Noel Gallagher @ GQ Men Of The Year Awards

Here’s how former Oasis co-leader Noel Gallagher describes his own personal 2013: “Fucking had a shit year. All I’ve done is sit around the house and become a fucking hypochondriac. Dog-shit year. Can’t wait until it’s over.” But Gallagher also has something to say about the year in music, and he’s said them in similarly quotable fashion. Let’s dive in.

The biggest surprise, perhaps, is that Gallagher, never previously a Kanye West fan (and previously a vocal detractor of the idea of a rapper headlining Glastonbury) loves Yeezus, telling Rolling Stone, “It’s fucking great. I really like it. Particularly ['Black Skinhead'] – it’s fucking out there, do you know what I mean? It’s got a great low-fi, punk vibe to it.” Gallagher also has nice things to say about David Bowie’s The Next Day (“nobody has the right to be that fucking good at this point in their career”), Disclosure’s Settle (“it’s got a really old-school fucking acid house vibe to it, which I really fucking like”), and half of Arctic Monkeys’ AM. He also says that he’s “not interested” in Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories but that “Get Lucky” is “so effortless and brilliant and now.”

Gallagher is not as charitable in discussing Arcade Fire’s Reflektor:

Did you hear Arcade Fire’s new album?
I haven’t heard it. Anybody that comes back with a double album, to me, needs to pry themselves out of their own asshole. This is not the Seventies, okay? Go and ask Billy Corgan about a double album. Who has the fucking time, in 2013, to sit through 45 minutes of a single album? How arrogant are these people to think that you’ve got an hour and a half to listen to a fucking record?

Did you see that they’ve asked people to wear formal wear or costumes at their shows?
[Sighs] Well, what’s the point of that? Do you know what the point of that is? That is to take away from the shit disco that’s coming out of the speakers. Because everybody’s dressed as one of the Three Musketeers on acid. “What was the gig like?” “I don’t know, everyone was dressed as a teddy bear in the Seventies.” “Yeah, but what was the gig like?” “Ah, fuck knows, man, I have no idea. I was dressed as a flying saucer.” “Yeah, but what was the gig like?” “Fuck knows. I don’t know. Seen Cheech and Chong, there, though.” Not for me.’

You know Bowie sings backup on one of Arcade Fire’s new songs, right?
Oh, that’s a shame.

He also has hot fire for Miley Cyrus and for Lady Gaga. The best part of the whole interview is probably where he describes the pop-star arms race for attention: “I could go to the Rolling Stone office and fucking shit on top of a boiled egg, right? And people would go, ’Wow, fucking hell, that’s outrageous!’ But is it any good? No, because, essentially, it’s just a shit on top of a boiled egg. That’s all it is.” Really, the whole interview is generally amazing, in a foulmouthed drunk-uncle sort of way, and you can (and should) read it here.

Comments (67)
  1. Say what you will about the man, but he has always been a hilarious interview.

    • I wish someone would make an edit of Live Forever that only included the interviews with Noel and Liam

      • My favorite part of that movie is when all the interviewed musicians are talking about The Stone Roses’ 1990 Spike Island concert, and how it felt like there was something magical in the air at that show, a landmark moment signaling a sea change in youth culture at the time. And then the camera cuts to Noel, who says: “It was a shit gig.” My buddy and I have been laughing about that for years now.

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  3. “I could go to the Rolling Stone office and fucking shit on top of a boiled egg, right” a perfect caption for that picture

  4. “Miley Ray Cyrus”

  5. Also: I’ve never understood how someone as funny as Noel could write lyrics as banal as those of every Oasis song. Can you imagine how good his stuff would be if his lyrics sounded the way he talks?

    • As a recovering Oasis fan who now mostly enjoys just reading Noel interviews, I agree. Though he does occasionally pepper in a good line amongst all the ’60s psychadelic nonsense. “You said the brains I had went to my head,” for instance.

    • I don’t know, I still love the first two Oasis albums plus the Masterplan, and the man can write a great melody. Some of the lyrics are silly, but Liam’s voice on those records really sells them, and he does have a way of slipping a great line in there.

    • If I could up vote a million times, I would.

    • He seems to think lyrics are a vehicle for melody and not that important, and a lot of his lyrics are utter crap. However, he has the ability to slip in some lines that are as good as the very best lyricists. “Damn my education/I can’t find the words to say for the things stuck in my mind” jumps out at me for emotional impact. And Supersonic is just the best.

    • Lyrics on Definitely Maybe are actually alright. “Cigarettes and Alcohol” and “Live Forever” are standouts in that respect. And then there’s “Digsy’s Dinner”…

    • He’s got some of the best lyrics. I’m guessing you’re only familiar with the American Singles…

      Married With Children
      Some Might Say
      D’You Know What I Mean etc…

  6. If he dies, public Yeezus praises are a rock star’s death knell

  7. I don’t have any problems with listening to a 45 minute album. If I can listen to Come On, Feel the Illinoise all the way through, Reflektor isn’t any problem.

  8. I almost spit out my water reading the “shit on a boiled egg” line and then continuing to talk about Arcade Fire and Gaga. If he did a standup comedy tour, I would most definitely go. Never ever skip over an interview by a Gallagher brother.

  9. I will now call everything “effortless and brilliant and now” until people get really really annoyed.

  10. I don’t agree with him on Reflektor, but that shit was hilarious. The guy’s always been a riot. Also, skimming through the FB comments, I’ve noticed people are real assholes. It’s gross how catty some can get when something they like gets criticized – even when the criticism is weaved in exaggerated humor. It’s okay if you don’t agree with him, but it’s probably better to just say “okay” and move on instead of telling to “fuck off” because you think he’s a “has-been.”

  11. Noel bashing Reflektor is funny because this is the guy who released Be Here Now.

  12. His commentary on the Miley ‘Ray’ Cyruses of the pop world was very much on point.

  13. Gallagher’s cool.

  14. I’m amazed at how much Oasis hate has waned. Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder.

  15. Noel is so right! This is why I don’t watch movies. Ever. Two whole hours? Fuck off.

  16. Reflektor is garbage. Its bloated, bland, and boring. So glad that Noel Gallagher out of any celebrity was the voice of reason here.

    • I agree. I don’t think it’s a bad album. But it’s nothing special, and the lyrics with their rhyming meaninglessness are just ridiculous.

    • Aaron Cunningham  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2013 0

      Richard: I don’t agree at all, but that’s irrelevant. He wasn’t commenting on the quality of the album. He said he hadn’t heard it. I’m not sure how that makes him the voice of reason. He has an uninformed opinion that he was willing to express publicly. I’m pretty sure that makes him the voice of asshole.

  17. I don’t like Reflektor, but my problem is more with the songwriting than the length. And, as someone said, Oasis were no strangers to bloat, either – Be Here Now was a pompous disaster, and even a lot of their best songs go on repeating the chorus at the end for about a minute longer than necessary (imagine how much better “Slide Away” would be if it were a minute shorter).

    • You should have left the comment off with BHN. That album is crazy long. “Slide Away” is a perfect length. Nearly their best song.

      • See, for me a lot of their best songs are still hurt by that – “Acquiescence” does it, too. Great song, but there are definitely a few too many “because we neeeeeeeeds” in there, just like I think they should lay off the last few “slide awaaaaaaayyyys”.

  18. Also, the Corgan reference was funny, since they occupy similar roles these days – 90s alt-giants who now give far better interviews than th emusic they make. Though SP crushed Oasis hard.

  19. best thing i read today

  20. My favorite part of the interview comes off at the end:
    “Would your new material still be released under the High Flying Birds name?
    I don’t know if I’m going to keep that name or not. Probably will, it’s such a fucking good name. I might change the Noel Gallagher bit – call it “Paul McCartney’s High Flying Birds” and see if I sell any more tickets in America. [Laughs]“

  21. This is fucking mega.

  22. I loved the part where he recommended Disclosure to the journalist as if he had discovered something amazing (oh fuck it – I loved all of it!)

  23. on miley cyrus: “It’s a shame, because it puts all the other female artists back about fucking five years. Now, Adele and Emili Sande – that music, to me, is like music for fucking grannies, but at least it’s got some kind of credibility.”

    ooh wow, love this interview.

  24. waaa! hating on arcade fire making a long album, when David Bowie’s The Next Day album was longer and dare arcade fire do some thing different for each album. I seen arcade fire and Noel Gallagher live. i had more fun at Arcade fire gig because they did not just standing around. I love Noel Gallagher but he can be so sample minded, there did not make the album for you. Arcade fire is trying not to be a rock band stereotype. lets say Noel Gallagher is a rock star stereotype.

  25. Just to clarify, he didn’t listen to the album. Right? Ok, enough said.

  26. “I heard that fucking Radiohead record and I just go, ’What?!’ I like to think that what we do, we do fucking well. Them writing a song about a fucking tree? Give me a fucking break! A thousand year old tree? Go fuck yourself! You’d have thought he’d have written a song about a modern tree or one that was planted last week. You know what I mean?”–Noel Gallagher (or was it his brother? It doesn’t matter they’re both morons)

  27. As much as he is an idiot, he’s a fun interview. He’s the Karl Pilkington of pop music.

  28. He’s still the man. “That is to take away from the shit disco that’s coming out of the speakers.” Hilarious (and accurate).

  29. My favorite album this year is 75 minutes long but this guy…this guy is hilarious! Endlessly quotable.

  30. Uhhh I guess hes honest, speaks his mind and is kinda funny and not the annoying prick his brother is but I still find his opinions just really uuuurgh and I dislike his music and Oasis’. How can you dislike an album you haven’t even heard? OK so Reflektor ain’t a masterpiece but its pretty great really, I dunno this kind of cynicism and negativity just really annoys me I like the whole dressing up to Arcade Fire gigs thing. Just enjoy shit Noel and enjoy music that isn’t 60s, 70S british rock music, HAHAHA SEE WHAT I DID THERE I SAID THE 70S!!!!

  31. Even though he hasn’t listened to the album, Gallagher’s right! Reflektor sucks. ARcade Fire took a shit in our mouths and called it a sundae and everyone said it was delicious.

  32. i honestly think, although the last two or three oasis records are far from classic, and noel’s side project is really only passively enjoyable, he’s always had a great ear for good music, regardless of who he borrows from to make his own. i still love those first few classic oasis records. noel’s funny, a brilliant interview, and it’s nice to see he’s softened a bit in his old age.

    and from the guy who wrote some of my favorite songs ever, he’s right: 2013 should’ve been arcade fire’s year, but it wasn’t. they marketed their record poorly, they pissed off business owners with their graffiti and their fans with dress codes, and to top it all off, they put out a double album that was only half-good. apologists can’t rightfully say this is another classic album. guys, there’s no harm in saying reflektor is a bit of a misstep.

    • too right. I’ve always thought Gallagher to be a bit of a social climber. He shows respect to the gods, and spits on nearly everybody else, meanwhile he thinks way too much of himself and his band. He wrote some great hits, but he was no great musician.

      Arcade Fire is same thing. They have a good product, but they are not great musicians and it shows on Reflektor.

      • “This is indie-band boilerplate, obviously: The whole idea is that it’s an art-minded, anti-commercial genre. The irony is that this is less and less how it looks to its audience. A robust machine of online press, publicity, and fan chatter—you can read more about Shields, from blog reviews to the Times, than you could about some platinum-selling pop-chart regulars—does the same thing 24-hour cable news does for politics, wrapping every event in a narrative so quickly that it’s hard to imagine musicians, who are reading the same Internet as everyone else, aren’t reacting to it.”

        Here’s the thing. Arcade Fire is straddling two worlds. If they can crossover they will be heroes and villains. But what they are doing right now is worse: they are making music that’s interesting but UNPROFESSIONAL. They are not writing decent lyrics that measure up to the music, or the cred, or the attention, or the creaming in mouths. Sara Bareilles could take a dump that would be better written than a Arcade Fire Reflektor-era “how now/brown cow?/ go to town/ in a gown”-type lyric.

        They’re shitting in our mouths and telling us it tastes great, and yet the emperor is wearing no clothes: for a band that is trying to keep one foot in the indie world and the other in the mainstream world they’ve left their third leg/third blind eye/ dripping nose in some strange other dimension where it doesn’t register at all. What am I talking about? I am talking about the artistic sense of quality and professionalism.

        Indie is supposed to be about the art, mainstream about the money. But they have in common that they both do a professional and excellent job on their work. Nothing about Reflketor as an idea and a lyrical experience qualifies as professional or excellent.

  33. If you think about it: “Flashbulb Thighs” would be a cooler lyrics and title for that song. Thighs can be very white, and somewhat bulbous, fast and bulbous. And when they are very white and very bulbous, if you “flash” them at someone, it can literally be like a “flash” of a camera. But also metaphorically they are like flashes, b/c so bright.

  34. Always appreciate the irony of any Gallagher accusing another band of being overrated.

  35. Fact: The worst, cast-off Arcade Fire song is better than the best Oasis pile of derivative, unimaginative bile. Go listen to an Oasis song. They have not aged well.

    • I agree. Ironically though Arcade Fire has really gone Noel Gallagher lyrically on this new album. Just inevitable obvious rhyming that sort of fits some general vague meaning and sounds silly…it’s really a ripoff of the Oasis style.

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