Music: Noel Gallagher of Oasis flies solo on debut album ‘Birds’

Jennifer Suh

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Noel Gallagher has just released his first album after his departure from the mercurial British outfit Oasis. As the man who spearheaded the success of Britpop, he has written most of Oasis’ songs and co-produced all of their albums. The band’s second album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, which featured worldwide hits “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” proved Gallagher’s excellence in songwriting, and the band reached its commercial success by selling 14 million copies.

As expected, Gallagher’s self-titled album, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, reached No. 1 on the UK album chart, and 120,000 copies were sold in the UK within the first week. This number is almost double the album sales of Beady Eye, the band fronted by Gallagher’s brother Liam, the former vocalist of Oasis.

Gallagher’s band’s first single, “The Death of You and Me,” received positive reviews immediately after its release. Although the sound is much different from his previous work, a catchy and slightly bluesy rhythm makes this a charming single. As with many of his singles, the lyrics are appealing, yet complicated enough to pique the listener’s interest. During the final verse, he sings: “I’m watching my TV/Or is it watching me?/I see another new day dawning/It’s rising over me with my morality/And I can feel the storm clouds/ Sucking up my soul.”

Gallagher later announced that “AKA… What A Life!” will be their next single. Throughout the song that he described as a “dance track,” there is a constant up beat, with progressing beats in the background. Known for his rather sarcastic and acerbic speech, cynicism remains in the lyrics. He concludes with, “Some say you might find your hero/Some say you might lose your mind.”

Although it may be hard to tell from the title, Gallagher’s first U.S. single, “If I Had A Gun,” is a mellow love song reminiscent of “Wonderwall.” In contrast to his lyrics for a lot of other songs, this one really shows a softer side of him. (Despite his public image, his softer side comes through in songs like the one he wrote for his girlfriend, called “Slide Away.”) In this track, he sings, “‘Cause you’re the only God that I will ever need.”

This 10-track album ends with “Stop the Clocks,” a great closing song. It’s a simple-beat track with a bit of sentimental touch to it. The lyrics are also very fitting for this last track; toward the end, Gallagher sings, “And when the night is over/There’ll be no sound… And now might fight is over/There’ll be no sound.”

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is already platinum in the UK and was on the Top 20 charts in more than 15 countries, but its success has yet to be matched in the U.S. Gallagher is now on a world tour to promote his latest album, and most of the shows during his European tour are sold out. This guy’s worth checking out – go listen to the free streaming of the album on RollingStone.com.

– Jennifer Suh

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