Noel Gallagher doesn’t think Harry Styles is a “real” musician

The Oasis frontman is back at it again taking digs at Styles’ legitimacy as a songwriter.

Getty Images/Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC; Kevin Mazur

Some aging rock icons just can’t sit back on their contributions to society and rest on their enduring cool factor; they feel the need to come for the younger generation taking their pop culture places. We saw it earlier this year when Blur frontman, Damon Albarn, inaccurately alleged that Taylor Swift doesn’t write her own songs. Albarn eventually apologized, but his fumble hasn’t deterred another rocker of similar infamy from entering the chat. Oasis guitarist and vocalist Noel Gallagher apparently decided Harry Styles should now be in the cross hairs of generational beef, insinuating that the pop star doesn’t write songs and isn’t a “real” musician.

In an interview with Absolute Radio, as per the Daily Star, the frontman argued of the competition show that launched Styles’s career, “The X Factor is a TV show, it’s got nothing to do with music, it’s got nothing to do with music whatsoever, and anything that has come from that, that’s got nothing to do with music.” One of rock’s most legendary songwriters taking issue with musical reality TV that delivers a lot of shlock isn’t shocking — but Gallagher’s statement was an indirect dig at Styles, the most famous contender to come out of the X Factor after Simon Cowell assembled One Direction on the show.

When pressed on the matter, Gallagher leaned on stereotypes of hot, young boy banders. “You’re not telling me Harry Styles is currently in a room somewhere writing a song,” he said. “With any joy, he’ll be surrounded by a lot of girls. I can assure you he’s not got an acoustic guitar out trying to write a middle eight for something.” Perhaps the “Watermelon Sugar” crooner has courted a reputation for being a ladies’ man by way of his own content, but therein lies the point: It’s a mystique conjured by Styles’s own songwriting. As The A.V. Club pointed out, Styles has a songwriting credit on everything he’s put out since becoming a solo artist, mostly collaborating with Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson.

Styles also has songwriting credentials from his time with One Direction. It would seem that it’s perhaps the quality of Styles’s creations that Gallagher has an issue with — but not only is that subjective, but society at large would also beg to differ. Maybe the Oasis musician just got caught up in a Champagne Supernova and spoke out of turn. But knowing Noel Gallagher, he likely doesn’t give a damn whether he’s wrong or not.

In fact, this wasn’t the first time Gallagher has shared his negative opinion of Styles. In 2017, he told Absolute Radio, “People of my age have let themselves go, they’re fat, balding idiots with fading tattoos. They sit in their garage and write shite like ‘Sign of the Times’ for Harry Styles. Which, quite frankly, my cat could have written in about 10 minutes!”

Gallagher’s fixation with Styles might be feeding off of his long-standing quarrel with his brother and fellow Oasis frontman, Liam Gallagher. Liam shared his thoughts on Styles’s music in 2017 as well. “I don’t mind it, man. There’s some interesting bits in it,” he told NME. “I mean, I don’t know how it fucking goes, but fair play to him. I’m sure, like, it’s a bigger fucking cost. I’ve got the weight of Oasis still hanging over me and I’m sure I’ll always be that guy from Oasis, so I’m sure he’s carrying an equal weight. If he wants to get out of that pop world and into something with a bit more substance I think that’s a good thing.” So perhaps Noel is just being contrarian to serve a band-ending rift.

Styles is unlikely to be phased by the infamously crotchety singer, though. He astutely defended his fanbase to Rolling Stone in 2017 saying, “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music — short for popular, right? — have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts...Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans — they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.” And with that, Styles certainly gets the last word.