Thursday, 20 October 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

I always find music reviews to be kind of pretentious. I used to buy Q a lot in my younger days when I was trying to pretend like I was all knowledgeable about music. I never really read much of it, because I figured buying it was enough.

“Do you read Q?”
“Why yes. Yes, I do.”

…as I sipped my tea, and looked down my nose at fans of pop music.

But even then, I recognised that their album reviews always seemed to be pretentious, and snooty. They had the air of snobbishness to them, like if you didn’t know all the songs that a particular artist was making reference to; you weren’t enjoying the album properly. And I hated that. It’s not like the album is a sequel that you need to have the entire back catalogue of the band, to enjoy this new album.

I also hated the dissection of the lyrics, as if the reviewer is peering into the soul of the artist. Or is writing an essay on the poetry of Robert Frost. I have no doubt that there are songwriters that spend hours on their deep and meaningful lyrics and that’s great. But I don’t look at an album as a window into the soul of a tortured artist. I look at an album as a (hopefully) great collection of songs that I can sing along to and will do for years to come.

And so, with that in mind, here’s my first ever review of an album: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

It’s great.


Ok, not really.

But it is a brilliant record. It’s really just a collection of slightly different Noel songs that he was knocking out as Oasis tracks for the best part of the last 20 years, but by jove they’re good. Freed from the Oasis sound, it sounds at once familiar but pleasingly different. If anything, it sounds like a transitional record; one to bridge the gap between his past and any future albums that may come, and perhaps a little afraid to stray too far from the successful previous formula, but it goes (just) far enough that it doesn’t just sound like some abandoned recordings from an Oasis session, although there are some familiar riffs in there (I heard the beginning of Wonderwall at one point).

At the end of the day though, this is an album I was destined to at least like, and at best, love. And love it I do.

4 stars

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