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Instant Reaction: Noel Gallagher’s debut single, “The Death of You and Me,” shines bright

Noel Gallagher, the chief songwriter and genius behind Oasis, is finally back with his first solo effort after leaving the band in 2009. Under the moniker Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Gallagher took the curtains off the single “The Death of You and Me” just about an hour ago. It was first played by BBC Radio 2, with its accompanying music video premiering on YouTube just a few minutes later.

Anyways, onto the music — and “The Death of You and Me” is a pure summer tune. Opening with a tickling guitar line, the song shifts to a breezy bounce (similar to “The Importance of Being Idle”). Gallagher’s vocals here strengthen as he leads the song into an incredibly catchy and strong chorus — “And is it any wonder / why the sea is calling out to me? / I seem to spend my whole life running / from people who could be / the death of you and me.”

Somewhere around the two-minute mark comes the dizzying horn section that also returns for the song’s close. Not only does it give off a New Orleans jazz vibe, but it gives the song even more of an identity. Nevertheless, it will most certainly be pointed out that the song sounds like it could fit anywhere on The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s” or “Magical Mystery Tour.”

Then again, this is an excellent step in the right direction for Gallagher. It’s hard to imagine brother Liam singing on this one — with the high-notes and all, of course. Furthermore, Noel’s songwriting shines through after a couple listens. It goes without saying that, lyrically, “The Death of You and Me” beats anything on Beady Eye’s debut “Different Gear, Still Speeding.” Ignoring the title, it turns out that “The Death of You and Me” is a love song (“Let’s run away and see / forever we’d be free”), following in the footsteps of Oasis songs that have a strange way of being uplifting.

For Noel Gallagher, it’s a strong start. No disrespect to Liam, but in looking back at the ups-and-downs of Beady Eye, “The Death of You and Me” is an exciting reminder that the best half of Oasis has finally returned.

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Best albums of 2009 (Part I)

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

4. Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Kasabian suffered from the sophomore slump with 2006’s Empire. But third album West Ryder… is also the band’s best effort yet. The energy is finally contained — in a good way. On a song like “Fire,” it’s easy to wish you were seeing the band live. And finally, Kasabian have made a complete album. There’s just not much filler here. An interesting instrumental (“Swarfiga”) is about it. It’s a band that might not ever break the United States. Which is unfortunate, because Kasabian is easily one of the best proper rock bands left in the world.

5. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

A Pitchfork fad? Nope. This is Animal Collective’s eighth LP and it’s experimental bliss. Everything sounds like it’s from another planet. One of those albums you must look up the lyrics to just to know what’s going on. For the first time, it sounds as though Animal Collective knows exactly what they’re doing. Precisely. Down to every note. Complete confidence. On first listen, many will think “this is weird.” Only a short time passes before it usually turns to “this is amazing.”

6. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You

Forget Talyor Swift. Lily Allen is 50 times more interesting and a 100 times more entertaining. Case in point: It’s Not Me, It’s You. Lead single “The Fear” shows Allen’s blunt honesty as she sings, “I want loads of clothes and f***loads of diamonds,” all in that soft British accent. But the album is far deeper than honestly. Allen added some electropop to her second LP, adding to the catchiness of her debut Alright, Still. She even does politics. “Kabul S***” might not make you think for hours, but it’s easy to relate to. “F*** You” is even better, with Allen sounding ever so polite while telling a certain former president what’s what.

7. Metric – Fantasies

It doesn’t get much more slick than this. From “Sick Muse” to “Gimme Sympathy,” it’s hard to see why a bundle of songs here didn’t take radio by storm. Nonetheless, Fantasies deserves to mentioned with the best of the year. On a song like “Blindness,” Metric know when to hold back, letting vocalist Emily Haines take the spotlight with lyrics to sing that are more interesting than on any other Metric album.

Honorable mentions:

Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
Pearl Jam – Backspacer
Discovery – LP
Silversun Pickups – Swoon
Jet – Shaka Rock
The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
Muse – The Resistance
U2 – No Line on the Horizon
Noel Gallagher – The Dreams We Have as Children (Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
Steel Panther – Feel the Steel
The Lonely Island – Incredibad