Former Oasis Frontman, Liam Gallagher, Delivers a Solo Album, “As You Were”
Twitter has done wonders on developing the never-ending feud between the Oasis brothers. What once took several days now happens in almost an instant and it seems to me that they are both gearing up to take advantage of this fact. Liam Gallagher holds nothing back on Twitter using more four-letter words than otherwise and being exactly what you’d expect him to be. Although it has almost been ten years since the pop icon’s band was dismantled it seems that recently the beef has been gaining more steam in the recent months. For a while, it seemed like Liam Gallagher was done with pop stardom but this changed with three surprise singles released over the summer. These three singles got me really excited for his solo release as it seems the old rocker has a new lease on life. The final product did not exactly live up to my expectations but he still churned out a solid record.
Within the almost blatantly contrarian nature of Liam Gallagher, I somewhat expected his solo release to be completely outlandish. I was expecting some heavy metal, rock opera, or some perversion of trap music. To my surprise, I got Oasis 1.5. Anthems with a high level of relatability but little substance. There is nothing inherently wrong with this I just had to change my perspective up a bit.
The first single that Gallagher released in June, “Wall of Glass,” was almost abhorrent sounding, but I loved it. The Oasis guitars with a blaring harmonica created a pretty nice flair on his former formula. The next single, “China Town,” contained the great line “What’s it to be free man/What’s a European” and contained some killer vocals from Liam. These songs are fantastic and really got me hyped for the project but then in late August Liam released “For What It's Worth.” By all means, this is probably the best song on the whole album but what got me thinking was the lyrics as they were blatantly about his brother and former bandmate, Noel Gallagher. With the heightened feud between them going on it almost seemed like he was either taking advantage of his feud or they are both manufacturing it. This is just me speculating but it got me worried that most of the album would follow like this.
When As You Were finally arrived I was both anxious and skeptical. The first few listens I wasn’t really into it (as the semi-long tracklisting lead me to believe there was a lot of throwaways) and a lot of the songs left the same odd taste in my mouth as “For What It’s Worth”
“I Never Wanna Be Like You,” “Doesn’t Have To Be That Way,” and “Paper Crown” all give the same vibe that Liam is just making a dime off the famous fight. It is only these three songs though that give me this bad feeling, which surprised me. I assumed the album would be boiled down to a Gallagher v. Gallagher expose.
After realizing this I focused on the non-singles and found I quite enjoyed most of them. I enjoyed them the same way you enjoy most Oasis songs, with vague sympathy. The art of Oasis, as is much of pop music, is making the lyrics very vague so it relates to a wider audience. One of my favorite non-single tracks is “I’ve All I Need.” It stands as a sort of declaration of independence for a man who is so connected to his brother and the past. But then again this contrast how I feel about most of his emotional statements. At this point I am at an impasse, I am not sure how genuine this album can be received. There are many moments like “I’ve All I Need” but also later years Oasis type moments like “Paper Crown” or “Greedy Soul.” Then the debate moves into what is “authenticity” which is a rabbit hole nobody wants to go down.
Overall the instrumentation and lyrics are pretty par for the course (besides the singles) but catchy and relatable. There is also a good balance between the rocking songs and power ballads. The only thing I fear is that this will merely be a footnote towards the end of Liam Gallagher’s illustrious career and not be as cherished as his other work.
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