Thursday, June 10th, 2021

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – We’re On Our Way Now

While we’re exhuming the ’90s…


John S. Quinn-Puerta: Dead horse found freshly beaten in London studio. 

Aaron Bergstrom: There’s a clip going around of Noel repeating the old Andy Warhol adage that “art is what you can get away with,” which makes me wonder what Noel thinks he’s getting away with here. Warhol at least tried to make repetition interesting.

Tobi Tella: An alt-FM dirge, pained backing vocals and nostalgic guitar lines make this feel low on ambition, high on delivery. Doesn’t reach exciting, but I commend the universality of a song that my father and I would both kinda like.

Juana Giaimo: The thing about Noel Gallagher’s music of the past 20 years is that I can’t say it’s awful, but I can’t say it’s good either. “We’re On Our Way Now” is a pleasant acoustic ballad and his voice sounds soft and calm, but it seems detached from society — not in a positive way, just an uninteresting way. 

Samson Savill de Jong: I’d kind of like to hate this, mostly because Noel Gallagher is an arsehole. He’s such an arsehole that I genuinely thought this was a “fuck you and piss off” song for a while, even though closer inspection has revealed it to be more along the lines of “isn’t it sad we drifted apart / my grandma’s dying??“. He just writes lyrics that give off dickhead vibes, even though I’m not sure that’s what he was going for. But truthfully I can’t be mad at this song. It sounds fine, it rises and falls in the right places, and the instruments do the things they should do. I can envision it playing at the end of the middle series of a TV show where everything is falling apart.

Mark Sinker: With oohs and ahs from late ’80s white UK soul — a curious and even a provocative element in context — of course this just rocks back to softcore security-blanket Lennonism, bcz where else is he going to take it? Genius-dot-com carefully identifies all the “allusions” to the work of Oasis (“hey now!”) and the song itself is either a moan about how great brother Liam’s life is right now, or a casual tale of how Noel murdered someone he copped off with. Or maybe they took pills rather than go on a second date with him. Gonna wait for Genius-dot-com to catch up on these possible lines of analysis. 

Nortey Dowuona: The thin drums, lost and drifting bass, and washed out guitars swing up, floating among the swirling strings. Noel’s keening voice hovers a bit lower, covered by the women who catch him in their gossamer voices, wafting in and out of the guitars and bass. Noel is buoyed up to the sky, watching everyone behind him with that twisted lip.

Jeffrey Brister: There’s a lot here to like: a melancholy melody and arrangement full of yearning, “homespun expensive” golden hour production, a sturdy structure, the kind of compelling performance that looks easy because of decades of testing and refinement. But it doesn’t cohere into greatness, and that’s solely down to Gallagher’s voice. There’s nothing distinctive about it. It’s polished and practiced and sounds damn good, but it lacks personality. It renders what could be a really good song into a just-sorta-above-average one.

Andrew Karpan: Ever the George to his brother’s John, the latest record from Noel is confident only its steadfastness, its commitment to form and a sort of breezy searching that ostensibly purports to aim for archaic pop but is produced way too well and so ends up sounding vaguely like Lana Del Rey for leather jacket collectors, which sounds just about right.

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3 Responses to “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – We’re On Our Way Now”

  1. Maybe I’m just feeling petty today but I genuinely hated this.

  2. I feel like the concept is a lot more hateable than the result for me (which I guess is what my blurb says lol), it’s just not outrageous enough to elicit any strong reaction from me. Can see how it’d have got on your nerves though!

  3. I think the blandness of it all just really grated against me. It’s like a saltine without any salt.