Given all the recent coverage of his run-in with Katie Holmes and various, life-altering ways , you may be unaware that Noel Gallagher, late of Oasis, has just released his first proper solo album, a rock-solid collection of tunes that run the gamut from psych-tinged burners (“[I Wanna Live in a Dream in My] Record Machine”) to straight-ahead churners (“Everybody’s on the Run”), with stops at just about every point in between.
He’s called the disc Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, a nod to both the first Fleetwood Mac album and a Jefferson Airplane song of (roughly) the same name, and so far, things are soaring. It’s been greeted with glowing reviews, most of which seem to harp on the fact that the album represents “his best tunes in 15 years.” Of course, in typical Gallagher fashion, he’s not paying attention to any of it.
“I didn’t read any of the reviews and think, ’Well, these people think I’ve been writing crap songs for the last 15 years.’ I don’t think of things like that,” he told MTV News. “When I’m in the studio, I’m literally taking it song by song and then, you know, you get to the end of it. I got to say though, during the mixing of it, as each track was being finished, I was thinking, ’This does sound really good. …’
“But I wouldn’t like to compare it to anything Oasis did, because that’s not fair,” he continued. “We were a band and I was writing songs for someone else to sing, so you can’t really compare the two. It’s just a good record, what can I say?”
Humility was never his strong suit. Neither, apparently, was guitar playing. Because even though he slung the ax loud and often in Oasis, he never really considered himself to be a guitar player. Which is why, on High Flying Birds, he limited the showing off — there are, by unofficial count, just two solos on the whole album — and focused instead on doing what he loves best: writing killer tunes.
“I guess when guitarists make solo records, there’s usually a lot of showing off. But I’ve been trying to convince for 20 years that I’m not a guitarist, I’m a songwriter. I played lead guitar in the band because everybody else, in the early days, was useless, so that kind of fell to me,” he laughed. “But it’s not something I ever thought I would put myself up there with John Squire or Johnny Marr or all those great British guitarists, that’s not my thing. My thing was songwriting. I only noticed [the lack of solos] when a friend of mine was listening to the finished version, and it got to track six and he went, ’You know, that’s the first guitar solo,’ and I was like, ’Wow, someone’s got an easy gig, doesn’t he?’ ”
And since there’s not going to be an Oasis reunion in the cards anytime soon, Gallagher is focused on promoting Birds both here and abroad. He’s playing on just about every continent over the next six months and seems quite content to be doing nothing else. Especially attempting to figure out the machinations of the music industry of 2011 … a plan he abandoned long ago, thanks in no small part to his daughter.
“She is into music, she’s never mentioned Justin Bieber to me … Lady Gaga’s her thing, and Rihanna and, is it, Miley Cyrus? All that kind of thing,” he said. “It’s kind of a rule, she’s got to like Oasis and her old fella, so she’s into that side of it. But her teenage rock years will come [and], no doubt, she’ll be into f—ing Nickelback as well.”