Liam Gallagher, front-man and one half of famous brothers in Oasis is once again singing fantastic songs, each co-written with a couple of prolific and talented songwriters. Super-producer Greg Kurstin and songwriters Andrew Wyatt and Michael Tighe have continued penning songs, while LA indie rocker Damon McMahon has teamed up on a couple of tracks. Liam co-wrote every song on this record and in my opinion is a more distinctive and memorable album than his debut 2017 As You Were. The overlying theme throughout the album is nostalgia; Gallagher even timed its release with the career-spanning documentary As It Was, a reflective look on his past and bitter breakup with Oasis.
The record opens with the first single lifted from the album Shockwave. It features a massive sound of guitars and Liam’s trademark vocals, with Kurstin playing multiple instruments, while Gallagher advises against making pretty beds and backstabbing friends. The bruised ballad One Of Us, with sing-song choruses and ripping acoustic guitar has Liam plead to an estranged loved one who is in many ways a Gallagher-by-numbers. At the halfway mark, the song slips into a pretty swelling strings and a gospel choir lamenting, “It’s a shame / we thought you’d change”.
The sombre melody of Once Gallagher sounds somewhat astute, “I think it’s true what they say that the dream is borrowed / you give it back tomorrow.” The song drifts deliciously close to “cosmic pop”, the phrase Liam has used to slag off his brother Noel’s more experimental solo material.
The hopeful and feel-good vibe of Now That I’ve Found You is a story of a relationship. This story is told through enjoyable helpings of joyous, carefree Britpop, and an enticing chorus of something that could be from the Beatles catalogue. Halo is a classic song that is reminiscent of an amped-up Beady Eye / Oasis vibe, with Liam sounding his most level-headed and prominent.
Why Me? Why Not has links to John Lennon and the song soars and is introspective and laid back. The album’s title Why Me? Why Not, is taken from the titles of two different Lennon drawings, which Liam describes as “a groovy stomper with a searing riff”. Be Still switches to solid driving rock with Gallagher’s brilliance seeming effortless. Alright Now has powerful, reflective verses and lyrics that listeners will once again associate with the estranged relationship between music’s most famous siblings.
Meadow, floating psychedelic and mesmeric chords showcase a more subtle side. In contrast, the thumping glam blues of The River finds Gallagher in cheeky mood, expelling an unmistakable attitude and a disapproval of celebrity culture. Delivering a striking close the record finishes with Gone, a sparkling finale complete with a delicate strings arrangement. Liam sings “Oh I used to go away and come back another day, but now I don’t know how long I’m gonna be gone.”
As one of the greatest front-men in rock, Liam Gallagher has come a long way with his solo music. In summary this record is a triumph with Why Me? Why Not.
Album Review By David Kerr