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.
A short list of some potentially great albums coming our way.
Jónsi – Go – The Sigur Rós frontman’s first solo effort was actually released a few days ago, and while I only gave it a C+, the first half is a spectacle to behold.
MGMT – Congratulations – I’ve already given the duo’s sophomore album a bunch of listens, and it’s definitely growing on me. Missing are a lot of the catchy hooks that made Oracular Spectacular so, well, spectacular, but Congratulations has a certain confidence that’s infectious. The standout track is definitely “I Found a Whistle.”
Merle Haggard – I Am What I Am – New material from a country legend? What’s not to like?
Kate Nash – My Best Friend Is You – I’m actually not so sure you should be excited about this. A free download from the album, “I Just Love You More,” is an abomination. It’s so far removed from “Foundations” and, even worse, sounds like a terrible Yeah Yeah Yeahs knockoff.
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record – “World Sick,” the first song released from the new album, is a seven-minute mammoth of a tune.
The New Pornographers – Together – Neko Case supposedly sings lead on several songs. Score.
Keane – Night Train (EP) – The lead single, “Stop for a Minute,” features Somali/Canadian rapper K’Naan. This EP promises to be Keane’s most interesting work to date.
The National – High Violet – Returning with their fifth studio album, the Brooklyn indie rockers already appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last month.
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms – Producer Phil Ek returns for the third outing from this sparkling indie band. They’ll be opening for Pearl Jam in May.
LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening – The last album James Murphy will release as LCD Soundsystem.
Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots – Early reception for STP’s sixth studio album has been enormously positive. It’s been nine years since the band released Shangri-La Dee Da.
Drake – Thank Me Later – Everyone’s favorite Degrassi paraplegic is all grown up, and this has to be rap’s most hyped album of the year, with Kings of Leon being featured on the song “Fireworks.”
Gaslight Anthem – American Slang – The follow-up to 2008’s brilliant The ’59 Sound.
Oasis – Time Flies… 1994-2009 – Britpop’s best will release a post-breakup collection, containing 25 of the band’s 26 UK singles.
No Set Date (Yet)
Arcade Fire – TBD – New songs will debut at the Reading and Leeds Festival in August, with the new album coming late this summer (hopefully).
Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song – His breakthrough album, That Lonesome Song, has pushed more than 650,000 sales.
Katy Perry – TBD – FM radio better be ready.
KT Tunstall – TBD – She recorded new material in Berlin before coming back to London to finish things up.
Maroon 5 – Hands All Over – Possibly coming in June, the album was recorded in Switzerland with producer Mutt Lange.
Ra Ra Riot – TBD – Finally! According to Rolling Stone, the band moved to a peach farm in upstate New York to record their sophomore LP.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mojo – The Heartbreakers will provide support for the first time in eight long years.
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