Foo Fighters and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are currently in a neck-and-neck race to reach the Number One spot on the UK album charts this week.
Both acts released their latest LPs — ‘But Here We Are’ and ‘Council Skies’ — last Friday (June 2) and as it stands, it is too close to call which one will reach the peak position on the Official Album Chart by the end of this week.
Currently at the midweek mark, Noel Gallagher has surpassed the American rockers and stands as the UK’s best-selling album with his fourth solo album with High Flying Birds. That being said, the two remain almost neck and neck, as just 200 units separate them from first and second position.
The victory would no doubt mark an important milestone for Foo Fighters, as ‘But Here We Are’ marks their first full-length LP since the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins in March last year. It would also mean that the rock veterans would have six chart-topping albums to their name — the most recent one so far is 2021’s ‘Medicine At Midnight’.
However, if the current chart ranking remains the same — meaning ‘Council Skies’ would claim the Number One spot by the end of the week — it would extend the singer-songwriter’s record of 10 consecutive Number One albums. This includes his work as part of Oasis and as part of his solo endeavour, meaning that every album he has ever released reached the peak position.
Other new entries set to complete the Top Five by the end of this week include Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s latest studio album ‘Hana’, which quickly became the artist’s fifth album to make the Top 10, and Bob Dylan’s ‘Shadow Kingdom’ — the 40th LP from the music icon, comprised of re-recorded songs from his early discography.
Elsewhere, the remainder of the Top 10 is comprised of releases from the likes of Louise with her retrospective ‘Greatest Hits’ album, Jake Shears’ second LP since leaving Scissor Sisters ‘Last Man Standing’, and ‘Life Is But A Dream…’, the experimental new venture from American metal band Avenged Sevenfold.
Noel Gallagher recently discussed the making ‘Council Skies’ in a new interview with NME. Elaborating on the meaning behind the latest High Flying Birds album, he explained that the LP was written during a period of reflection
“You’d have to take the album on a track-by-track basis, really. If there’s one overriding word to describe it, it’s ‘reflective’. All the dreams I had growing up underneath the council skies sparked off a lot of things for me, but it was written in that god-awful period in lockdown,” he told NME.
“In isolation in those nine months where there was nothing to do, nowhere to go and no one to see. Everybody dealt with it personally differently. I came on to my own personal life, asking ‘How have I got here?’ It’s reflective more than anything about childhood.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the Brit-pop icon also revealed what he considers to be the “flaws” in each of the albums he has made – both with Oasis and solo with The High Flying Birds.
“Well I don’t like the sound of ‘Morning Glory’ at all,” he said. “The only album that is perfect would be ‘Definitely Maybe’. ‘Be Here Now’, the songs are too long. ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’, not enough good songs and a lot of filler on that. ‘Heathen Chemistry’ had a couple of good tunes: ‘Little By Little’ and ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’, the rest of it is a bit ‘meh’. ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ is pretty good, ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ kind of tails off towards the end. They’re all flawed in some way.”
Moving on to his solo work with The High Flying Birds, Gallagher continued: “The first one [self-titled] – ‘Stop The Clocks’, no chance, not having that. Second one [‘Chasing Yesterday’] – ‘The Mexican’, yeah, dreadful. ‘Who Built The Moon?’ – yeah, sonically it could do with a bit more work. With this one, yeah, the tracklisting is slightly skewed.
The new interview with NME also saw Gallagher discuss the making of his new album, working with Johnny Marr and The Cure‘s Robert Smith, his thoughts on the AI-generated Oasis album, Britpop reunions, Brexit Britain and his thoughts on modern rock and The 1975.
In a five-star review of ‘But Here We Are‘, NME hailed Foo Fighters’ new album as “a beautiful, noisy celebration of brotherhood and a stark, painful exploration of loss,” adding: “It is messy, gut-wrenching, ambitious and gorgeous, as the remaining members of Foo Fighters push themselves to their limits and beyond. Through it all, ‘But Here We Are’ is an undeniable reminder of the healing, unifying power of music.”
The band recently kicked off their 2023 comeback tour, with the band rumoured to be making a surprise appearance at Glastonbury 2023 as The Churnups while also teasing details of a “soon-to-be-announced” UK tour.