The relationship of Liam and Noel Gallagher is Manchester's second most famous soap opera. What do their lyrics tell us about their clash?by Nicholas Blincoe, Robert Blincoe / December 11, 2017 / Leave a comment
The toxic relationship between Noel and Liam Gallagher is Manchester’s second greatest Soap Opera, and in many ways more thrilling, funny and cringe-worthy than anything seen on Coronation Street.
As an older brother, however, I find there is something a little too close to home about their relationship. I spent two decades looking for ways to wind up my little brother, Robert, sixteen months younger than me.
If I never came up with a line quite as funny as Noel’s, “He’s a man with a fork in a world of soup,” I always stole his favourite telly chair when he went to the loo, and circled his teenage spots with magic marker.
So, when Robert suggested applying data analysis to the Gallaghers’ relationship, I saw the possibilities: it offered an insight not just into the Gallaghers’ work, but into our sibling rivalry.
Noel wrote the vast majority of Oasis songs, and sang on twenty-six of the more than 130 tracks recorded by the band. This means he was willing to pick twenty-six fights with anyone ready to point out that his voice is characterless and his face looks unpleasantly peeved when in motion.
As an older brother, I appreciate Noel’s willingness to provoke a fight in the most roundabout and passive-aggressive manner possible.
The figures suggest that in some way the remaining 100+ songs—more than 80 per cent of the Oasis output—were ‘meant’ for Liam. At a poetic level, the story of Oasis is that Noel found his muse in his brother. Noel wrote lyrics that only a Rock ‘n Roll star could get away with, and Liam thrillingly rose to the challenge.
What does an Oasis song sound like?
The data analysis shows the Oasis template has survived from the days of the band into the solo work by both brothers.
There is a formula, a minimal set of lyrics augmented with lots of “lah-lahs”, lots of “gonnas” and “wannas” to express the restless rock ‘n’ roll spirit, with “love,” “soul,” “spirit” and “world” featuring prominently as ambitions.
They are brothers, and the songs bear this out: they are far more similar than different.