The Chelmsford chapter of V Festival, 2009. The sun was shining, good friends were in tow, the beer was flowing and it was my birthday weekend. To top it off, Oasis were headlining the Sunday line-up. Around 1pm whilst basking in the sun with a few beers listening to Ocean Colour Scene, rumour starts to spread that Oasis have cancelled and Snow Patrol are taking over their slot. “F*** off!” I tell numerous of the rumour-spreaders, defending against the Gallagher haters (“Hey, man. It’s all about the music.”). But how wrong was I…
About a year later with no news apart from the gory details about the split and an “Oasis minus Noel” album later, a press conference is held. The greatest lyricist of his generation (and to me, all time) has announced his solo return with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
After wearing out the mp3 of “The Death Of You And Me” and a preliminary tour concert ticket on order, I arrived at HMV before work to pick up the special edition of the album (naturally). That day I must have listened to it 3 times before lunch whilst pretending to work. We open with the orchestral choirs of “Everybody’s On The Run”, then head for a crescendo of flying to the moon with “If I Had A Gun”, pick up the tempo with “AKA…What A Life”, get “Stranded On The Wrong Beach”, and round off with “Stop the Clocks” sparkling through the headphones. The triumphant return is complete.
For me, Oasis didn’t click until I obtained a bootleg titled “The Acoustic Sessions” which allowed me to listen to the lyrics and get past the detestable “lad culture” perception associated with Oasis. Just a man, his guitar and the stage. Noel’s lyrical ability has been both praised but also criticised of their simplicity in many late night pub conversations. If we’re talking about simplicity, did that hinder Steve Jobs revolutionising industries with the iPod/iPhone? The thing that grabs me about his lyrics is the theme of escaping to a better place in many of his songs. “Half The World Away” (“I would like to leave this city.”), “The Death Of You And Me” (“Let’s run away together you and me, forever we’d be free.”) and Listen Up (“One fine day, gonna leave you all behind.”) are a few examples. Isn’t escapism partly the reason why we listen to music?