Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
I know it’s been a loooooooong time since I last wrote a review or any post, but this is something I’ve wanted to revisit for a long time coming. I first listened to this song about two years ago, now twenty-two years after Oasis’ world hit Wonderwall hit the charts in 1995.
The thing I want to discuss is how when I first heard this song (that’s an understatement, it’s more like I went crazy over it) I couldn’t help but feel like I was transported back to that year I was born when I heard the opening chords. There was something about them that made me want to find out, is Noel trying to bring back some of that essence and create a reimagined ‘Wonderwall 2.0’ for the 21st century?
Now, I’m not going to delve into a musical analysis of the two songs, as fun as that would be, and of course many of you would say, naaaahhh, wonderwall didn’t have crazy solos, or a sexy sax player tuning away after each chorus. But that’s it! That’s why I would call it a re-imagination! If an artist was to write the same type of song at different points in their career, then of course they would come out with two different end products.
Noel now has the knowledge to create something new in his craft, but the essence of that first major hit single is still there; the chill, level feel, the restricted, but colourful chordal vocabulary, the sustained notes (it’s begining to sound like an analysis, I know).
The song comes from the same place, Wonderwall was written at a time when Noel was contemplating leaving Oasis (and thank god he didn’t! at the time…). Riverman is written at a time when he’s looking back on that time, and the potential of ever having a reunion with his brother and those two other Mank lads. He contemplates his direction in life, he even goes to quote another Oasis song (I’ll let you guess which one) when he penned the lyrics about the “girl, who electrifies the storm”.
All I can say is, this song is genius, it’s great, it’s amazing to listen to, it leaves you wanting more afterwards. We know it won’t reach the level of Wonderwall, just like most ‘sequels’. However, it is one of the more masterful works of his solo career, post-Oasis.
And that is why, everytime I will hear this song, those opening chords will always give me the essence of one of the greatest Brit-pop anthems ever written, and while Noel might violently disagree, possibly throwing in a couple swear words and telling me to go to not very nice places, I think the correlation isn’t such a bad thing…
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