By 2017, we found ourselves in the precarious position of getting to know what the former Oasis penman and rock n’ roll crusader, Noel Gallagher, had gotten off on on a more intimate level through each subsequent album he released, now, with his solo High Flying Birds. ‘Who Built the Moon?’ continues this trend in what is perhaps the boldest step of which to date. It also feels the most dreamlike of his solo project’s albums to date, which is of course not by accident. Just like a dream, we can experience several different emotional circumstances simultaneously.
‘Fort Knox’ kicks the album off with an almost Kanye West-esque vibe working its way out in the center. And if you find no compatibility between the always eccentric West and the always snot-nosed Gallagher, then West wasted his time recording his magnum opus, 2010’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. For if there was one lesson to that album it was that rock n’ roll is hip hop is hip hop is rock n’ roll. Thank God rock n’ roll didn’t die for nothing. The following track, ‘Holy Mountain’, is without question the most bombastic song Gallagher has recorded to date. “Dance dance, if you do that dance/I’m gonna let you join my one-man band/Be my doll, be my baby doll/Come get to know me like the back of your hand”, well, I’ll be damned. It’s a certified rock n’ roll religious sermon!
But it doesn’t stop there, my friends. As we make our way further through the bulk of the album, Gallagher doesn’t let up. And if you don’t believe that ‘She Taught How Me to Fly’, you’re either too young or too much of a sucker and missed out on the heart of the matter, dude. “So put your money where your mouth is/If you know where to draw the line/Doesn’t matter what your name is/I see you ’round all the time”, yes! And if you’ve ever had that intimate attachment with a person, then you know well enough about the power of the embrace over a botched speech, typically on the part of a schlubby male. But those are the moments that Gallagher is married to, and you can tell he feels what he writes. He’s no wannabe. These are lyrics that are filled to the brim with the romance of being alive. When you feel it, you’ll know it.
The album’s ending is something truly remarkable as well. It comes in three stages. First, ‘If Love is the Law’ finds the strength to carry on after the end of romance. “Memories/Forever set in stone/When all is said and done/They’re just like the fallen leaves/They’re together in your head/But the sun’s about to set”, but the sonic structure of the song leaves you feeling that you’ve won all the same. And guess what? You have. Or at least, that’s what the album aims to tell you. Because after part two of the ending, ‘The Man Who Built the Moon’, reveals itself as the definitive mood piece of the album, the album closes brilliantly with an instrumental piece entitled ‘End Credits (Wednesday Part 2)’, which shows that all of these remarkable emotions and feelings that you were just exposed to were never the result of any outstanding circumstances, they were just the roller coaster ride of an average Wednesday of any week of your life. And how prescient is that? Any time can be marvelous if you live it that way; life, it turns out, is usually about as rewarding as we make up our minds it’s going to be. And, well, if that ain’t life, goddamn it, at least maybe it’s art. And to the extent of which life imitates art, I’ll sign my name on the dotted line.