Album Review: Liam Gallagher- Why Me? Why Not. (2019)

  • Originally posted on September 20, 2019

Liam Gallagher’s first solo album was nothing short of a resounding success. ‘As You Were’ (2017) went platinum, and helped instigate a ressurection for a figure which many had believed to be left behind in the 1990s. The bad brother of Oasis was suddenly top of the game again. Could anything have topped ‘Wall Of Glass’?

Did anything need to? ‘Shockwave’, ‘Why Me? Why Not’’s lead single, certainly plays on some of the sounds of ‘Wall Of Glass’ but doesn’t have quite the same catchiness. One can’t help but compare Liam’s music to Noel’s, however; and Noel’s dodgy dad disco music (‘Black Star Dancing’ would have been considered an embarassment in 1978) makes Liam look like an Ivor Novello — worthy writer (which also he is not). Comparisons continued, though, ‘One Of Us’ sounds like it could easily have been taken from High Flying Birds’ 2011 self-titled debut. Far more indie than what he has previously been credited for, in my opinion it is the strongest single of the album. The lines ‘you said we’d live forever’ also hints at a strong dig at Noel’s decision to abandon the band a decade ago, and has been described as an embarassing attempt to try and urge him to reform ‘Oasis’. Liam seems to be happy to be free from Noel; and quite simply, I would agree. Oasis is the past.

A particularly snobbish Guardian review of this album suggests that it is nothing new from Liam. While it praises him for knowing his target audience (‘teenagers with 1990s nostalgia, middle-aged men with rose-tinted glasses’), it does so in a way which portrays his fans as stupid. Fuck off, Guardian. Not everything has to be deep, thought-provoking and groundbreaking. Liam Gallagher is a master of uplifting pop-rock music. Sometimes we just want something fun and slightly old-fashioned to listen to (certainly, ‘Now That I’ve Found You’ could have been ripped off of an earlier Oasis record), and just enjoy ourselves. Honestly, Liam Gallagher could do anything, and yet certain people would still find a way to find a fault with him.

Whilst I agree that this album adds absolutely nothing new to the world, it is still a strong effort from LG. The title track sounds extremely similar to a previous song in his collection, ‘Bold’, yet is still enjoyable. The seventh song on the album, ‘Be Still’ is a nostalgia-driven song about love. Another single, ‘The River’ is possibly the catchiest song on the album. This is a song calling on the new generation to stand up for themselves and protest; telling us to look beyond what we are fed by our technology and ‘money-sucking MPs’ and think for ourselves. This perhaps shows Liam to actually be truly in touch with my generation: he’s got sympathy, and perhaps empathy, about the struggles we face, especially in picking apart what’s true and what’s fake news. But at the centre of it all, all that matters is what we believe. And if we stand up for what we believe in, we can’t be doing too much wrong.

Perhaps this is why I defend Liam Gallagher more strongly than many would say he deserves, and more than any other musician of the 1990s. Unlike so many others of his time, he hasn’t gone off on a route where he believes his own drivel about being superior to everyone else, and acts accordingly: all of this is public image. He knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom, and he’s not afraid to talk about it — just watch his documentary, ‘As It Was’. But this is bravado is all semi-ironic and all about public image. And the music is still the same from back at the beginning. Some would say that this shows a lack of progression (ahem), yet I would say that this is sticking to his truth, to what he believes in and what he is good at. He knows his limits: he exists within them, yet at the same time, still manages to create music which would make any playlist stronger.

The aforementioned Guardian review of ‘Why Me? Why Not.’ also states that no one needs to read a review to know if they would like this album or not. While put harshly, they aren’t incorrect on this point. This does sound like every body of work which Liam has put out since 2000, whether with Oasis, Beady Eye or flying solo. But it’s still worth a listen. It’s a solid 7/10. There’s nothing bad about the album, nor is there anything particularly outstanding. But if you’ve already stepped on the LG train, there’s no point stepping off of it. Liam’s back, and he’s doing what he does best. Making singalong tunes, digging at Noel, and pissing off every reviewer who disapproves of him as he does it. This is the essence of what makes Liam Gallagher so appealing.

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