Liam Gallagher seems to be simultaneously stuck in the past and optimistic about the future. His insistence on staying true to his rock n’ roll roots ironically coincides with the expectation that him and his brother Noel will never reunite under the Oasis moniker. Liam has a tendency to hold grudges, and it’s honestly a shame. Their juvenile bickering has been at the expense of poignant songwriting and power-rock anthems.
Quarrels aside, both Noel and Liam had quite the rapport when it came to stringing together iconic ballads. Noel’s knack for stringing together personal anecdotes as direct emulations of the 1990s rockstar lifestyle uniquely coincided with Liam’s uber-conifdent vocal inflections, and downright cocky personality. Despite their differences, Oasis embodied the rebellious lifestyle-which is why they garnered so much acclaim outside of the UK.
Since then, Liam has settled into his role as a solo recorder, finding ways to improve the songwriting without the aid of his longtime companion. His 2017 album, As You Were presented itself as a safe body of work filled with empty bouts about self-fulfillment; ideas that appeared dis-ingenious due to his buoyant personality in the media. For the first time his career, Liam’s music wasn’t reflecting his self-absorbed image (which is what made him so popular in the first place).
Thankfully, there is a hint of personal contemplation on his newest body of work, Why Me? Why Not. Even the title suggests a return to form for the provocateur. Right off the bat, “Shockwave” hits you like, well, a shockwave. There’s a sense of urgency within the track’s initial guitar line that harkens back to the Be Here Now days. Gallagher’s lyrics propose a rebellious attitude revolving around his brother’s actions and the industry in general-“the lights are on me/They tried to keep me locked away/But, hallelujah, I feel free.” There’s a twinge of Black Keys sprinkled somewhere along the uptempo percussion arrangements as well; like the “Gold on the Ceiling” era.
Surprisingly, much of the project focuses on Gallagher’s transition into fatherhood and mid-life ambitions (or lack thereof). “Now That I’ve Found You” may be his most fascinating epiphany since becoming a solo artist. In 2018, the 46 year-old finally met his estranged daughter Molly Moorish-to whom the song is dedicated too. He details the account, as well as his feelings toward the situation through lyrics like, “from the roots, we’ll watch love rise/Heaven knows how it goes.” By the time its heartfelt chorus hits, Gallagher seems to have finally reached a place of contentment. He’s still addressing the public with a brass tone-even if there is a sense of gratification sprinkled within the lyrics. He’s not sacrificing his personality in the process, which is admirable.
It should be noted that most of Why Me? Why Not is co-written by Andrew Wyatt and Greg Kurstin, two guys who excel in descriptive, and sometimes metaphorical songwriting (just listen to Lorde’s “Perfect Places”-written by Wyatt as well). Some of that influence is sporadically injected within Gallagher’s own ambitions. “The River’s” uptempo marching band-inspired electric guitar-playing swiftly operates as a platform for Gallagher’s own apocalyptic progressions (Well, the walls are closing in/An your head’s in constant spin/And the pain in your eyes, I do comprehend”). Gallagher speaks in a more general sense of society’s ales, rather than specifically provide a detailed account of personal upheaval.
Sometimes, his generalities can bog down an album filled with constant self-reflection. The title track is another example of one-note commands for “finding one’s true passion.” It sounds like a song a beginner artist would write. “Alright Now” is a better illustration of someone who’s reached an attitude of self-actualization-“”Yeah, you never said what you really meant, did you think that it would stop?/But baby it’s alright now.” His high profile and historically controversial statements have somehow been masked by a strong sense of complacency-a complete left turn compared to past endeavors. Sometimes that can work against certain artists at his age; but for a guy who loves to instigate-the subdued tone is a nice change of pace.