Monday, 11 November 2019

Liam Gallagher - Why Me? Why Not (2019)

It's coming round like a shockwave....


Released on 20th September 2019

Running time 39.30

Amazingly one-time gobby oik Liam Gallagher is now middle-aged and is duly putting out mature, middle-aged, wryly reflective albums. His musical style is now pretty much set in stone, and probably will be for many years, Van Morrison or Paul McCartney-style. You know what you are going to get from them and you now know what you're going to get from Liam - solid, muscular rock with the Oasis sound more prevalent than it is on brother Noel's output. From once being an abrasive, prickly and sometime offensive character, Gallagher now seems a somewhat wise, reliable, genuine bloke. When he was younger I though, as many did, that he was a bit of an idiot, now, however, I see to have developed a respect for him. He is now self-aware, honest and no-nonsense and his music matches that, although it does face accusations of formulaic sameiness and indeed, most of it can be musically traced back to Oasis. Not that there is too much wrong with that. If you like that sound then you will like this no matter what.


1. Shockwave
2. One Of Us
3. Once
4. Now That I've Found You
5. Halo
6. Why Me? Why Not
7. Be Still
8. Alright Now
9. Meadow
10. The River
11. Gone                                                         
Shockwave begins with that trademark Oasis guitar, then come the thumping drums and lyrics that mention "sunshiiiine" before the singalong, anthem chorus kicks in. A few glam rock "heys" add to the retro feel of the track. I like this, it is patently enjoyable, but let's be honest, it could have dated from 1995. "You're a snake, you're a weasel..." rails Liam, showing that he hasn't lost all of that old ire. "You said we'd live forever" finds him going all Oasis-nostalgic, not for the first time, on the more mellow One Of Us. Funny how the angry young things have now turned into middle-aged men wistfully looking back on the old days. Even more sadly mournful is Once, a track that has more than a few Lennon echoes (what a surprise). The old Beatles and particularly solo Lennon influences are are all still here.

Now That I've Found You is a lively, catchy number that has got a lot of radio play as a single (not that singles are particularly relevant things the days. It has an infectious, hooky chorus, more McCartney than Lennon, this one, unusually. Halo is a bit like some of the material on Paul Weller's Wake Up The Nation album. Its clunking piano backing puts me in mind of Moonshine from that album. Again it is a catchy, upbeat number.

Why Me? Why Not is one of the most Oasis/Beatles/ELO type numbers, full of those sonorous strings and plaintive Lennonesque vocals about "kissing the sky" and "putting your love on the run". Nothing new to hear here, really. Be Still has a strong, riffy intro and a typically gritty Gallagher vocal. Once more it has a good chorus in the old Oasis style. Both Gallagher brothers had a real knack for finding a hook. They don't seem to have lost it, either. The song rocks and I really like it.

Alright Now features some very George Harrison-influenced guitar throughout on another obviously Beatles-styled number. Meadow is a more laid-back, bucolic song with Gallagher musing about leaving behind his past life. It is another Weller type of song (thematically) with a few Oasis Stand By Me chord changes thrown in there too. The River is pure grinding Oasis rock, all crashing guitars and sneering vocals. Gone ends the album in similar fashion, but slightly slower and with a slightly odd spoken vocal part.

Look, all the accusations that this is all pretty samey fare are probably true, there is nothing ground-breaking or innovative to be heard here at all. It is a very retrospective album, but sometimes there is something reassuring about knowing what you are going to get. Gallagher is now "good old reliable Liam". Who would have thought it? Indeed, he said recently - "I'm here to give people what they want, and if that's boring then so be it...".