Flying On The Ground – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

We have a policy here at SteveForTheDeaf (I say we, it’s just me). No Beatles, No Elvis, No Oasis. We’re in the business of turning over rocks and looking underneath, not going to the jukebox and starting the football terrace chants off (I meant chants, that’s not a typo). The Beatles don’t need anymore written about them, Elvis was utterly phenomenal too but what can I offer the topic? Too big. Too lauded. Too much for little old SFTD to handle. Oasis too were a brilliant flash in the pan that went on for too long because fans supported them like a football team not a band. They were good. At times they were amazing. I bought every single and a couple of albums for the first few years and saw them several times live. But they were a shallow pool when compared to other Britpop survivors or the bands that inspired them like The Smiths or The Jam (or even Slade). Noel on the other hand?

Noel is a conundrum for me. I like his music, I can’t bear his public persona. His brother Liam? He’s even worse. They come across as entirely not my kind of people. A pair of cocky bully boys assured of their own wit and oblivious to nuance in any given scenario. Empowering dickheads the world over. Axl Rose was the same. Loved the band, cringed at Rose in interviews.

What’s happened here is, I’ve definitely chosen a side. In the Noel vs. Liam debate I chose Noel some time after As You Were was released. On the strength of Who Built The Moon? I concluded it was Noel all along. Anyone who couldn’t see that was more interested in the bovver and the swagger than the music. I seriously rate Who Built The Moon? as an album. I’d go so far to say Black And White Sunshine is a top ten Noel Gallagher composition. I’m including his old bands work in that.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old. Maybe it’s because one of the last festival headline shows I saw was Ole Noel and his HFB’s and I’m missing the fields this summer. Maybe I’m just weakening to a bit of MOR Pop. Like Harry Nilsson or Paul Weller in his Stanley Road phase used to make (actually Weller still does, Fat Pop is pretty great, might feature a track from that later on) or maybeeee it’s because Noel G is at his absolute best when writing and singing classy pop rock songs that feel like you have known them your whole life.

In the early days Oasis ran into trouble for the odd rhyming couplet or melodious ear worm getting too close to something by Stevie Wonder (Step Out = Uptight) or T-Rex (Get It On = Cigarettes & Alcohol) or The New Seekers (I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing = Shakermaker). It’s become a minor league sport trying to accuse NG of stealing something from somewhere (I call it Taxi to the Bridge) and on Who Built The Moon? the keyboard warriors of the world decided Holy Mountain was a Ricky Martin tribute. FFS. It’s a she-banger of a tune.

Bottom line is the man writes delicious pop songs. Really really lovely stuff. From Wonderwall to Half The World Away to In The Heat Of The Moment to this. It’s gorgeous. The sun is shining in England. Noel Gallagher is singing on the radio about how he’s upside down because he got so high and all is kinda right in the world.

This track and the other newie We’re On Our Way Now are your customary tack on cash rinsers from a greatest hits album. In this case it spans the last ten years worth of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. After the self titled album with it’s If I Had A Gun and AKA… What A Life the early solo stuff was followed up with Chasing Yesterday and a proper album band feel that started with Riverman and went all the way to The Ballad Of The Mighty I. The immaculate run of stand alone singles in 2019 is just like the flag for Switzerland, in as much as it’s a big plus. Ten years after (That’s time for you) we’re piling together some complex and varied output over a strange decade which I’m not sure anyone really understands yet.

Timey Wimey stuff ties itself to Noel’s songs. Maybe that’s why Dr Who keeps appearing in his videos. I’m not sure I’m following the plot with the really pretty lady and the car crashes and the black and white 60’s stuff. I am sure that I really like the tunes. I don’t want an Oasis reunion. Those sorts of things always feel like diminishing returns. I want more HFB. I’m the same with GNR. I want more Slash solo stuff. Only Pixies have pulled off that particular trick for me. I love the post break up trilogy as a separate alternative timeline Pixies output but… that’s… another… story. I have to say, looking at the track listing of the ten year best of from NG&HFB He’s moved way past Be Here Now, Little James or Gas Panic.

Noel’s better without Liam. Oasis were over long before they split. This way is better for everyone.

5 thoughts on “Flying On The Ground – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

  1. I’ve always been on the Noel side. The real talent of Oasis and though Liam was a great frontman, I always like Noel’s voice more.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In my teenage years, when buying the Wonderwall single (and eventually them all with their special Benson & Hedges-style gold and silver boxes, I first discovered The Masterplan (the track) and realised how good Noel was, it was a turning point for me because I was NEVER a fan of Liam. I’m still not, I think he’s lived off his brother’s rep forever and is barely a songwriter of any kind.

    But, yeah, Noel is the talent in every respect although I absolutely agree with how he comes across in interviews, it’s not always that good but weirdly he does know his stuff. Definite conundrum.

    Oddly, I heard this track for the first time this morning and said to my more emotionally-strong other half how Paul Weller it sounds but… it’s also very Noel!

    Interestingly though, despite always liking his work, I haven’t listened to the last couple of albums at all, so I’ll go through those today to accompany a very boring day of work admin.

    Thanks, once again, Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked Oasis for a while. I thought the Be Here Now albums was fantastic and than even though I bought a few albums that followed it to me wasn’t the same.
    I have a hard time getting into dudes who breakup bands and fly solo.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I ahave no horse in this race. Never liked whiny nasal Oasis, never cared. “Empowering dickheads the world over.” Indeed. So I ginored this completely. I know Mike talked about it at one point, but I still felt no pull at all. Fair play, and all that, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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