When Noel Gallagher speaks, people listen. The former Oasis member (who currently performs solo as High Flying Birds) wrote some of the most memorable, stadium-filling rock songs of the 1990s, but I’d say his finest achievements have been in a totally different kind of arena — the oratorical arena. During Oasis’ Brit-pop prime, the eternally bickering Gallagher brothers made enemies with just about every one of their contemporaries (including Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Blur’s Damon Albarn, basically every music journalist) with their frank — and frequently hilarious — opinions on music, politics, and the world at large.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Noel adds another impressive boost to his quotable interview resume. Reliably cranky yet surprisingly full of backhanded compliments, Gallagher gives love to Kanye West and electro-pop newcomers Disclosure and art-rock legend David Bowie, compliments half of the new Arctic Monkeys LP, and spews some hatred at Arcade Fire and their increasingly ornate costumes. (Clearly all you have to do when you interview this guy is mention a person’s name, step away slowly from your recording device, and let the magic brew.) Below, I’ve highlighted five of my favorite passages.
5. On Kanye, Yeezus, and the Splendor of Leather Jogging Pants
“I’m not really a fan of his or anything like that. I don’t really like that kind of modern hip-hop, whatever you call it. But somebody told me to watch this interview he did in England [with BBC DJ Zane Lowe], so I watched it, and I thought it was one of the best interviews I’ve ever seen. I fuckin’ loved it! Especially the bit about the leather jogging pants or whatever he’s going on about, fucking claiming he invented them.”
I love this so much. Gallagher doesn’t want to just say he likes Kanye (That would be too nice), so he prefaces his compliment with an insult. I also adore how he says “that kind of modern hip-hop, whatever you call it.” Is the “whatever” in reference to the abrasive, noisy brand of hip-hop found on Yeezus — or simply hip-hop itself? I also want to know more about his love of the “leather jogging pants” line. I can see Gallagher respecting such a lofty claim.
4. On The Anonymity of British Pop Radio
“And what else? There’s singles on British radio that I don’t know what they’re fucking called. I have no idea. I hear them when I’m getting my kids ready for school. As for what they’re called? Fuck knows.”
This is classic. Nobody bother Noel with remembering track titles — this really pisses him off. It seems like he has a hard time just liking things — “Yeah, this chocolate cake tastes great, but fuck off. I don’t know what it’s called!”
3. On “Blurred Lines” and Some Douche Named Robin Thicke
“I don’t mind it. It sounded good on the radio. Got a bit annoying after the five millionth time you’ve heard it. I think he’s going to be a one-hit wonder, surely. It’ll be like that guy who’s done ‘Gangnam Style’ – we’ll never hear from him again.”
Again, Noel: Don’t be embarrassed to like a funky pop song! This is just so great in so many ways: I like how the song sounds “good on the radio.” (I guess it would sound shitty coming out of a mid-level stereo system.) Also, the thought of Noel Gallagher listening to “Gangnam Style” is simply the best.
2. On Miley Ray Cyrus and “Desperate” Female Pop Artists
I think there’s a trend, unfortunately, in the game, at the minute, of girls desperately trying to be provocative or desperately trying to – in inverted commas – “start the debate” about some old shit or other. Because, really, they’re not very good. Do you know what I mean? We have it in England regularly, and you have it in the States. I feel bad for ‘em. It’s like, ‘Write a good song. Don’t make a provocative video – write a good fucking song. That’ll serve you better, I think.’ She was on TV recently, Miley Ray Cyrus, and it was just like, ‘What the fuck is all this about?’ I don’t know. 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.
Pretty self-explanatory. The “fucking grannies” line is particularly great, though — “This song is wonderful. I hate it.”
Also, since we’re talking about modern female pop artists, check out Mark Pursell’s amazing piece about that exact topic.
1. On Arcade Fire’s Costumed Concerts (Also: The Three Musketeers, Cheech and Chong, and Flying Saucers)
“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.
Slow-clap to infinity.
BONUS QUOTE: On Lady Gaga’s Art-Making Process
“In fact, she’s probably doing a shit on top of a boiled egg right now. And somebody will fucking freeze it and call it art.”