Liam Gallagher – Why Me? Why Not (2019)

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This review has been taunting me for a few weeks. It’s been in our review list and we’ve all gravitated towards other titles.

Liam Gallagher? One of the duo of twats who proclaimed that they were bigger than The Beatles? That split up because they wanted to knock each other’s heads off?

I figured I’d take one for the team. I put on my big boy pants and found the album… and… it’s the Deluxe Edition! 14 tracks for 51 minutes…

Liam Gallagher has engaged in many musical ventures post-Oasis. One band was Diet Oasis – all the taste, without the Noel. Then, he released a solo work.

On this outing, Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt are credited with writing the songs and as producers. They are writers and producers with immense reputations. Their impact is obvious – the songs (generally) are well written and the production is spectacular.

The tracks have a feeling that they are tight and the musical elements blend together seamlessly. The premise of the album is one of nostalgia – looking back to simpler times – and of love won and lost.

“Shockwave” opens with a smorgasbord of instruments, including harmonica. The sound and vocals are exactly what I was expecting – 1990s inspired pop and that laconic vocal sound. It’s inoffensive and Beatle-like, which is ironic. The lyrics include a collection of popular sayings and they are used to tell another person that their relationship as friends or colleagues is over. The production is high quality.

“One of Us” opens with organ and it is again pleasant in nature. Gallagher’s vocals stick to safe territory and strings are used to great effect. Lots of instruments are incorporated and they are held seamlessly together. Again, this is first rate production. However, it reminded me of lounge music.

“Once” opens with acoustic guitar and has as its theme a sense of nostalgia and looking back to a simpler time. It reminds us that we only live once and to make the most of every moment. An odd echo is used and this drew me into the track. Or, woke me up, because the tracks this far sound very close to each other.

“Now that I’ve Found You” begins with acoustic guitar that is soon joined by electric guitar. The sound is a little different, but Gallagher’s voice plays a straight bat. I really enjoyed the guitar work – it’s technically clever. This track is about finding love and being there for someone, as well as looking forward to a brighter future.

“Halo” includes some perfect piano work. Odd engineering of both the vocals and guitar creates a different atmosphere. Then, some whistling/ synth tones are used in the middle. It’s strange sounding… and a little pretentious. I didn’t connect with this track.

“Why Me? Why Not.” slows things down a little and has an engaging, driving beat. It’s a groovy track that again feels like The Beatles. The lyrics are more coherent and the arrangement of the track gives it a robust character. It’s infectious and the symphonic ending is grand.

“Be Still” has a swampy, resonant opening. This track marches forward with strong percussion and an engaging tempo. Hang on a sec… my toes were tapping! This track has got real character. Clever bass lines are used and it feels really together. 

“Alright Now” is a change of pace. It’s more relaxed and I went back to the lounge in my head. It’s about battling feelings of emptiness and loss. Again, it’s slightly odd sounding, but not in an especially irritating way.“Meadow” slows the tempo again and the slightly dischordant theme continues. This track is psychedelic in nature and clever guitar work re-emerges. It’s about breaking the chains of a past life. The track finished with a long lead-out which IS irritating in sound.

“The River” is a groovy offering. For some reason, I pictured people hooking their thumbs into the band of their jeans and boot scooting to it. It’s bass heavy and this is a great sound. Gallagher tells us to not believe politicians and celebrities. Good advice, if not a little ironic.

“Gone” uses spaghetti western inspired guitar to open. It’s a break up song, where Gallagher outlines all the chances that have been given to another person, but now he’s leaving. The delicate string arrangement at the end is outstanding .

“Invisible Sun” opens with promise. It’s tougher in nature, with the use of robust guitar and purposeful percussion. I really enjoyed this track and it’s strong and persuasive sound. The key change continued the intensity, albeit with a different feel. This track is a standout.

“Misunderstood” begins with acoustic guitar and a shaker, soon joined by slide guitar. It’s innocuous and inoffensive – what you’ve probably come to expect. It’s about feeling misunderstood, but being an angel in the making. You just need to keep your head up and carry on. Nnnnnaaaawwwww. ❤

“Glimmer” closes out this edition of the album in an upbeat manner. Some muffled production in the middle grabs your attention. It’s a track about seeing the positive and the potential in people. Some honky tonk elements are used to add a bit of variety.

The links to the music of The Beatles are tangible. The title of the album comes from two separate John Lennon drawings. Many of the tracks had a Beatles feel and Gallagher doesn’t hide from this sound. The standard of musicianship is similarly high and I got the impressions that those conscripted to play enjoyed their work.

Gallagher described his work and meat and veg rock and roll, that he gives people what they want and if that’s boring, then so be it. This is very apt for this album. Each track is like a meal with the same ingredients, used in different concentrations. It’s satisfying and it gets the job done, of feeding you rock and roll.

But, some of it was spicy and it is there that I got a glimpse of what this album COULD have been – a varied, robust, flavoursome meal indeed.

Many folks will like this album. It’s usually inoffensive, sometime catchy and in some places, down right muscular and rollicking. In other places, it’s a bit… bland.

I reckon my Mum would have liked it.

6/10

Greg Noble.

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