Thursday, December 7, 2023
HomeMusicNoel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Dead to the World Review

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Dead to the World Review

His music certainly is. Noel Gallagher pieces together a track that lifts the acoustic, tender structures of other, better musicians of his class with Richard Hawley inflictions right there in the opening. It is not enough to move Dead to the World, Gallagher’s latest Council Skies single, anywhere of note. A toothless adaptation of bending over backwards for those he loves and the songs he writes. Introspective? Redundant? Possibly both for Gallagher, whose work on Dead to the World is a soppy string affair that sounds like it would slot into the closing notes of a Pierce Brosnan Bond feature. Isolating his voice and underscoring it with empty strings and simple acoustic notes does little to help or hurt. 

Thoroughly unconvincing work comes through Dead to the World because those who are seasoned with Gallagher and his thoughts cannot detach from the empty, soulless feeling his music brings. He mounts a track about figuring out his place and how he does not know where he has been, and if the interpretation is anything but vaguely personal riffs then it would have been a shock. Easy Now and Pretty Boy did much the same and were absolutely fine standards, expected solidity from a consistent, if dull, singer-songwriter. His singing, nor his songwriting, are of particular interest though. Sickeningly buttered up and simple tones of love not being enough. Not exactly the most dominant or entertaining of perspectives, but it is also a lacking emotional one that relies on projection toward its simple chord structure and tone than actual, raw sentiment. 

Roaring through over and over the same few lyrics, Gallagher musters up very little in the way of sincerity. These tracks feel as cheap as they did in the Oasis days, where lyrics were secondary to the feeling after a few Strongbow cans were necked. Now, Gallagher perceives himself as the touching underdog, the frontman with a heart of gold and a voice of silver. Dead to the World is achingly simple. Whichever pop-like dullard is currently top of the charts could have knocked this one out and hoovered up a hefty sum of cash. But Gallagher is perceived as a legacy artist now and will never hit that high again. Perhaps he is the underdog, dead to the world since he no longer enjoys the major success he once did. He has been eased out of phase like the rest of those greats he worked alongside. 

Overpraised and on the minds of even the passive fan because it is one of the more articulate tracks Noel has ever released. For a man that once wrote he was walking slower than a fired cannonball, Dead to the World can be celebrated for rarely putting its foot in its mouth. It still does. “Gonna write you a song / won’t take me long” certainly has precedence here. Nothing too detailed, nothing too formidable, but it didn’t take long at all for it to come together. Repetitive in its emptiness and moving in its self-adaptation should a listener feel the desire to project their own feeling onto broad tracks with a simple structure even Ian Brown would tut at. Gallagher leaves a miserably flat impression here, where his vocals are acceptable, his lyrics forgettable.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet


  1. Sad really when the only “talent ” if that’s the right word in this case is to rubbish a long established artist who is a legend in the music industry. Also any musician worth his salt knows that the simplest tunes are the best.

    • It takes talent to have an eye for punctuation, that’s for sure. The simplest tunes are not the best, they can be, but the blanket statement provided there does a lot to burn down the legacy of anyone from Johnny Cash to Radiohead.

  2. After reading this review, I thought it was a bit harsh especially after reading other reviews of this song from proper musicians.
    I thought who is this guy writing this ? So I checked you out, you work for the Star ! Does that still exist ? And you beg for money through a patreon page ! Haha keep it up you end bell

    • Glad to see you’ve sussed out I’m not a musician, just a music journalist. Bit of a difference. Not sure how financial comfort from Star/Patreon has factored in there, but thanks for reading!

    • Not sure what’s rubbish about the opinions of an individual, it’s rather striking that so many people are upset over just that, an opinion. Thanks for reading!

  3. The track including the strings which you find soppy I find instantly gorgeous and moving and even Mr. Gallagher’s voice is heartfelt and beautiful here. Give it another spin without an arrogant ear. Although it is a track by Noel, it deserves better than a bashing like in 1997.

  4. you’d do well to try and say something insightful about the song (whether positive or not) rather than trying to veil your clear dislike for the man and his music through the guise of a track review. so vague and biased, and it’s definitely a more unique song in terms of style than what’s topping the pop charts

    • Thanks for reading! A bit bold of you to assume I like or dislike a man I’ve not met and shall likely never meet. High Flying Birds’ debut is an occasional play for me, Everybody’s On the Run and AKA…What a Life! are superb tracks. I’d disagree with your opinion on this being a vague and biased review. Vague to what end? Biased to who?

  5. One of the worst reviews I’ve ever seen. One glance at your profile tells me you loathe Noel for whatever reason as a person, so you slander his music by using horrible points. Just because something is “simple” doesn’t make it bad. It’s very common for people like you to loathe the Oasis guys. Horrible review. Horrible taste. Horrible sunglasses.

    • Thanks for reading, Simon! You’re making a lot of assumptions there from what, as you admitted, is a mere “glance”. If you’d taken the time to read a couple of other delightful comments, you’d see I do quite like Noel’s earlier High Flying Birds work. Not particularly sure what horrible points you’ve picked out, but would love to hear them! Something simple done well is well done. Something simple done bad, as it is here with its wet string sections and its shaky vocal work, is bad. Someone’s very upset by my sunglasses though, but when at Venice Film Festival, it’s always a wise choice to stick some shades on.

  6. NG going back to his imagination with this one. Make no mistake, this track is beautiful and very well crafted.

    This review is lazy and a very weak attempt to be ‘hipster different’.

    The comments in this review shows how terribly wrong this Ewan (whoever he is) has got this.

    Back to school.

    • Thanks for reading! I’m not particularly convinced by the idea that an opinion, as you’ve just read here, can be wrong unless it is so wildly off the mark. Nor am I convinced that this review is lazy and very weak. You’ve got a smorgasbord of complaints there, Dan(s), and me heading back to school (where they didn’t have a course for reading up on Gallagher’s withering songwriting last time I checked) will solve nothing I’m afraid. Nor will labelling me a hipster, which is lazy and very weak. Withering stuff there pal, back to school.

      • Don’t worry about it mate. Music can be hard to understand! I’m sure there’s lots of other things you’re good at?

      • Thanks for reading! Not much to understand about a track that is both plain and coasts off of those who still try and have a Paul Weller/Ian Brown haircut, but glad you’ve enjoyed a nostalgia-bait track with writing as dull as Gallagher himself.

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