So the results/reviews are in, it’s out this week, and it would seem that, in general, most people concur with NME’s ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ album review, in that it’s… something of a success.
Oh sure, you’ve got The Guardian making the same tiresome old gag they’ve made about every Oasis-related release for the last decade – ie “They’ve gone experimental! NOT REALLY! It sounds like The Beatles!” – but in general the almost unanimous verdict seems to be: ‘Pretty good’. Fans around the world have also been further encouraged by footage of their first live sessions, which find Liam’s voice – the source of much criticism on Oasis messageboards – sounding great.
But anyway: it’s out there now for you to make up your own mind, and there’s been more than enough critics chucking in their threepenny’s worth. This post is intended solely to provide a bit more info you might not know about each of the 13 tracks and, though I’m sure the comments will descend into the usual “They’re shit/They aren’t shit” debate at the end, it would be good if fans could post any more snippets they’ve found in other interviews from around the world.
They do it with Radiohead albums, so why can’t we do it with Beady Eye albums?
Four Letter Word
Written by Andy, this is, according to an interview in Japanese magazine, Liam’s fave song on the album. According to a setlist leaked online, it is going to open not just the album, but the live set as well. First of many Stones doffs in the “blown a 50 amp fuse” lyric (from ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’).
Dates back to the Oasis days, most likely to the point in time that Noel referred to when he said that on first joining Oasis, Andy and Gem “both tried to write what they thought were Oasis songs were like.” Because this is by far the most Oasis-sounding tune on the album, in the vein of ‘Headshrinker’ or ‘Bring It On Down’ or ‘(I Got) The Fever’.
This Andy tune was going to be the first free download introduction to Beady Eye, until ‘Bring The Light’ appeared. Contains numerous lyrical nods to Salvador Dali: ‘Figures’ being his birthplace; ‘Cadaqués’ being where he discovered modern painting on a summer vacation with the family of his mentor Romon Pichot (also a good friend of Picasso).
So all-new turf for a vocal emanating from Liam’s mouth. Andy Bell formed Ride at Art College in the late-’80s, which is likely where he first came into contact with the work of “Sweet Salvador”. Has the honour of being the first song the world got to hear Beady Eye perform live. Listen below…
The first single is a Gem song, and dates back to ‘Heathen Chemistry’. It was his first song to be recorded by Oasis during their fifth album sessions, with Noel saying “it’s like T Rex doing ‘Instant Karma’, and Gem himself calling it “a campfire song”.
In an NME interview I did with Noel in the run up to ‘Dig Out Your Soul’, he mentioned that Gem “has got a couple of fucking great hit singles which we have never used, just because we missed the boat on ’em. He’s got a great one called ‘The Roller’ from years ago.” The stoned glam stomp on display here was a big feature of Heavy Stereo, as you can hear below.
Beatles & Stones
Enter Liam’s first contribution to the writing, and the first song from the album to leak thanks to a Finnish radio station. As pretty much every single review has pointed out, nicks the riff from ‘My Generation’, and contains the line “I’m gonna stand the test of time like Beatles & Stones.” Along with ‘Morning Son’, this one was mentioned as far back as 2009, in an interview Liam did while promoting Pretty Green in Italy.
Wind Up Dream
Gem’s second contribution, and his second oldest, too. Features a Güiro, a percussion instrument also used on the Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’.
Bring The Light
Beady Eye are not particularly known for their love of new bands, but one modern combo they do all agree on is The Jim Jones Revue, whose drummer used to be in Heavy Stereo. Gem and the rest of his current band have all been along to see a few of the JJR’s London shows – Liam told me he thought it was “music for driving off cliffs to” – and have been impressed by the wild rock’n’roll that they saw.
The Jerry Lee Lewis piano and the primal drums of Beady Eye’s introduction to the world undoubtedly stemmed from them: this is Liam’s song, and was the last tune to be written for ‘Different Gear, Still Speedin’.
This lovely little tune is essentially The La’s ‘There She Goes’ crossed with the Beatles ‘I’ll Follow The Sun’, which is handy being as Chris Sharrock actually played drums on the recorded version of Lee Mavers’ most famous song.
Kill For A Dream
This is another one that was likely discarded in the pile previously marked by Noel as “sounds too much like Oasis”. Andy songs as picked by Noel for Oasis albums were often oddities (‘A Quick Peep’, ‘The Nature Of Reality’). but his lighters-in-the-air moment here bears all the hallmarks of his former boss (‘Little By Little’ in particular).
Standing On The Edge Of The Noise
Another Gem song (a good rule of thumb is: if it’s glam-stomp, it’s Gem), this one had it’s chorus tweeted by Liam in November of last year. Prior to that, though, as you can see above, it provided the title of a one-off Oasis TV special back in 2008, and dates back to that period (in the same way the also-unreleased ‘Stop The Clocks’ lent its title to the ‘Best Of’ in 2006).
The title of Liam’s psychedelic stroller likely comes from “Wigwam/Frightened of the dark” line in ‘Hey Bulldog’. Asked what it’s about, he said to the Daily Record: “Fuck knows, I haven’t got a clue, man. That’s words, that’s all, that I think sort of go together. There’s a bit of something… people might see it as being a bit of beating up someone on the booze a bit. But it’s nothing to do with a wigwam. Or as some Japanese girl said the other day, ‘What is it about, a man with a wig?’”
Three Ring Circus
The second newest song on the album (behind ‘Bring The Light’) is Gem’s. “I finished writing the lyrics at 11,” he said to NME last week, “Liam came round at 12 to record his vocal… so don’t say they’re the worst lyrics on the album!”
More than one poster on the message boards has pointed out similarities between this and Australian band You Am I’s ‘Wally Raffles’. Liam once enthused of said band: “They’re so fuckin’ good, I want to put ’em on me mantelpiece!”
The Beat Goes On
Andy Bell’s ELO-esque dreamy pop song has some of the most out-there lyrics on ‘DGSS’, being as it is a tale of dying and ending up going to a literal “gig in the sky”, where “the Ox and the Moon were counting me in” (as in Keith Moon and John Entwistle).
The Morning Son
…and it all ends with this dreamy Liam ballad, which he mentioned along with ‘Beatles & Stones’ back in 2009.
Listen to Beady Eye, ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ via We7: