On Noel Gallagher’s New Single

This morning I awoke to find an e-mail from Noel Gallagher in my inbox.

To be fair, the e-mail wasn’t from Gallagher personally. It was from his website’s online store. But the “From” field said “Noel Gallagher,” so for a few pre-caffeinated moments I could have believed that the rock star himself had deigned to notice me.

In reality, the e-mail was to let me know that the newest single from his forthcoming album was available for download. Which I promptly did.

The A-side, to use old vinyl terminology for an mp3 download, was “If I Had a Gun…” I’ve listened to this song more times than I’d care to admit — first, it was upon a radio station’s website about six weeks back, then a few weeks later I got it as a free download from Gallagher’s website, though I don’t remember why or how I did. (last.fm says, currently, 35 times, but that’s vastly lowballing it. Vastly.) (ETA: The reason I got “If I Had a Gun…” early was that I pre-ordered the full album from Gallagher’s website, and as a bonus I received that song early.)

I wrote at the time that the song was released to the website: “‘If I Had a Gun’ is reminiscent of some of the work on [Oasis’] Dig Out Your Soul. The song conveys a sense of unrequited longing, and I find it unexpectedly haunting. The one quibble I have is that I feel it needs an orchestral swell.” The more I listen to it, the more I love the song. It starts out slow and gentle, with piano and acoustic guitar counterpointing each other, then forty-five seconds in an electric guitar comes in, and the sound builds. The lyrics tell an evocative story of an unrequited love, and when the song hits the chorus, there’s a shift in texture and the song becomes nearly transcendent.

I thought it needed an orchestral swell. It doesn’t.

The B-side, “I’d Pick You Every Time,” is a fun little country-esque acoustic ditty. It’s a silly thing that reminds me of some of Paul McCartney’s frivolous moments on “The White Album.” It’s fluff, but fun fluff. I can’t think of a similar moment in the Oasis canon.

As I mentioned recently, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is one of the albums I’m most looking forward to this autumn. I’ve heard the album in full. It streamed in two halves on Gallagher’s website over the last two days, and it’s wonderful stuff. I cannot wait to have the shiny plastic disc in my hands.

And who knows. Given my interest in hypothetical Beatles albums, maybe I’ll put together a hypothetical Oasis playlist for the album after Dig Out Your Soul. Or maybe I should just let Beady Eye’s Different Gear, Still Speeding and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds stand on their own. :)

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