He doesn't disappoint as he smatters the bulk of this new record with orchestral strings. The pick of the tracks here are the pulsating Pretty Boy, the string-laden I'm Not Giving Up Tonight and the soaring Open The Dorr, See What You Find. [Jul 2023, p.84]
This could have been one of Noel’s best albums, if not the best, if the damn songs were presented in a more appropriate sequence. I know mostThis could have been one of Noel’s best albums, if not the best, if the damn songs were presented in a more appropriate sequence. I know most of Noel’s fans consider him a God and me arrogant to even think he’d make a song sequence mistake (or any mistake), but Noel HIMSELF admitted in an interview that he should have swapped the opening and closing songs. And even that is wrong.
So this album as presented is a 6. What I did was create a playlist and moved songs around. I also pulled from the deluxe version of this release which has songs which never should have been shelved. There’s no perfect way to set all this up but I promise you my sequence is much better and worthy of my 9 rating.
1. OPEN THE DOOR, SEE WHAT YOU FIND is a born opening song for a rocker like Noel. This is the type of song you open with in a concert. It’s not your best but it gets people out of their seats. And, lyrically, opening something is like starting a journey of sorts.
2. LOVE IS A RICH MAN is cut from the same cloth and, in a live show, keeps people standing and dancing. The song itself is just okay which is why it’s good to be ‘rid of it’ early like this.
3. THERE SHE BLOWS hints at a possible ballad but eventually evolves into a nice grinder. This is when in a live show you’ve been standing for three songs and might want to sit down.
4. I’M NOT GIVING UP TONIGHT is that song where you sit. It’s not only a soothing ballad after all this noise but is the best song of the four so far. (Never open with your best stuff.)
5. In my opinion my only debatable entry is this John Lennon cover MIND GAMES. I’d have only included a minute sample of this instead of the entire song. It would act like a transition point in the album to mellower dreamy stuff. Like --
6. TRYING TO FIND A WORLD THAT’S BEEN AND GONE PT. 1 is such a piece, despite it’s amazingly pretentious title. Ouch! And of course the album fails to deliver a PT. 2, making the PT. 1 thing even more painful. Still it’s an excellent dreamy Pink Floydy lead into one of the album’s best tracks --
7. -- EASY NOW. These two tracks are presented together on the original album with a cool sound effect linking them and I wouldn’t dream of changing their sequence.
In the old days of albums I’d call this end of Side One. In these digital days there are no sides and so what would be perfect is some sort of instrumental interlude. Love Noel’s voice but how about no voice for a few minutes? That happens perfectly via the Deluxe album’s instrumental version of --
8. COUNCIL SKIES. Yes, I’ve shelved the album’s title track for an instrumental, but I have a compelling reason for this: the song steals a Noel vocal riff from BALLAD OF THE MIGHTY I, a previous Noel song that is superior to this. I absolutely cringed when I first heard that song and I’m like, wait, Noel has already run out of ideas? He hasn’t, but it’s best to hide the song version of this tune altogether if you ask me.
9. So now that we’re on ‘Side Two’, we need a nice opener. WE’RE GONNA GET THERE IN THE END delivers some big horns and stuff to wake us back up after so much dreamy mellow. But the mention of ‘end’ in the title indicates we’re running out of tracks.
10. Here I insert the Pet Shop Boys remix of THINK OF A NUMBER. You might ask why, since it’s a dance club song where the rest of the album isn’t. QUEEN made a career out of offering different flavors one after another and I think it’s nice to hear something ‘new’ after nine more predictable tracks. And once you’ve heard this version you won’t listen to the original again.
11. Call this a Pride Month thing, but the (apparently) gay themed PRETTY BOY follows nicely in the wake of a Pet Shop Boy’s remix, don’t you think? It’s sort of the gay side corridor of the disc. I wanted to include the remix of this song here but it drones on too long.
12. DON’T STOP is a rejected track included in the deluxe version. It’s actually pretty good and is offered here as the penultimate song. The opening lyric perfectly warns that things are wrapping up: "Bye bye my friend, I'm leaving'. I'd offer this as a closing track except I’ve saved the BEST track as the finale --
13. DEAD TO THE WORLD is a slow amazing masterpiece. But don’t take my word. Liam said it himself, and you know what a wanker he is. This song is impossibly offered as track 3 in the actual release, which means almost every song after it will lack.…Expand
This is a fine record, full of superb production and lush instrumentation. Melodic, uplifting and yet melancholy this is a mature, reflectiveThis is a fine record, full of superb production and lush instrumentation. Melodic, uplifting and yet melancholy this is a mature, reflective Noel Gallagher, featuring his most consistent collection of songs. There is very little on here that falls flat and the utilisation of strings to add layers in the right places versus just for show is a wise choice. The strings add much to the atmosphere but the real plus here is Gallaghers vocals, as he gets older, he becomes a stronger vocalist in terms of range and emotion, The extended version features an excellent new version of Dont Stop and his lock down single 'We're Gonna Get There in The End' that should really have featured on the album proper.…Expand
He is playing a pop that should not exist anymore, and he does a good job bringing back this country and chamber pop with high acoustics, andHe is playing a pop that should not exist anymore, and he does a good job bringing back this country and chamber pop with high acoustics, and some nice arrangements on the composition, but it does feel exhausting because the main ideas are "over explored" on this project. In most of the songs, Noel takes its time to really stick his concept on the track, then by the time he adds the climax of the song, it has been too long, maybe. In some songs, it doesn't even happen.
This is not a good project gone wrong, it's just a nice embracing project with its highs and lows. Friendly but kind of very persistent, which can be both good and bad.…Expand