Thursday, November 30, 2023
HomeMusicNoel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Pretty Boy (Robert Smith Remix) Review

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Pretty Boy (Robert Smith Remix) Review

Offering up some well-needed help to the Oasis and High Flying Birds frontman, Robert Smith of The Cure is on hand to remix a track that, in its original state, is passably fine. Noel Gallagher is good at that. He makes fine tracks for fine people and is seemingly content with the former, especially when the latter fans are too. Pretty Boy was an acceptable song that utilised Johnny Marr when a session musician would do. But those are what Manchester roots provide. Smith takes to Pretty Boy as best he can and offers up a change of pace to a track that never truly had one or an identifiable impression. Still, Pretty Boy (Robert Smith Remix) will do little for the lacking hyphen in “high-flying” and less for the density of the Council Skies single.  

Unfortunately those withering, electronic-clad vocals from Gallagher are still there. At least Smith adds more spacing between them. If anything, that just highlights the manipulation made in the studio. Not quite needing to be bathed in autotune support, Gallagher’s lack of faith in his own vocal range is startling. Pretty Boy is still a highlight of that but The Cure’s drummer, Jason Cooper, gives a nice drum track to switch out a forgettable original. This Robert Smith remix gives more placement to the space between lyrics, the intention of them and the image they create. Dragging that out with smooth instrumentals and acceptable positioning, reframing and execution of the Gallagher track makes the best of a bad situation. 

Elongated and just shy of six minutes, Smith turns his focus to the instrumentals. A guitar solo that is as stilted as ever comes through with no shining beauty but eventually underscores the desperation of needing satisfaction from someone else. That much is clear in the laments and ballad-like production the acoustic inclusions make. Barely audible but nicely mixed in there, backed by plain lyrics that are as broad and hollow as they often are for Gallagher. Smith cannot do much to fight against that but his mixture serves of a similar quality to the original. Considering that the low bar is vaulted almost immediately, it is hard to see where Smith can improve beyond that. A remix that slows things down a bit but still has to deal with the meddlesome background fodder of Pretty Boy, a track that already sounded as though it were ripping off late-stage Cure songs.

For an original that may as well have enlisted an unnamed local guitarist, the improvements made to Pretty Boy under the hands of Smith are minimal but acceptable. Very hard to get excited about. But that has been the case for Gallagher with or without a remix for some time. Pretty Boy puts its head down and never looks up. Not even a remix from the man who rattled out Pornography and Disintegration can fix that. Little of note, but moments of real care form themselves throughout this Smith remix, one that feels somewhat nostalgic for the days of B-Sides and bonus tracks. Gallagher proves he is living in his stripped-back past with the singles from Council Skies, and this does nothing to help him.  

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. Your twat mate you obviously know nothing sat there slating an absolute legend who has inspired thousands of people throughout the world wrote the soundtracks to a whole generation who have you ever inspired and were are all you songs you bitter jumped up tosser

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