Noel's been saying in a couple of High Flying Birds promo interviews (like last night's Jonathan Ross Show) that he recently happened to bump into Damon Albarn and they actually made up with each other for their wacky antics 15 years ago! :shock: Isn't that one of the signs of the apocalypse?

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Cathode Ray Sunshine
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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:22 pm UTC

Various Varieties wrote: Noel's guitar solos are pretty simplistic (I was amazed to discover when I began learning the guitar that the Live Forever and Supersonic and Don't Look Back in Anger lead parts barely venture beyond the two most basic minor pentatonic positions)


That's not necessarily a bad thing though, simplicity can be good, and in Oasis' case, it works. Noel's appeal as a musician (to me, anyways) is that he was able to write catchy, simple tunes were liked by millions. I don't really know if that's what he was going for, but a lot of people that are just learning to play can at least play some Oasis tune (I suck at guitar and even I can play something as simple as Talk Tonight). Can't quite comment on the lyrics, since I'm not a Beatles fan so I don't know how much is original and how much is referencial.

Various Varieties wrote:"Little James" - surely Oasis' lowest ever point?)


I don't think the song is that bad, but I can't understand why they didn't replace it with Let's All Make Believe, or at the very least include it on the release.

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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:30 pm UTC

Noel Gallagher was part of Oasis?! No shit. I always liked the hell out of his track Teotihuacan on the X-Files album. Neato.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

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Various Varieties
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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Postby Various Varieties » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:00 pm UTC

Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:
Various Varieties wrote: Noel's guitar solos are pretty simplistic (I was amazed to discover when I began learning the guitar that the Live Forever and Supersonic and Don't Look Back in Anger lead parts barely venture beyond the two most basic minor pentatonic positions)


That's not necessarily a bad thing though, simplicity can be good, and in Oasis' case, it works. Noel's appeal as a musician (to me, anyways) is that he was able to write catchy, simple tunes were liked by millions.

Oh I completely agree; the three songs I mentioned are some of my favourite guitar solos ever (and not just because they're among the few I can actually play!), and I much prefer them to 99% of virtuoso fretwankery. I was just acknowledging that a lot of the criticisms of Oasis' music are perfectly valid, and if you analyse their songs purely in terms of how ambitious, varied and interesting they are from a music theory perspective, they don't stand up.

Can't quite comment on the lyrics, since I'm not a Beatles fan so I don't know how much is original and how much is referencial.

In the Britpop years people often described Oasis as "Beatlesque". But I don't think it was ever a particularly meaningful term to use, because "-esque" implies that a comparison is being made due to the similarity of the feeling of the music, and while that's true in a few cases (Hey Jude/All Around the World), Oasis and The Beatles' music was rarely very similar in terms of production or arrangement (Oasis never had the same emphasis on vocal harmonies, for example). The Beatles references in Oasis songs were either blatent musical quotes (the "Ahh-ahh-ahh" C-D-E outro of With A Little Help From My Friends/She's Electric; the Dear Prudence melody in the outro of The Turning) or straightforward namedrops of song titles:

- "You can sail with me in my Yellow Submarine..." (Supersonic)
- "Fool on the Hill and I Feel Fine..." (D'You Know What I Mean)
- "Sing a song for me/One from Let it Be..." (Be Here Now)
- "Get on the Helter Skelter..." (Fade In-Out)
- "Love is a litany/A Magical Mystery..." (The Shock of the Lightning)

Eventually Liam just gave up any pretence of disguising these homages and just stuck a John Lennon sample in I'm Outta Time and titled a Beady Eye track Beatles and Stones. Points for audacity, at least!

I don't think the song is that bad, but I can't understand why they didn't replace it with Let's All Make Believe, or at the very least include it on the release.

I'm guessing Little James probably had to be included because Liam stamped his feet until he had at least one song on there to get some share of the royalties. ;) Let's All Make Believe's exclusion was probably yet another example of that tendency to throw away great tracks as B-sides. Imagine a version of (What's The Story) Morning Glory which started with Acquiesce instead of Hello (both songs start with low-volume previews of later tracks on the album, plus it'd mean Gary Glitter wouldn't get any royalties!), Half the World Away instead of Cast No Shadow, and the non album single Whatever instead of Hey Now and the untitled instrumentals...


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