Liam Gallagher Shows Good Intentions on Debut Solo Album ‘As You Were’
Liam Gallagher, like many rock stars, has a storied past. Many despise his loud-mouthed antics, his public feuds and his tenuous grasp of show bookings. Musically, however, he’s credited with at least half of one of Britain’s most popular rock bands ever, Oasis. Though the band, co-lead by Liam’s brother Noel, is now defunct after an openly brutal sibling rivalry lead to its demise, they saw great success in the 90’s and beyond. Fast forward seven years later, and Liam is ready to drop his debut solo project. Titled “As You Were,” a reference to the way the singer signs off his infamous Tweets, the album, in a way, honors his past. The past that lead him to be able to release a solo album in the first place.
Gallagher, now 45, doesn’t stray far from what fans would expect from the former Oasis front man. This was intention, proven by what he himself said of the album: “I didn’t want to be reinventing anything or going off on a space jazz odyssey.” He continues, “It’s the Lennon “Cold Turkey” vibe, The Stones, the classics. But done my way, now.” The Stones, The Beatles and a number of classic-era Brit rock bands can certainly be heard throughout.
It’s hard to break away from the noticeable Oasis-esque stylings, however. This of course comes mainly from Gallagher’s signature vocal whine that became one part of what fans enjoyed about the 90’s rock band, but it’s clear that Gallagher hasn’t left Oasis’ instrumental influence behind either. “For What It’s Worth,” the album’s lead single, carries with it a totally Oasis feel. Mid-tempo, acoustic guitar lead with a catchy, melodramatic chorus. During an interview with Radio X, the singer re-established his love for the band he once fronted by saying “not a day goes by without thinking of (Oasis)… So it’s good to be making music of that caliber.” He’s clearly not shying away from his past. Even lyrically, the song looks back on the mistakes he’s made as an artist, as a human. The lead-off lyrics read “In my defense all my intentions were good/And heaven holds a place somewhere for the misunderstood.” When asked who the apology was for, Liam replied in classic Liam fashion by basically saying he’s pissed off a lot of people over the years, so whoever wanted to accept it, should.
“Chinatown” takes from The Beatles with its quirky, Dr. Suessian lyrics and high-pitched vocal arrangement. The video, shot throughout London including the city’s own Chinatown, finds Gallagher seemingly searching for answers in the cracks of his fair city. Skews of psychedelia come out during the bridge as he continues to speculate upon and dissect the world around him. “Greedy Soul” feels more along the lines of The Stones with it’s straight-forward rock progression alongside electric solos and Liam’s stone-cold British demeanor. A harmonica leads off “Wall of Glass” in another Oasis-fueled cut, while “When I’m in Need” takes an American alt-rock approach.
Often a tricky move for the former front man of an always-beloved band to release a debut solo album so many years after the band split. Liam does justice to his sound here, but some might say it fails to match his contentious personality. Basically, if you’re going to have an ugly public breakup with your brother and bandmate, if you’re going to spout off on Twitter to whomever is willing to listen and if you’re going to half-heartedly cancel shows at the last minute, you may want to back it up with an epic record that’ll floor your audience. Does he do that with “As You Were?” Perhaps, not. But the effort is clear, the intention is inspired and on top of it all, he even wrote an apology song.
“As You Were” is available Oct. 6 on Apple Music.